JOHN NAISH: World Health chiefs become witnesses in Chinese charade

JOHN NAISH: So-called World Health chiefs have become lickspittle witnesses in a Chinese charade by backing Beijing’s claim Covid did NOT leak from a Wuhan lab

The pandemic didn’t begin in a Chinese laboratory. Nor did it start in Wuhan. Nor indeed, in all probability, did it start in China at all.

If the Chinese were hoping to be exonerated from blame over the origins of the coronavirus that has caused nearly 2.5 million deaths worldwide, they could not have wished for better than yesterday’s World Health Organisation findings.

The investigation by the joint WHO-China mission to investigate the origins of the outbreak is a disgrace.

As someone who has probed the origins of the virus in depth for this newspaper, I must start by saying I do not believe Covid-19 was man-made and released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 

I found no evidence to support this, and the world’s leading virologists agree that no human laboratory could create a synthetic virus as sophisticated as this one.

But that is the only WHO finding I do accept. For the organisation’s report flagrantly parrots Communist Party claims about the virus’s origins that range from the unproven to the fantastical.

Pictured: Peter Embarek, lead researcher for WHO in Wuhan (centre), has put forward four theories about how the virus infected humans: Direct transfer from source animal into people, transfer via an intermediary animal, transfer via food, and transfer via a lab leak

The WHO officials even revive debunked Chinese allegations that the pandemic began outside its borders.

Communist officials are already capitalising on that. They are saying the WHO report is only ‘the first part’ of the investigation and that the virus may have entered China on foreign frozen food.

This is a baseless claim that contrasts with clear evidence about Covid-19’s origins.

Last month, gene experts at Temple University, Philadelphia, modelled how and where the virus must have evolved and concluded that ‘all the genetic evidence makes it clear this virus is from China’.

Covid-19 is known to have begun in Chinese cave bats, then emerged thousands of miles away in Wuhan.

Chinese officials have never been able to explain that properly. Nor have they ever given a credible explanation for the original source of the outbreak.

Yet the WHO falls over itself to help clear China’s name by implicating other unnamed nations.

The head of its mission, Dr Peter Ben Embarek, said yesterday that ‘the virus’s path from the animal to the Huanan market [in Wuhan] could have been very convoluted and could have crossed borders’.

WHO ruled out possibility the virus leaked from a lab such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured), saying such a leak is ‘extremely unlikely’ and should not be investigated further

How convenient. But at least Dr Embarek knows something of the local geography. He spent two years in Beijing for the WHO, from 2009-2011.

Yet the rest of the planet is astounded by a report that runs so counter to established facts and so energetically absolves the Chinese regime.

Many people will find it impossible to believe that the WHO is being so manipulated. Surely there must be some amazing new evidence behind its conclusions?

But that’s an old trick in the dictatorship handbook. To quote Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels: ‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.’

Even better than telling the lie yourself is to get it said by a highly respected, independent global institution.

Except that the WHO is no longer independent, highly respected or even global.

It is no longer about world health but about Chinese wealth. China has hugely increased its contributions to the WHO recently, reaching £62 million in 2019. Last April it pressed an extra £36 million into its purse.

And while this pales in comparison with the U.S.’s £646 million in 2018-19, China’s influence goes right to the top of the organisation.

The WHO’s current director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was China’s chosen candidate to succeed the previous incumbent.

That predecessor was a Chinese national, Margaret Chan, who ran the WHO from 2006 to 2017. She now has a key role in the Communist regime, on the People’s Political Consultative Conference.

China’s investment in time and money has paid off. Since the earliest days of the Covid-19 outbreak, it has used the WHO as a glove puppet.

On December 31, 2019, China’s bitter foe, the Taiwan government, emailed WHO officials to warn of the looming pandemic, saying it had reports of a new viral contagion gripping Wuhan.

The WHO did not respond, as Chinese officials had convinced its leaders to ignore Taiwan as a ‘rogue nation’.

That same day, China was beginning its campaign of misinformation and censorship, removing online mentions of Wuhan, castigating the whistleblower Dr Li Wenliang for ‘spreading rumours’ and incarcerating three Chinese citizen journalists for reporting on the outbreak.

On January 14 last year, the Chinese were still denying Covid-19 was contagious. They convinced the WHO to echo this in a tweet: ‘Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.’

When, six vital days later, the Chinese officially admitted the virus is lethally contagious, the WHO dutifully parroted this line. Its Emergency Committee then met for the first time but advised against travel restrictions. 

Investigative team members of the World Health Organization visit Huanan seafood market in Wuhan on January 31, 2021 in Wuhan, China, where life has gradually returned to normal


Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang (pictured) blew the whistle on the mysterious new coronavirus in December 2019 and died in February 2020 after contracting the virus from a patient

Ten days after that, Dr Ghebreyesus praised China’s leaders for ‘setting a new standard for outbreak response’.

Recriminations flew. Japan’s deputy prime minister, Taro Aso, said the WHO should change its name to the Chinese Health Organisation.

Nevertheless, last February the WHO again praised the Communists, saying: ‘China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic.’

Asked about Chinese cover-ups, the director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Michael Ryan, argues: ‘There is an understandable confusion that occurs at the beginning of an epidemic.

‘We need to be careful to label misunderstanding versus misinformation; there’s a difference.’

There is indeed. China is guilty not only of misinformation but of one of the most audacious campaigns of deceit in the history of medicine.

This is the Chinese regime which has had more than a year to wipe off its fingerprints and install new carpets and furniture before inviting in the WHO’s ‘forensic’ investigators to produce today’s report.

Rather than declaring that there would be no point in investigating so late, the WHO dutifully sent its team to the Chinese charade. What on earth did they expect to find?

A worker in overalls disinfects a vehicle from the WHO convoy while they were visiting the Baishazhou wholesale market during a field visit in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province

Findings will be PR coup for leader Xi Jingping (pictured with WHO leader Dr Tedros) with diplomats repeatedly jumping on any evidence that the pandemic did not start in China

Chinese officials delayed their entry visas by a week for no good reason, then kept them in hotel quarantine for a fortnight on arrival. 

Any scientific investigator worth their salt would have got straight on the first plane home. But such inspectors would have refused the assignment in the first place.

China had previously spent months rejecting international pressure for an independent report. Instead, it allowed only a joint WHO-Chinese collaboration. The regime thus got to mark its own homework.

Now the WHO is presenting its report as though it had full, free and fair access.

Yet the WHO could once do this type of investigation with admirable efficiency.

In 2004, before the WHO went into China’s pocket, an earlier form of lethal SARS coronavirus had escaped from a lab in Beijing. It killed one person and infected nine others before the outbreak was contained.

The WHO had independent experts on the ground within three weeks and its report exposed safety failings at the lab. The Chinese government punished five top officials.

The game is different this time. It has become a Communist Party show trial in which the truth stands condemned, the WHO is its lickspittle witness and the Communist regime is milking the proceedings for every last drop of propaganda.

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