Republicans demand answers after WHO provides false information on China’s coverup to Congress

Published: Jul 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Republican members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis along with full Oversight Committee Ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.) called on World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to testify to under oath following revelations that WHO provided false information to Congress about China’s actions in the pandemic.

In response to an April letter from Oversight Republicans, the World Health Organization told the Committee in June that Chinese officials reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan to the WHO on December 31, 2019. However, the organization contradicted this claim last week when it quietly updated its official timeline to say that they learned about it from a U.S. website, rather than the Chinese government.

“This revelation demands your complete and forthright response to the Committee’s previous request and sworn testimony before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis (the Select Subcommittee). Until you appear under oath, America and the world will not know the origins of this crisis,” the lawmakers wrote to Tedros.

More highlights from the letter:

“By refusing to disclose the truth, you have shielded China from accountability. Your public statements regarding the initial outbreak coupled with the WHO website and your June 15 letter to this Committee demonstrate an endorsement of the CCP propaganda efforts to cover up the origins of this virus and mislead the world.”

“Since the beginning of this crisis, the WHO’s negligence and lack of transparency resulted in a loss of faith in your ability to contain this and future pandemics. This culminated with President Trump announcing the withdrawal of the United States’ voluntary WHO contributions on May 29, 2020 and officially notifying the U.S. Congress and the United Nations of the withdrawal on July 7, 2020.12 Unequivocally, no organization should receive American taxpayer dollars that refuses to tell the truth and is unaccountable to the nations it serves.”

“This new information necessitates your immediate response. We renew our April 9, 2020 request for the briefing and all the documents and communications … Please provide the previously requested briefing, documents, communications, and confirm, in writing, the requested individual’s attendance for transcribed interviews by July 15, 2020.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

Background:

On April 9, 2020, Republicans on the Committee on Oversight and Reform wrote to Tedros regarding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its reported improper relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

Later that month, Oversight Republicans urged full Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to investigate the WHO’s relationship with China and early response to the pandemic. These requests have been ignored.

On May 19, Republicans member of the Select Subcommittee urged Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) to call Tedros to testify under oath, along with the Chinese Ambassador to the United States. This request has also been ignored.

On June 15, 2020, over two months after receipt of the letter, the WHO provided a formal response that was wholly incomplete and contained at least the one false statement addressed in Wednesday’s letter.

The WHO went beyond merely enabling the Chinese government to perpetuate its campaign to suppress evidence of a deadly virus throughout January. On January 28, 2020 — despite the fact that WHO still hadn’t been granted access to China — Tedros praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and “the transparency [China has] demonstrated.”

Additionally, WHO received warnings of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus from the Taiwanese government in late December 2019, but chose not to act on that information and instead echoed CCP disinformation.