Is this the time to cut funding to the World Health Organization? That would be a bold suggestion, one that might attract an avalanche of criticism during a pandemic — if WHO had the pandemic as its primary and independent focus, but that’s the question that will face Congress when they return next month. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) fired this shot across WHO’s bow earlier today, and demanded an in-depth investigation into WHO’s willingness to “parrot propaganda” from Beijing:
“The mission of the WHO is to get public health information to the world so every country can make the best decisions to keep their citizens safe. When it comes to coronavirus, the WHO failed,” Scott said, accusing the global health organization of willfully spreading misinformation.
“We know Communist China is lying about how many cases and deaths they have, what they knew and when they knew it — and the WHO never bothered to investigate further,” Scott added. “Their inaction cost lives.”
He said the WHO “willfully parroted propaganda” from China’s Communist Party, and he called for hearings and a full investigation when Congress returns to Washington next month.
It’s not just that WHO spent its time toting the Beijing party line rather than deal with the reality of the outbreak. The issue also includes evidence that WHO prioritized the Communist Party’s political and diplomatic ambitions rather than medical care and pandemic response. Their treatment of Taiwan’s data and their refusal to even acknowledge Taiwan has become a major point of contention for WHO’s critics:
Despite its proximity to China, where the pandemic started, Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control has reported just over 300 cases of coronavirus.
Only two people have died.
By contrast, Australia — which has a similar population — has reported 4,359 cases and 19 deaths.
But despite this, Taiwan’s foreign ministry has complained that official data and prevention methods it has provided to the World Health Organisation (WHO) are not being shared with the international body’s member states. …
“Therefore, the health bodies of various countries cannot understand the current situation of Taiwan’s epidemic situation, preventive policies and border quarantine measures from the information provided by the WHO,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said.
As a UN agency, WHO normally engages on a formal basis only with members — and Taiwan lost its membership nearly 50 years ago. However, when dealing with a pandemic, an organization focused on health rather than politics would have been very interested to know how any state mitigated the pandemic. Instead, WHO has spent most of its time pretending Taiwan doesn’t exist, another form of propaganda parroting that seems to be the bigger priority.
Even when focused on health, WHO seems more interested in protecting Xi Jinping than other UN member-states. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus owes his job to Xi’s support, and critics argue that Tedros is paying Xi back by covering up his catastrophic cover-up. In late January, when it became clear that China had suppressed warnings about the coronavirus outbreak, Tedros praised China’s “seriousness” and “transparency” in the crisis.
Scott cites this tweet from mid-January as just one example of WHO’s corruption:
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
China knew damned well at that time that this was not true. Had they warned WHO and the world, the outbreak could have been contained earlier, but that would have made China look bad — and so WHO didn’t bother to confirm this claim from Beijing.
We aren’t the only ones growing skeptical of data from China and WHO, either. This weekend, the UK government think the number of COVID-19 cases could be forty times higher than what China admits:
There is fury at the top of government about the Chinese Communist Party’s misinformation blitz around the virus, restrictions on vast amounts of protective medical equipment being exported, and animal rights abuses blamed by experts for the outbreak.
There is particular irritation in Downing Street about attempts to falsely blame a US Army delegation to the city of Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, for causing the crisis.
A source said: ‘There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies.’
Mr Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China’s officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be ‘downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times’. And No 10 believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with ‘predatory offers of help’ countries around the world.
A major review of British foreign policy has been shelved due to the Covid-19 outbreak and will not report until the impact of the virus can be assessed. A Government source close to the review said: ‘It is going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement.’
Another source said: ‘There has to be a reckoning when this is over.’ Yet another added: ‘The anger goes right to the top.’
We should redirect our resources to efforts based on science rather than Communist China’s propaganda, Scott argues:
As soon as Congress is back in session, there should be a hearing, along with a full investigation, to review whether American taxpayers should continue to spend millions of dollars every year to fund an organization that willfully parroted propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party.
Those funds could be put to better use, under the circumstances. Perhaps cutting them off will force WHO to stop prioritizing Xi’s political career over a pandemic.