Not surprisingly, Tedros’s record at the WHO has been one of whitewashing and coddling dictatorships. On October 18, 2017, only three months into his tenure as director-general, Tedros appointed Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, one of the longest-ruling and most brutal dictators on the planet, to serve as a WHO goodwill ambassador focused on tackling non-communicable diseases in Africa. “I am honored to be joined by President Mugabe of Zimbabwe, a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the center of its policies to provide healthcare to all,” he said at a conference in Uruguay announcing the decision. (After the appointment was widely condemned by influential leaders in the health sector, politicians, and human-rights defenders, he eventually rescinded it.)

Of course, one need not even mention Tedros’s general affinity for dictators to explain his direction of the WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The CCP and Tedros clearly enjoy a reciprocal relationship, one based on material interests as well as common values. The CCP donated generously to Ethiopia while Tedros was the Ethiopian foreign minister, and provided forceful backing of his campaign to lead the WHO. In response to the widespread criticism of the organization’s mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese state-run media outlets have vigorously defended Tedros, claiming he is being “attacked by the West” for “helping us.”