Oversight Republicans question WHO on role China’s coronavirus propaganda campaign

Published: Apr 9, 2020

Today, several Republican members of the House Oversight Committee requested that the World Health Organization provide information about its relationship with China regarding its widely criticized response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the lawmakers point to widespread concerns that – given recent intelligence and media reports — the World Health Organization has served China’s interests over those of the rest of the world by helping its regime spread dangerous propaganda during the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Excerpts from the letter:

“Throughout the crisis, the WHO has shied away from placing any blame on the Chinese government, which is in essence the Communist Party of China. You, as leader of the WHO, even went so far as to praise the Chinese government’s “transparency” during the crisis, when, in fact, the regime has consistently lied to the world by underreporting their actual infection and death statistics.”

“On January 14, 2020, the WHO tweeted that “[p]reliminary investigations conducted by Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” These preliminary investigations included China jailing any doctor that disseminated any information about COVID-19 not first cleared through state-run media.”

“In 2017, the WHO received 17% of its total funding, or $513 million, from the United States. It is essential that American taxpayers’ money is allocated to organizations that uniformly serve the interests of nations across the globe, not merely the interests of China’s authoritarian, communist regime.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

What cosigners are saying:

Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH): “The World Health Organization should be ashamed that they relied on Chinese propaganda when deciding how to combat the coronavirus crisis. President Trump is right to question the WHO’s role in global health going forward.”

Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA): “The World Health Organization has become party to China’s coronavirus misinformation and propaganda campaign. Whether it’s deliberate or not, we don’t yet know. This ‘apolitical’ organization praised the communist regime’s ‘transparency,’ spent weeks pushing the claim that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, and even resisted President Trump’s early travel restrictions on China. The United States is the largest contributor of WHO funding, and as such, we have a responsibility to provide oversight and demand reforms when necessary – as it has now.”

Rep. James Comer (R-KY): “In January, the World Health Organization publicly repeated the Chinese government’s lie that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” of COVID-19. This WHO-China cover-up, which included arresting doctors seeking to warn the world of the coronavirus, created a global outbreak that has frozen our economy and taken American lives. Without accountability for this crisis at the WHO, American taxpayers should no longer subsidize an organization that has acted as Communist China’s propaganda outlet at every turn.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI): “I think there is a global consensus that the wet markets of China, the genesis of this virus, are now causing a worldwide recession. The World Health Organization, perhaps because of the left-leaning proclivities found in many international organizations, has shown an inability to address sub-standard practices in China that they probably would have been addressing in other parts of the world.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ): “From the outset of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic the World Health Organization has carried water for Communist China, resulting in faulty data, incorrect health recommendations, and ultimately the death of many Americans. It’s time for the WHO to answer for why they continue to support China’s propaganda campaign.”

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN): “Why does the United States fund an organization that serves the interests of the Chinese Communist Party? From the get-go, the World Health Organization delayed declaring a health emergency, downplayed the danger of restricting travel to China, and disseminated Chinese propaganda despite China’s nefarious coverup of a virus that has unleashed untold suffering on the world. If the WHO wants to keep getting America’s money, it shouldn’t be carrying water for an authoritarian communist regime. We won’t get fooled again.”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND): “As we continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, we must also understand the extent of China’s propaganda campaign regarding this virus. American taxpayers provide hundreds of millions of dollars for the World Health Organization and deserve answers on why the WHO chose to validate China’s propaganda.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL): “The WHO has let our country down every step of the way. We must clean house and  investigate their corruption so that we can protect our country from their ignorant mishandling of future pandemics. We cannot continue to fund this crooked organization with American Taxpayer money!”

Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC): “The conduct of the WHO during this pandemic is a disaster onto itself. In 2003, when the contagious coronavirus known as “SARS” spread from China, the WHO had the courage and the moral authority to criticize the regime’s cover-up. We need to know what has happened in the intervening years that transformed this organization from global health guardian, to the leading mouthpiece for Beijing.”

Rep. Fred Keller (R-PA): “With the American taxpayer being the single largest contributor to the World Health Organizations’ annual budget, it is imperative the House Oversight and Reform Committee exercise its critical role in finding out why the WHO used that money to further China’s propaganda campaign of disinformation that has caused a global pandemic, upended the world economy, and cost tens of thousands of American lives. The Chinese government must be held accountable for its role in exacerbating this virus. To that end, the WHO must end its silence and work with the international community to investigate Chinese disinformation and strive for accountability during this global emergency.”

Background:

Last week, House Oversight Republicans sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about China’s extraordinary disinformation efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.