It Is Time for the WHO's Pro-China Chief to Resign

by Con Coughlin
April 10, 2020 at 5:00 am

The blatant pro-China bias shown by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its response to the coronavirus pandemic has raised a number of serious questions about its handling of the crisis. Pictured: WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pays a visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Naohiko Hatta/AFP via Getty Images)

As the body responsible for maintaining global health standards, the UN-sponsored World Health Organization (WHO) is supposed to adopt an even-handed approach when dealing with all member states, irrespective of how powerful they might be.

It is for this reason that the blatant pro-China bias the organisation has shown in its response to the coronavirus pandemic has raised a number of serious questions about the WHO's handling of the crisis.

Under the terms of the WHO's constitution, which sets out the agency's governing structure and principles, the Geneva-based organisation is charged with ensuring "the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health."

The accusation made by the Trump Administration, that the global body has become "China centric" and has been "biased" in its dealings with Beijing over the pandemic, therefore suggest the organisation has failed in its duty to treat all member states equally.

This has prompted US President Donald J. Trump to threaten to cut WHO funding, a move that could prove disastrous for the organisation, as the U.S. is its main financial backer.

President Trump's low opinion of the WHO was reflected in a hard-hitting Twitter post this week, in which he wrote:

"The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"

Why indeed?

Mr Trump then repeated the accusations at a White House news briefing on Tuesday. "They called it wrong. They really -- they missed the call," the president said. "And we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see."

The deepening row between Washington and the WHO comes at a time when the U.S. is having to deal with a worsening death toll while the Chinese are celebrating as citizens in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus is said to have originated, begin to return to normal life after experiencing a total lockdown imposed by China's authoritarian regime that has lasted for more than two months.

By contrast, the U.S. is being particularly badly hit by the pandemic, with New York State on Tuesday reporting its highest single day increase with 731 fatalities.

The Trump Administration is increasingly of the view that the US would not be suffering so badly had the WHO been more rigorous in its dealings with Beijing when the outbreak was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019.

Much of the blame, moreover, for the WHO's dire performance during the outbreak is being blamed on Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general. A former Ethiopian health minister, he first came to prominence in his home country when he served on the politburo of the Marxist-Leninist Tigray People's Liberation Front.

Dr Tedros was previously a great admirer of former Rhodesian dictator Robert Mugabe, even appointing him as a goodwill ambassador for the WHO, a decision he was forced to revoke following an international outcry.

Like Mr Mugabe, Dr Tedros has enjoyed a good relationship with China's ruling communist party, and he won election to his current position after receiving backing from China in the May 2017 election.

His long-standing relationship with Beijing might help to explain why the WHO has been so accommodating to China even though the coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan. Rather than criticising Beijing for its initial attempts to cover up the outbreak, Dr Tedros instead praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his "very rare leadership", and China for showing "transparency" in its response to the virus.

Many nations, including the U.S. and Britain, believe that Dr Tedros's reluctance to confront China over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak is the reason it has now become a pandemic, with most Western countries being forced to introduce lockdown measures in a belated attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

Not surprisingly, Dr Tedros is facing widespread calls to resign, not least in the U.S., where American politicians say he placed too much trust in Beijing's reporting about the extent of the spread of the disease.

Certainly, if investigations into the outbreak conclude the devastating global consequences could have been avoided if Dr Tedros had acted differently, then the WHO boss will have no choice but to tender his resignation.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

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There is a need for an international political and scientific effort to ensure that the world does not experience another virus pandemic, through political agreements backed by scientific programmes taken with the seriousness of nuclear pacts backed by consequences.
Our lives are being taken away from us, we are cheated of our time and plans; we are ruined financially; China has a lot to answer for.
Nemo • Apr 10, 2020 at 10:36

The problem is the disunity in the US.
Organizations like the WHO know full well that if they wait a while the opposition to the current administration will take office and reverse everything!
By contrast they also know that China speaks through Xi and can be relied upon to persist in his policies!
Bottom line.... upset the US and wait a while, or, upset China permanently!
tom p Nemo • Apr 10, 2020 at 10:55

Good reason to reelect Trump. I am reasonably confident we will.
Owen K. • Apr 10, 2020 at 10:05

Look at the body language in this photo. The lackey running out to meet his master. What a joke the WHO has become. President Trump has the right idea. Defund the WHO.
June • Apr 10, 2020 at 10:04

Article about Tedros and WHO was very informative. I suspected he was a communist. Now no one can change my opinion. Your publication is great, especially if the scholars on your stuff are the caliber of Gordon Chang, they are brilliant. I looked him up to identify his affiliation and have NOT been disappointed with your publication.
C. Ronald McCafferty • Apr 10, 2020 at 09:37

Yes, Dr. Tedros should resign over this HUGE global problem that WHO totally mishandled. They are definitely guilty of being duped by China and their medical organization and did not do a thorough job of investigating the virus issue in China, including determining the source (wet market/virus research lab?) and the human to human transmission of the virus, etc. However, the root cause of this pandemic and all of the ensuing responsibility for the loss of thousands of lives worldwide is China's alone.

This must be brought before the UN body as a whole and China must be made to pay. I also agree that the UN is a very weak body subject to all of the human frailties of its members, and it is almost impossible to find one person who would not be totally unbiased to be placed in a position of the WHO head. We are all subject to being biased in favor of our home country to some extent. What needs to be studied and decided for our future is what world body can all countries look to that would be respected and trusted to be the whistleblower for all of us in the future should something like this recur.

Should the WHO be uncoupled from the UN? If so, how can the world at large agree what it would look like and who would run it, and how would it be funded? These are very serious questions that need to be explored and answered soon, or we will all continue to be vulnerable for a recurrence of the COVID-19 happening again, and again. The world needs a totally unbiased WHO for our future if we are too survive!!
Ernest • Apr 10, 2020 at 09:07

What does he get from China?
Antipas T. S. Massawe • Apr 10, 2020 at 08:35

Agreed 100% that the WHO's chief should resign mainly because he spectacularly failed to deliver the expected WHO's response that was to mobilize and lead the international response for immediate and timely localization and liquidation of the COVID-19 explosion, right there in Wuhan, where it evolved rather than let it become the would now be a lot more difficult and costlier global pandemic it has become.
Bisley • Apr 10, 2020 at 08:11

The UN, with all its subsidiary organizations, treaties, agreements, etc. needs to be taken for what it is, and treated accordingly. Everything associated with the UN is generally corrupt, socialist, pro-Muslim and anti-American. This is what it is, and will continue to be. Its main value to the US is as a place where representatives of nearly all the world's governments are at hand, and informal discussions are possible with any of them on matters of mutual concern. Other than this, the organization's workings, resolutions, etc. are mostly worthless, and often counterproductive. The US should stop funding, and generally ignore, as much of it as possible -- use it as is necessary and convenient, but give it no respect, attention, or money.

What good would replacing Tedros do? He would most likely be replaced by another of the same. Even if someone substantially better was put in his place, the bureaucracy and policy of the WHO isn't going to be changed by installing a different figurehead.
Gabor Ujvari • Apr 10, 2020 at 07:43

If China cannot get enough votes in a world organization, they buy a corrupt figure to tilt the votes in their favor.
The WHO is the prime example that they are in the pocket of their Chinese masters.
WHO echoes the Chinese propaganda slogans? The WHO!
WHO stands for World Horrible Organization.
cammo99 • Apr 10, 2020 at 07:33

The WHO is global-centric by definition. It is not so much it is China-centric it is the fact that in treating with each nation it does so in the same alarming manner socialists always do placing Socialist and Islamist nations one rung up the ladder only because they view them under the auspices of global social justice principles to be the victims of western imperialism. They function under the same delusion long term sufferers of social justice and in America TDS suffer from, self-idolatry.
Uzi Abraham • Apr 10, 2020 at 07:05

The WHO, headed by the United Nations, demonstrates to the world their management weakness and inability to function, and is unlike any other organization subject to the UN!
Unfortunately, we all have no teeth and no power in the UN, and its managers must draw conclusions and resign immediately! The countries of the world must have a super organization that will have the power to respond to our world! But as long as they continue to incorporate weak representatives from weak states, it is clear to all of us that the organization will not be able to function and exercise its powers!
I think they had to completely change the UN structure and establish a 3-tier system just like it does in the football and basketball leagues
David Weum • Apr 10, 2020 at 06:57

As a propagandist for the CCP, Tedros and the WHO could not have been a worse choice. A 5-year-old could see right through him. And the Canadian spokesman, another Canadian embarrassment, showed his incompetence in the "non-interview" with a Taiwanese news agency. WHO is totally corrupt and will soon be defunded by USA, but never Canada.
SUZANNE DRAGAN • Apr 10, 2020 at 06:31

Yes, when I was in Ethiopia last year and saw lots of Chinese sponsored construction going on. As always, "follow the money." The Ethiopian people are terrific -- just wish they'd not sell their souls to Communist China.
Joseph • Apr 10, 2020 at 06:11

The western world knows enough now about thew disgraceful behaviour of this man. He should be gone. Now. Not tomorrow or next week or next month. Now.
Solomon Balas • Apr 10, 2020 at 06:07

Stop appointing third-world heads to UN key agencies . Mohammed El Baradei 1997 -2013 headed International Atomic Energy Authority, an Egyptian from Africa, had covered up for Iran's illegal activities, and now an Ethiopian from Africa covers up for China. The UN is now a corrupt cesspit harming the civilised world . Since the Western states contribute the most to the UN, they should stop funding till a reorganised UN goes back to the principles of the League of Nations 1946 Charter.
John JACOBS • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:59

I feel that having heard Bill Gates' speech in 2015 foreseeing the outbreak of an epidemic coming from China one would have expected the WHO to mobilise efforts to prepare for this. Instead I understand that they concentrated on what they saw as a major problem - lonliness!!
I am with Trump on this one
Meg Martel • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:44

Tedros should go for sure... as should the whole of the UN. The West would be better off without the UN and all of its nefarious Marxist bodies.
Solomon Balas Meg Martel • Apr 10, 2020 at 07:58


Not enough to fire Tedros; He should be charged and tried for crimes against humanity

The UN should be disbanded NOW , especially in the light Of rogue actions of China, N Korea, Iran, etc and then reorganised along the principles of the League of Nations 1946 Charter, excluding terror states, until they modify, and have verified behaviour fit to be a member.
Jeff Bracey Solomon Balas • Apr 10, 2020 at 09:26

Well said Meg. I've been chanting your "bottom line" for decades, my question is, why have politicians never seen the "the dictating Emperors are wearing no clothes"!?
Brian L Taylor • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:37

Congress should cut off their money. This "NGO" has to go. The US should support a non-political replacement but their behavior deserves total defunding.
William Collins • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:30

To many of us, what China did is not at the top of our concerns. It something to be dealt with a t later time. The genie is out of the bottle and the clock is ticking on our livelihoods. We're not absorbed with GDP, corporate profits, the stock and bond markets. We're focused on our families. What do we do when our children are ill or injured and the government handouts run out? Our well paid political leaders panicked to save their political hides and trashed our livelihoods using theoretical models as cover. Mr. Trump has allowed Dr. Fauci with his reliance on flawed studies recommend a course of action that leaves most of us as non essential, but without us working the economy will sink even more. We are all essential - we are all in this together. We're tired of being told we don't matter.
Solomon Balas William Collins • Apr 10, 2020 at 08:53

Dr Fauci has a known record of political preferences and thus not entirely impartial.
Graham Richards • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:26

Don't defund the WHO - far more effective for USA & its allies to defund the UN in its entirety. The whole UN club is only for socialists & Commies. Throw them out of the USA, climate hoax and all.

J. Adler • Apr 10, 2020 at 05:18

Frankly speaking, the cover-up was part of the show. Every detail of the complete plot seems to much better fit into a "we'll share something with the world that gives us a big advantage in the long run" scenario.

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