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China censor WHO chief for calling its zero-Covid policy unsustainable

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(TibetanReview.net, May11’22) – The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) who has consistently defended China’s handling or mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, including when it allowed the virus to spread in late 2019, has been censored for finally saying the country’s draconian zero-Covid policy was unsustainable.

The censorship on Weibo and WeChat, China’s two largest social media platforms, targets WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s comments that expressed rare disagreement with Beijing’s policies, reported the edition.cnn.com May 11.

“When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don’t think that it is sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” Tedros was reported to have told a media briefing May 10, citing the increased transmissibility of Omicron.

“We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable…I think a shift will be very important,” he was further quoted as saying.

The WHO chief’s remark came just days after Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed to double down on the policy and “resolutely struggle” against all critics.

Tedros’s comments posted on the United Nations’ official press account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on May 11 morning was stated to have drawn a wave of sarcastic comments from Chinese users.

“Resolutely fight against any words and acts that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention and control policies! Down with the World Health Organization!” a top reply was quoted as saying.

“Should the UN’s verified account be blocked this time?” another has said.

And by mid-morning, the post was no longer viewable on Weibo “due to the author’s privacy setting,” the report said.

Also, a Weibo hashtag of Tedros’ name was censored, with images featuring his face being scrubbed from the platform, though posts containing his name were stated to be still visible.

Besides, on WeChat, an article from the UN’s official account that included Tedros’ comments was “banned from sharing due to a violation of relevant laws and regulations” as of May 11 morning. Video clips of Tedros’ speech were also stated to have been seen removed from the platform.

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