100 countries pushing for investigation over China’s coronavirus handling

100 countries pushing for investigation over China's coronavirus handling
China's coronavirus handling is subjected to heavy criticism . Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Russian President Vladimir Putin once called Xi Jinping a ”lone warrior”. Putin was joking but the description about the Chinese President is starting to look more and more accurate. Russia has joined about 100 countries in backing a resolution at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), calling for an independent investigation into the coronavirus pandemic aiming at China’s coronavirus handling.

The European-Union drafted the resolution and it comes on the back of a push by Australia.

Australian Prime Minister has been calling for an inquiry into China’s coronavirus handling in the initial phase.

Beijing angrily protested Australia’s demand, accusing Canberra of a “highly irresponsible” move that could “disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and goes against people’s shared aspiration.”

The resolution will be presented at the annual meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) members on Monday in Geneva. The resolution does not single out China or any other country, it calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of “the (WHO)-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.”

Compared to Australia’s previous calls for a probe into China’s role and responsibility in the origin of the pandemic, the wording of the resolution is weak. This may have been necessary to get a majority of WHO member states to sign on, particularly countries like Russia, which has traditionally strong ties to Beijing.

But that doesn’t give China’s government a comfortable situation. The potential for an independent investigation to turn up embarrasing or damning information is great though it is not initially tasked with investigating an individual country’s response.

Australias’s public broadcaster ABC reported quoting government source that the resolution’s language was sufficiently strong to “ensure that a proper and thorough investigation took place.”

China, where the virus is thought to be originated, has previously said it would only support an investigation held by the WHO, which has been accused of being overly influenced by China.

WHO officials refute the charge.

China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming said last week: “We’re open, we are transparent, we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. We welcome an international, independent review, but it has to be organized by the WHO.”

Evidence of failures?

Any highly critical report could have a potentially disastrous effect on China’s global standing. China has already taken a major hit as a result of the coronavirus crisis. For the last couple of weeks, United States in particular is pushing a narrative that Beijing is to blame for the pandemic.

Beijing has consistently pushed back against any criticism, pointing to a WHO warning given in late December about a potential new strain of pneumonia spreading in the city of Wuhan.

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