With someone like Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, with his clear pro-China tendencies, at the helm of the World Health Organization, it is clear that the body is simply not fit for purpose, and that any attempt to reform it is doomed to fail. Pictured: Tedros pays a visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on January 28, 2020. (Photo by Naohiko Hatta/AFP via Getty Images)
No one should be taken in by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s offer to cooperate with an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. By stipulating that the investigation needs to be carried out under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), China’s communist leader is simply indulging in yet another attempt to conceal the fact that the global crisis originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
This has been the approach adopted by China’s communist rulers ever since Covid-19 first surfaced in Wuhan late last year. Rather than alerting the rest of the world to the potential impact the virus might have, the ruling Communist Party of China concentrated its energies on covering up the origins of the outbreak, with the result that the rest of the world is struggling to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
China’s deliberate attempts to obfuscate the origins of the pandemic has provoked an outcry, with a number of nations, such as the U.S. and Australia, calling for a truly independent international inquiry to be held into how the pandemic started, as well as China’s lack of transparency in alerting the rest of the world to the potential impact of Covid-19.
A total of 122 countries, including the U.S. and most European governments, have given their backing to an Australian proposal to set up an impartial, independent and comprehensive investigation into the handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. But the move has been bitterly opposed by Beijing, which claims the initiative is nothing more than a “political manoeuvre”. The Chinese are particularly incensed by the lead role Australia has taken in orchestrating calls for an independent inquiry, and have responded by banning imports of Australian beef.
Mr Xi’s offer, therefore, to support an inquiry by the WHO into the pandemic amounts to little more than yet another attempt by China’s communist rulers to avoid proper scrutiny about Beijing’s culpability for spreading Covid-19 throughout the rest of the globe.
The only problem for Mr Xi and his communist comrades is that the WHO, through its slavish devotion to Beijing, now finds itself hopelessly compromised by its close association with China’s leadership, with the result that no one beyond the confines of Beijing believes the organisation has the credibility to undertake an investigation that is truly independent.
This is certainly the view of the Trump administration, which has responded to the WHO’s total failure to hold Beijing to account for causing the global pandemic by threatening to withdraw its support from the organisation altogether.
The four-page letter President Donald Trump delivered to the WHO earlier this week on the eve of its annual conference not only accused the organisation of being “China-centric”, but stated that the organisation had displayed “an alarming lack of independence” in its dealings with Beijing, and accused Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s pro-Marxist director-general, of presiding over “repeated missteps… that have been extremely costly to the world.”
Mr Trump’s misgivings about Mr Tedros could not be better founded: the WHO chief showed his true pro-Beijing colours early on in the crisis with his effusive praise for China’s response to the pandemic, where he complimented Beijing for “setting a new standard for outbreak response.”
Thus, with someone like Mr Tedros, with his clear pro-China tendencies, at the helm of the WHO, it is clear that the body is simply not fit for purpose, and that any attempt to reform it is doomed to fail.
A far better solution, one that will help to protect the western democracies from suffering any future catastrophic pandemics similar to the Covid-19 crisis, is to set up a completely new international health body — one that, rather than subjugating itself to Beijing’s pernicious influence, is genuinely interested in protecting the interests of the people it serves.
Con Coughlin is the Telegraph‘s Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.