Medical staff at Wuhan hospital on January 25. Photo: AFP.
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How does China’s superpower affect WHO?


Experts fear the position of China’s superpower could impact the World Health Organization’s response to the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic.

Epidemic pneumonia caused by nCoV first appeared in Wuhan City, capital of Hubei Province. Up to now, more than 50 people have been killed and about 2,000 infected throughout China. Wuhan pneumonia also occurs in Thailand, Japan, Korea, the United States, Singapore, Nepal, France, Canada and Vietnam.

Many experts predict the World Health Organization (WHO) will declare the Wuhan pneumonia epidemic a global health crisis this week as well as take emergency measures against the epidemic. However, WHO has made a decision that is difficult for many people to assert that it is “too early” to act like this.

“Criteria for declaring a global emergency are sufficient. However, not all WHO decisions are based solely on biology,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior member of global health. at the Council for External Relations, comment on WHO’s reaction to the Wuhan pneumonia.

After rising to become the second largest economy in the world, China always aspires to be more recognized on the international arena. The government has been active in influencing global organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.

“China has a strategy for taking on a more prominent role in intergovernmental organizations. Beijing is using these organizations to advance their interests,” said Frances Eve, associate research director. at the China Human Rights Protection Organization.

China’s positivity was met in May last year, when WHO included traditional Chinese medicine in its book “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Issues”. This is an important text of the world medical industry, which can affect global research.

Medical staff at Wuhan hospital on January 25. Image: AFP.

Under Chinese pressure, WHO has also excluded Taiwan from the World Health Council and the island has not received advice on global health for the past three years. Beijing has always considered Taiwan a part of its territory waiting for reunification, including by force if necessary.

Taiwanese officials this week continue to warn that the WHO approach is creating a gap in health security that could pose a risk to the whole of Asia.

“As the second largest economy in the world, China also has a role in global health, making it outside the normal activities of the WHO,” Laurie Garrett, member of security advisory board Global health, remarks, added that WHO will “regret” the failure to declare a state of emergency.

“However, it would be wrong to say that this issue is under the influence of China. China is a WHO donor, but their contributions are still far behind, compared to the US, UK and Gates Foundation,” Garrett said. to speak.

While China contributes US $ 19 million in membership fees to WHO, much of the organization’s budget (about 80%) comes from voluntary commitments.

“I don’t think anything harmful is happening. WHO still does a good job of representing all member states,” said Professor Trudie Lang, director of the global health network at the University. Oxford, said.

But WHO has also faced criticism for repeatedly praising how China handles the outbreak. “The medical committee in Wuhan could have responded faster,” said Chen Xi, a professor at Yale School of Public Health.

Mr. Chen said Chinese officials did not inform about Wuhan pneumonia early, only releasing the information on December 31, even though the disease had appeared for weeks earlier. He insisted the government had missed the “golden time” to introduce emergency response measures.

China is facing the problem of hiding the translation when many videos, photos and complaints about the Wuhan pneumonia are censored. After weeks of delaying emergency response measures, the Chinese government issued a “blockade” not only to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, but also imposed a ban on traveling to more than 17 cities. Hubei province’s other streets, affecting at least 56 million people.

Ngoc Anh (Follow Telegraph)

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