Opinion >

Washington manipulating WHO origin-tracing efforts as part of its anti-China campaign

Source: China Daily | 2021-08-01

This is an editorial from China Daily.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Kuwait on Wednesday. It was a meeting which was not on the original schedule of his trip to the United Arab Emirates, and was arranged so that the United States could pledge its support to another WHO novel coronavirus origin-tracing investigation in China.

The meeting and its purpose are at odds with the statement provided by US State Department spokesman Ned Price on the meeting, in which he said that Blinken "stressed the need for the next phase (of the investigation) to be timely, evidence-based, transparent, expert-led, and free from interference".

The pressure the US is putting on the world health body to make China the sole subject of its origin-tracing efforts, something the previous US administration also tried to do, should be evident to all.

The reason the Joe Biden administration has taken this baton from the Donald Trump administration is that it believes it is the best way to divert the world's attention from the accumulating evidence suggesting that the US is the likely origin of the outbreak.

It is China's open rejection of the WHO's proposal to conduct a second origin-tracing study in the country that has prompted the top US diplomat to seek to pressure the WHO chief face-to-face and thus make it clear that it is the US that is the architect of the hypothesis of culpability targeting China.

The investigation the US is spurring the WHO to carry out in China is politically driven, and exposes the US' brazen interference in the world health body's mission to champion global efforts to give everyone, everywhere an equal chance to live a healthy life.

The Trump administration openly denounced the WHO and the science that guides its operations. And at a time when the organization was most in need of support, it pulled the rug from under it, withdrawing the US from the body and halting the paying of the US' dues. Although the Biden administration has reversed that decision, it has openly criticized the WHO research in Wuhan in January, even threatened to hold the researchers accountable, and stated that it wants to replace the WHO and conduct its own investigation in China.

It is clear that the US returned to the WHO only to try to take control of it, as the country is by no means content with its status as a member equal to others. Compared with its predecessor, the Biden administration has only intensified the efforts to press the WHO to do the US' bidding, and so make the world health body its puppet.

The international community should be aware that the second phase origin tracing plan the WHO issued on July 16 clearly shows that the global health body has already succumbed to the US' political pressure and coercion. The US is now clearly looking to exploit that leverage in its campaign against China, regardless of how damaging that is to global efforts to control the pandemic.

So far, more than 60 countries have appealed to the WHO not to let its origin tracing efforts be politicized, with surveys showing that more than 80 percent of people think the origin tracing has already been politicized. The world should support the WHO so it can maintain its neutrality and resist the US' coercion. The second phase of the origin tracing must be built on the findings of the previous work, and carried out in different countries, including the US.