(TibetanReview.net, Feb26’20) – Former United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon criticized China’s initial response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, calling it insufficient and inadequate, reported smh.com.au Feb 26. However, he has refused to say whether the country’s suppression and punishment of early whistleblowers had done damage to the authoritarian regime’s brand abroad.
Speaking at a Brand Finance conference in London on soft power, the UN secretary General until 2016 has suggested that stricter measures like border closures and a military response, like the one enacted to contain the Ebola outbreak, could have prevented the disease from spreading to countries less capable than China of defeating the virus.
Declining to answer twice when asked if China’s suppression and punishment of early whistleblowers had done damage to the authoritarian regime’s brand abroad, Ban has said, “My own country Korea has been affected very seriously by the coronavirus unfortunately.”
“As many media and experts have already stated the initial measures from China might have been insufficient, inadequate so that’s why it has spread without any stopping,” he has said.
Ban has called for all necessary measures, including enforcing border control that he undertook during his term as UN Secretary General in connection with the Ebola outbreak, to “prevent and stop this virus crossing borders”.
His comments were seen as a tacit endorsement of Australia’s tough travel ban on people travelling from mainland China amid fears Beijing was playing down the true magnitude of the outbreak.
China has criticized countries for taking such measures.