As questions are raised about the role the World Health Organization played in an alleged cover-up of the scope of the coronavirus, House Republicans want answers.
The organization has faced criticism from those who say that it has been biased in favor of China.
To get to the truth, House Republicans have sent a letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The letter, dated Thursday, is signed by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, as well as Reps. Jody Hice of Georgia, James Comer of Kentucky, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Fred Keller of Pennsylvania, Mark Green of Tennessee, Chip Roy of Texas, Greg Steube of Florida, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, Carol Miller of West Virginia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina.
“The World Health Organization should be ashamed that they relied on Chinese propaganda when deciding how to combat the coronavirus crisis,” Jordan said in a news release posted on the website of the committee’s GOP minority. “President Trump is right to question the WHO’s role in global health going forward.”
President Donald Trump has been among the voices criticizing the WHO:
“The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The W.H.O. really blew it. For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2020
Further, Taiwan alleges it informed the WHO in December that the virus was spreading from person to person, something the WHO was denying even in January.
In that context, the Republicans who signed the letter said the WHO has some explaining to do.
“Despite the WHO’s purported mission to operate as an apolitical international institution within the United Nations, recent media reports suggest that the WHO helped Beijing disseminate propaganda, downplayed the extent of the disease, and possibly delayed ordering a public health emergency,” the letter said.
“Given the actions and statements of WHO officials during the past few months, we are concerned that the WHO is no longer serving the needs of the world and is instead taking its cues from China.”
“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. During the crisis, the WHO has repeatedly relied on false information from the Chinese government,” it added.
The letter noted that on Jan. 14, the WHO was denying there was evidence of human-to-human spread of the virus, despite the fact that it was taking place.
“United States intelligence sources have since discovered that China covered-up and lied about the extent of the outbreak,” the letter said.
“On January 23, 2020, the WHO finally recognized that human-to-human spread was occurring, a month later than the first warnings.”
The WHO avoided labeling the disease a pandemic as “a result of intense pressure from China” and has avoided supporting any travel restrictions that impact China, House Republicans argued.
The letter indicated that the Republicans found galling the WHO’s support for China throughout the crisis.
“The WHO has routinely praised China’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 despite multiple reports that China engaged in a massive disinformation campaign. According to a recent report from the U.S intelligence community, China severely underreported both its total number of cases of, and deaths caused by, COVID-19,” the letter said, noting that the WHO suggested China be praised for “manipulative tactics; tactics frowned upon worldwide.”
The Republicans wrote that American taxpayers footed 17 percent of the bill in 2017 for the WHO’s operations, to the tune of $513 million.
“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,” the letter said, demanding documentation between the WHO and China, as well as the WHO and Taiwan.
Hice said the WHO’s performance has raised questions to which Americans are owed answers.
“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,” he said in statement.
“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,” Hice said.
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