Select Committee Republicans call for WHO and Chinese Ambassador to Testify on Coronavirus Cover-Up

Published: May 19, 2020

Today, the Republican Members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis sent a letter to Chairman Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) urging him to join their efforts to hold the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization responsible for their respective roles in exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic and to call the Chinese Ambassador to the United States and the Director-General of the WHO to testify under oath.

“Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly attempted to work with our Democrat colleagues to hold China accountable for causing this pandemic as well as hold the World Health Organization (WHO) accountable for condoning China’s actions. We will continue to do both,” the lawmakers explain. “We urge you to immediately join our investigation and hold hearings to determine why the Chinese government denied and downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, and how China is now attempting to exploit the pandemic it caused.”

Signers of the letter are Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.), Oversight Committee Ranking Member and Select Subcommittee member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Select Subcommittee members Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), and Mark Green (R-Tenn.).

“Given the serious nature of the allegations against China and the Subcommittee’s broader goal of investigating any issues related to this pandemic, we urge you to immediately call WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros and Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai to testify,” the Members conclude. “Furthermore, we urge you to convene such hearings in-person, in the Capitol, to convey the seriousness of our questions and to fulfill our constitutional obligation to conduct oversight in this extraordinary case.”

Tuesday’s letter to Chairman Clyburn says that the Select Subcommittee should investigate China’s efforts obscure the virus’ origins, China’s manipulation of the WHO to cover up the severity of the initial outbreak, and reports that China is now using the crisis to steal American medical research. Focusing on these questions, the lawmakers explained, would “assist the U.S. government effort to limit ongoing and future harm from Chinese malfeasance.”

Read the full text of the letter here.

Background:

House Republicans have repeatedly called on Democrats to hold China accountable, but those appeals have been ignored.

Tuesday’s letter follows several weeks after Republicans on the full House Oversight Committee send a similar letter to Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y), to which she has yet to respond.

At last week’s virtual Select Subcommittee briefing, Republicans on the Subcommittee repeatedly urged their Democratic counterparts to hold China accountable instead of harassing American companies for following the rules and taking PPP loans.

The 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 disinformation from the Chinese government.

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.”

Oversight Committee Republicans sent a letter to Tedros in April requesting a briefing about the WHO’s communications with the Chinese government as well as related documents and information. On behalf of the WHO, the Ethiopian Embassy confirmed receipt of the letter, but a briefing has not been scheduled.

Monday night, President Trump made it clear to the World Health Organization that its temporary funding pause would soon become permanent it did not take concrete steps to reform itself and demonstrate real independence from China.