Recently, Washington has been frequently showing its “care” and “support” for the WHO, which made a sharp contrast to its habitual indifference to the organization, as well as its past practices of defunding and withdrawing from the organization.
Is the US really righting its wrongs and sincerely starting to support the work of the WHO?
Not really. What Washington supports is merely the WHO’s plan for the second phase of the global study into the origins of COVID-19 which lacks objectivity and a spirit of cooperation. The plan echoes with the lab leak hypothesis made by the US, and is a typical example of the White House manipulating the WHO on some important agenda and topics.
Origin tracing of COVID-19 must be evidence-based, led by experts and free from interference. It is a principle agreed by the international society.
However, Washington is obviously talking the talk but not walking the walk. It stressed the importance of evidence in origin tracing, but came up with nothing when fabricating the stories of the so-called lab leak in China and the infections of three employees of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). It couldn’t even name the three infected employees.
The White House claimed that origin tracing should be led by experts, but it employed the intelligence community to find the origins of the virus and oppressed scientists who made objective and rational voices.
It said origin tracing shall be free from interference, but an origin tracing program by the National Institutes of Health of the US, which spotted antibodies against the novel coronavirus in blood samples collected in the country in January the last year, was halted by high-rank officials in the White House who said the program disturbed the origin tracing studies into China and was not in line with the national security of the US. The blood samples collected before January 2, 2020 were sealed from further testing.
Such practices exposed not only the habitual double standard of the US in dealing with international affairs, but also its vicious intention to politicize origin tracing and discredit China.
What the US has done over the past year mirrors the country’s hypocrisy in its so-called “care” and “support” for the WHO.
Washington turned a deaf ear to the warning of the WHO when COVID-19 just broke out, and declared national emergency over the virus more than 40 days after the WHO sounded alarm. When the number of COVID-19 infections exceeded a million in the US, American politicians even attacked the WHO, saying the pandemic control response by the organization was a failure. At the most critical moment of the fight against the virus, when the WHO was seeing the most urgent need of funding, the White House decided to defund and withdraw from the organization. It also declared that it could even work to set up an alternative to the UN body instead. Such practices were called “a crime against humanity” by editor-in-chief of The Lancet Richard Horton.
Though the US has been reengaged in the WHO and claiming to support “multilateralism,” it has never abandoned the strategy of “America first” and egoism.
When the WHO was calling developed countries to offer vaccine support for developing countries, the US was hoarding doses and restricting export of vaccine materials. When the WHO expressed its hope to reinforce global anti-pandemic cooperation, the US was stigmatizing other countries, labeling the virus, politicizing origin tracing and dividing the international society. When the WHO was stressing the importance of quarantining political virus, the US was acting arbitrarily and employing the intelligence community to lead the origin tracing work.
The US, passing the buck to China, is trying to turn the dangerous virus into a blackmail, said a Russian media outlet.
The genuine support for the WHO is not embodied in what one says, but what one does. To adopt the most strict, comprehensive and thorough control measures after the outbreak of the pandemic is what shall be done to support the WHO, which plays a leading role in the global fight against the virus.
And that’s how and what China has done. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed that the high speed and massive scale of China’s moves are rarely seen in the world and praised China’s actions as setting a new benchmark for combating transnational infectious diseases.
To offer timely assistance when the WHO is in dire need of funding, materials and vaccines is the genuine support for the organization. China has made two batches of donations to the WHO totaling $50 million, and provided massive medical materials for the international society. It was the first country to promise to make its COVID-19 vaccines a global public good when they are developed. So far, the country has offered more than 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the international society. China has always been science-based, professional, serious and responsible on origin tracing, and was the first country to cooperate with the WHO on the global studies of the origins of COVID-19 and achieved science-based conclusions. What China has done defines what shall be done to support the WHO.
In February the last year, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his gratitude to all the people in China who sacrificed many aspects of their normal lives to prevent the virus from spreading to others.
However, the US is today trying to coerce the WHO on some important agenda and topics through political manipulation, so as to authenticate that the lab leak hypothesis is true. This is an injustice for the Chinese people who have made huge sacrifice and contribution, and a disgrace in the history of human civilization. China will never accept it.
Scientific issues shall be resolved with scientific approaches. No matter what the US does to call its coercing practices “care” and “support,” its hostile intention to discredit, oppress, and contain China through politicizing origin tracing will only become clearer and clearer.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)