With each passing day, it becomes clear that the world’s most prominent global health institution, the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), has been captured by communist China. This is particularly disastrous because in matters of life and limb, politicization of any kind can kill.
The WHO’s peddling of narratives from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as the pandemic mushroomed — including denying human-to-human transmission and calling it racist to focus on the Chinese origin of the virus — undoubtedly contributed to the spread of the virus. It’s been mimicked by health officials, the media, and politicians.Yet this toxic relationship continues unabated.
WHO China Mission Leader Kowtows to the CCP
For the latest indicator of WHO fealty to the CCP, look no further than this breathtaking clip from an interview between Radio Television Hong Kong journalist Yvonne Tong and Dr. Bruce Aylward, leader of the WHO’s February 2020 joint international mission to China regarding coronavirus:
First, Aylward was apparently unwilling to address a question about Taiwan’s WHO membership, acting as if he did not hear it, and then asked to move to another question. When Tong asked a follow-up question about Taiwan’s response to the Chinese coronavirus, Aylward seemingly ended the interview. Upon reconnecting, when Tong again posed the question, Aylward’s response proved dumbfounding.
“I just want to see if you can comment a bit on how Taiwan has done so far in terms of containing the virus,” Tong prompted, to which Aylward replied, “Well, we’ve already talked about China,” clearly indicating his endorsement of the CCP’s view of “One China.” That is, he was implying Taiwan is part and parcel of Xi Jinping and the CCP’s China, presumably under its sovereignty. At a minimum, it would likely be perceived this way — and surely to the delight of the CCP.
This is a disgrace, although the WHO does not err alone with respect to Taiwan. Much of the free world has sold out Taiwan for relations with the CCP. Even the United States sacrificed official relations with Taiwan to normalize relations with China in 1979. But America retains robust unofficial diplomatic, military, and economic ties to Taiwan, takes no position on its sovereignty, and sells it the weapons needed to defend itself against Chinese aggression.
When Aylward added, “When you look across all the different areas of China, they’ve actually all done quite a good job,” he provided the cherry on top for communist China.
The WHO Parrots CCP Talking Points
After viewing this exchange, I reached out to the WHO to ask two simple questions: 1) Does the video accurately depict this portion of the conversation regarding Taiwan? 2) If so, does Aylward stand by his comments? The WHO did not dispute the account, nor did it clarify Aylward’s comments.
Rather, a WHO spokesman, Christian Lindmeier, provided a non-response, which appears to have been the WHO’s official statement on the interview, as it is posted verbatim in the WHO’s newsroom under the anodyne title “Information sharing on COVID-19.” He wrote, “The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff. However, WHO is working closely with all health authorities who are facing the current coronavirus pandemic, including Taiwanese health experts” (emphasis Lindmeier’s).
The spokesman went on to list three points illustrating WHO’s coordination with Taiwan, including noting Taiwanese participation at a February WHO forum, “alongside other world scientists, including from mainland China” (emphasis mine). It is not clear if the intent here in mentioning mainland China was to indicate its equivalence with Taiwan, or rather again that Taiwan is part of China. We do know that in connection with that conference, a WHO official said, “We will have Taiwanese colleagues online, as we will have experts from the rest of China online.” (Emphasis mine)
WHO Commentary Is Indistinguishable From CCP Lies
The WHO included Taiwan after receiving a backlash from several members, including the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Union, when in January 2020 Taiwan was barred from an emergency WHO conference on the coronavirus crisis in spite of extant cases there. Lindmeier concluded his statement, reiterating, “Membership in WHO and status issues are decided by Member States and the rules they set at WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly.”
The WHO has excluded Taiwan from the World Health Assembly for the last three years on account of objections from China. Its exclusion is the price it pays for refusing to accept the “One China” principle, as understood by the CCP, which Aylward seemed to be affirming in the interview.
The world seems to have suffered for this. Evidence suggests liberal Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus proved vastly superior to that of communist China. This remarkable exchange between Tong and Aylward takes on new meaning when one discovers that Aylward has gushed over China’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Upon his return from the February 2020 joint mission, he remarked, “If I had COVID-19, I want to be treated in China.”
In a subsequent interview with The New York Times, Aylward indicated he felt China’s medical facilities were superior to many of those in the West. He said he did not see any evidence of manipulation in China’s coronavirus data. And he praised China’s “universal health care coverage,” claiming it was something “the U.S. has to think … through.”
When questioned about whether China’s response was only possible because it’s an autocracy, he remarked:
Journalists also say, ‘Well, they’re only acting out of fear of the government,’ as if [the CCP is] some evil fire-breathing regime that eats babies. I talked to lots of people outside the system — in hotels, on trains, in the streets at night. They’re mobilized, like in a war, and it’s fear of the virus that was driving them. They really saw themselves as on the front lines of protecting the rest of China. And the world.
One wonders: Was this Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tankai speaking or a Canadian epidemiologist? How pleased must Aylward’s Chinese handlers during the WHO mission have been? Clearly very pleased, as Chinese state-run media, including registered foreign agent China Global Television Network, have been promoting Aylward’s favorable statements.
Don’t Play China’s Games
We pay a real price for such apparent useful idiocy because, while the WHO gives China its imprimatur, evidence continues to mount of China’s malign role in every aspect of this pandemic. While the WHO praises China’s response to the crisis, and China cites dwindling numbers of new coronavirus cases, there are any number of reasons to be incredibly skeptical of this data.
Leave aside China’s obvious incentive to deceive in the face of a public heath disaster, given its desire to be the global hegemon and need to project competence. Set aside China’s lies about just this issue, which contributed to the coronavirus becoming a global pandemic. Leave aside China’s expulsion of the Western journalists most likely to expose ongoing lies and deception, and the disappearing of health officials who might do the same.
In spite of the news that all is well, we have seen evidence that should arouse our suspicions at the least: outsized urn counts, the rates at which cremation equipment has been running, millions of cell phone accounts closed in recent months, shuttered movie theaters, and an outright travel ban after China had pressured other countries not to impose one earlier in the crisis.
Meanwhile, as China is trying to present itself as a savior to the world, when it is most culpable for this public health catastrophe, Chinese entities have been flooding the globe — from the Czech Republic, to Spain and Holland — with defective medical supplies.
Yet in spite of Aylward’s performances and the WHO’s sordid record under China-backed Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in parroting its propaganda, had you turned on the March 29 Sunday shows, you might have been treated to the likes of special adviser to the WHO Dr. David Heymann. He promoted, without any skepticism or qualification, talking points favorable to the CCP, akin to those of Aylward and the WHO.
Should this organization, and those associated with it, be treated as honest brokers? Does the CCP’s capture not illustrate once again the downside of China’s integration through globalization? Can any institution do business with the CCP without finding itself corrupted, to the detriment of our peace, prosperity, and now even our health?
As the CCP seeks to convert a global disaster into a geopolitical victory — trying to portray its model as successful and projecting soft power, while America sinks its economy, runs up its debts, and even cedes the seas to China — these questions take on added importance. We are facing another Tiananmen-like test. Will we pass it?