Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Breitbart reports WHO scientists were reluctant to publicly criticise China, because they were worried Chinese scientists supplying information to the WHO would suffer reprisals.
Report: W.H.O. Feared China Would Attack Its Scientists if Criticized on Coronavirus
The Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday reported on leaked documents from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) that showed its officials were well aware China was withholding vital information about the coronavirus in January, even as W.H.O. leadership extravagantly praised China for its transparency.
For example, some of the emails uncovered by the AP show W.H.O. officials worrying that if they openly accused China of wrongdoing, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would stop cooperating entirely, and might even commit violence against Chinese scientists who were trying to help. That’s hardly a refutation of the U.S. narrative, since American critics have long suspected W.H.O. played softball with China – putting hundreds of thousands of lives around the world at risk – because it knew Beijing was ready to play hardball with them.
…Read more: https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2020/06/02/report-w-h-o-feared-china-would-attack-scientists-criticized-coronavirus/
I have not seen the emails which allegedly express concern that Chinese scientists would suffer reprisals.
There is no doubt some Chinese scientists were subject to intimidation and threats, and who knows what other mistreatment.
Having said that, some people have criticised Chinese academics themselves for some of the secrecy. From the original AP article;
A major factor behind the gag order, some say, was that Chinese CDC researchers wanted to publish their papers first. “They wanted to take all the credit,” said Li Yize, a coronavirus researcher at the University of Pennsylvania.
Internally, the leadership of the Chinese CDC is plagued with fierce competition, six people familiar with the system explained. They said the agency has long promoted staff based on how many papers they can publish in prestigious journals, making scientists reluctant to share data.
As the days went by, even some of the Chinese CDC’s own staff began to wonder why it was taking so long for authorities to identify the pathogen.
“We were getting suspicious, since within one or two days you would get a sequencing result,” a lab technician said, declining to be identified for fear of retribution.
…Read more: https://apnews.com/3c061794970661042b18d5aeaaed9fae
While not belittling the impact of Covid-19, if Covid-19 had been as deadly as historical diseases like Smallpox or the Black Death these mistakes would have cost many more lives. So in a sense we got lucky this time. Let’s hope the people involved in disease control who made mistakes take the risk more seriously in the future, and prioritise doing the job they’ve been entrusted to do, next time the world faces a deadly outbreak.