lørdag 15. februar 2020

The coronavirus crisis is raising questions over China's relationship with the World Health Organization

Sitting alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was effusive in his praise of the country's response to the coronavirus crisis. "We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated," Tedros said, in comments that would be repeatedly quoted in China's state media for weeks.

This was in late January, after Xi had taken control of the situation due to local officials' apparent failure to contain the outbreak to Hubei province. As the two men met in the Chinese capital, the number of cases was rising, and revelations were emerging that officials in Hubei province and Wuhan -- the city where the virus was first detected -- had sought to downplay and control news about the virus, even threatening medical whistleblowers with arrest. Days later, the WHO declared a global public health emergency, and once again Tedros praised Beijing's response.