- Trump announces the US will be ending its relationship with WHO.
- Trump criticizes Chinese officials over the handling of the Coronavirus.
- Trump ends the visas of Chinese students with ties to Chinese military schools.
Last month President Trump announced that he would be freezing funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) due to their misinformation and pro-China bias concerning the recent coronavirus pandemic. When the virus initially appeared in Wuhan WHO praised China’s handling of the situation and commended China’s “transparency” even as it was becoming evident that China had silenced whistleblowers and journalists.
Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, criticized WHO, saying, “We were deceived. Myself and other public health experts, based on what the World Health Organization and China were saying, reassured the public that this was not serious, that we could bring this under control.” He went on to say, “We were giving a false sense of assurance.” The coronavirus has now claimed over 366,000 lives worldwide and there have been over 6,000,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
Friday, due to ongoing concerns over WHO’s failure to enact reforms after receiving harsh criticism over its handling of the Covid-19 situation and its Chinese bias, President Trump announced that the U.S. is “terminating” its relationship with WHO. Trump stated, “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
The U.S. has been the top funder of WHO, giving approximately $450 million to the agency each year. China, by contrast, only contributes around $50 million per year.
Trump has also criticized WHO’s disapproval of his Chinese travel ban, which his administration enacted during the early days of the outbreak. Criticizing both the response of Chinese officials and WHO, Trump stated, “Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted across the globe.”
Trump also attacked China directly saying, “The world is now suffering as a result of the misfeasance of the Chinese government.” Referencing not only the country’s handling of the pandemic, but also its conduct involving trade and its policies regarding Hong Kong. Trump accused China of “smothering” freedom in Hong Kong.
The president referenced the newly enacted Chinese national security law that would criminalize antigovernment movements including the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. This led to the State Department reporting to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer effectively autonomous to The People’s Republic of China. And, earlier this week, the Trump administration announced that they would be cancelling the visas for Chinese graduate students studying in the United States who have direct ties to Chinese military schools.