100 NGOs urge WHO to remove China TV’s James Chau as ‘Goodwill Ambassador’

GENEVA, June 3, 2020 — A international coalition of 100 non-governmental organizations from more than 30 countries today urged the World Health Organization to remove its celebrity ambassador James Chau, a news presenter with China Central Television, claiming that he abused his position to “whitewash” China’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. (See statement below).

On Friday, the Financial Times reported that the WHO has launched an internal review into Chau’s role, but the organizations are calling for his “immediate removal.”

The joint appeal was submitted today to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom and UN chief Antonio Guterres by 100 associations accredited to the United Nations, including charities that promote health, development, protection of children and mothers, and human rights.

The organizations accuse Mr. Chau of “purveying propaganda for Beijing” as a television presenter of government-sanctioned news, noting his role in broadcasting the forced confession of Peter Humphrey, a British private investigator who was arrested in 2013 on charges of illegally obtaining and selling Chinese citizens’ data. Mr. Humphrey was drugged, chained to a chair, locked in a cage and forced to read a confession, “which was then presented to the world as legitimate news by Mr. Chau.”

During the Coronavirus pandemic, “Mr. Chau has exploited his WHO title to lend international authority to his whitewashing of China’s troubling response to the Coronavirus pandemic,” according to the statement. “Armed with his UN badge of legitimacy, Mr. Chau has been articulating a one-sided narrative portraying Beijing as heroic.”

At the same time, the UN-accredited organizations accuse Mr. Chau of glaring omissions. “Not one of Mr. Chau’s statements on China’s response to the pandemic mentions how the Chinese Communist Party purged the public sphere of dissent, censored news reports, harassed citizen journalists, shut down news sites and summoned Dr. Li Wenliang to a middle-of-the-night interrogation for sounding the alarm in Wuhan.”

In order to restore the WHO’s credibility, say the organizations, the WHO must “take action to ensure the immediate removal of James Chau from his position as Goodwill Ambassador.”

‘Culture of Corruption’

Observers say the appointment and ongoing role of Chau as well as Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan as Goodwill Ambassadors—both named by former WHO chief Margaret Chan, whose candidacy was officially backed by China—raise many questions about the relationship between China and the WHO.

“When you have the Chinese-nominated WHO chief appointing figures tied to the Chinese regime as goodwill ambassadors, and when the current WHO chief from Ethiopia appointed the late Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe to the same post, it points to a certain culture of corruption within the World Health Organization,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva-based human rights watchdog which led the joint appeal, and the first to expose Mr. Chau in a Newsweek op-ed.

“Goodwill ambassadors of the United Nations are appointed to promote the world body’s goals, and not the political agendas of totalitarian regimes,” said Neuer.

__________

JOINT APPEAL FOR THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
TO 
REMOVE JAMES CHAU AS GOODWILL AMBASSADOR

Sent on 3 June 2020 to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

We, the undersigned human rights activists and members of civil society, appeal to the World Health Organization for the removal of James Chau as Goodwill Ambassador.

WHO Goodwill Ambassadors are appointed to “raise awareness of important health problems and solutions” around the world.

In 2016, then WHO chief Margaret Chan—whose candidacy was officially and strongly backed by China—decided to appoint China Central Television’s James Chau as a Goodwill Ambassador.

However, Mr. Chau has a record of purveying propaganda for Beijing as a television presenter of government-sanctioned news. As reported by The New York Times, Chau broadcast the forced confession of Peter Humphrey, a British private investigator who was arrested in 2013 on charges of illegally obtaining and selling Chinese citizens’ data. Mr. Humphrey was drugged, chained to a chair, locked in a cage and forced to read a confession—which was then presented to the world as legitimate news by Mr. Chau.

During the current Coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Chau has exploited his WHO title to lend international authority to his whitewashing of China’s troubling response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Armed with his U.N. badge of legitimacy, Mr. Chau has been articulating a one-sided narrative portraying Beijing as heroic, on TwitterWeiboYouTube and the broader web since the beginning of the outbreak.

Not one of Mr. Chau’s statements on China’s response to the pandemic mentions how the Chinese Communist Party purged the public sphere of dissent, censored news reports, harassed citizen journalists, shut down news sites and summoned Dr. Li Wenliang to a middle-of-the-night interrogation for sounding the alarm in Wuhan.

In light of the above, it is clear that Mr. Chau is entirely unfit to represent the World Health Organization, whose constitution speaks of the “fundamental rights of every human being.”

The WHO is under pressure after repeatedly lavishing praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping and his regime for their “seriousness,” “transparency” and “leadership” in handling the pandemic. Mr. Chau is complicit in pushing this false narrative.

To begin to restore the WHO’s credibility, we call on you to take action to ensure the immediate removal of James Chau from his position as Goodwill Ambassador.

Sincerely,

  1. Hillel Neuer, United Nations Watch, Switzerland
  2. Oke Omagbitse, Alpha O Centre For Malaria Prevention and Control, Nigeria
  3. S M Islam, Rural Mother & Child Health Care Society, Bangladesh
  4. Elvis Wepngong, Organization for Gender, Civic Engagement & Youth Development, Cameroon
  5. Sylvanus Murray, Advocacy Initiative for Development, United States
  6. Sybil Nmezi, Generation Initiative for Women and Youth Network, Nigeria
  7. Eric Ndubueze Ufom, Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, United States
  8. Anantharaj Karunakaran, Child Care Consortium, India
  9. Pierrette J Cazeau, Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation, United States
  10. Stan Henkeman, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, South Africa
  11. Yusuf Adama, Organisation National des Donneurs de Sang Benevole, Cameroon
  12. Aristide Jean François Zongo, Association Burkinabè pour la Survie de l’Enfance, Burkina Faso
  13. Ulrich Delius, Society for Threatened Peoples, Germany
  14. Banding Gassama, Cause Première, Senegal
  15. Platon Nozadze, South Caucasus Office on Drugs and Crime, Georgia
  16. Humenuc Lucica, Romanian Independent Society of Human Rights, Romania
  17. Petru Botnaru, Terra-1530, Moldova
  18. Nathaniel Odudele, African Heritage Foundation, Nigeria
  19. Noma Eloundou Damien, Respect Cameroon, Cameroon
  20. Taz Mukorombindo, Canterbury Business Association, New Zealand
  21. Muhamad Aslam, Peace Foundation, Pakistan
  22. Toyokatsu Habata, International Shinto Foundation (ISF), United States
  23. Ariella Rosita King, Ariel Foundation International, United States
  24. Jenifer White, Project 1948, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  25. Mohamed Hassan, Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee, United States
  26. Fareed Ullah Khan, Participatory Rural Development Society, Pakistan
  27. Davy Koller, Österreichischer Bundesverband – Österreichische Lebens – und Rettungs – Gesellschaf, Austria
  28. Visaka Dharmadasa, Association of War Affected Women, Sri Lanka
  29. Rudolph C. Bester, Memory Trees Corporation, United States
  30. Datuk Agung Sidayu, Yayasan Pendidikan, Indonesia
  31. Patrick Spencer, Cork Forest Conservation Alliance, United States
  32. Romuald Djivoessoun, Autre Vie, Benin
  33. Karen Dunham, Living Bread International Church, United States
  34. Mostafa Nuruzzaman, Shushilan, Bangladesh
  35. Anjum Raza Mattu, Insan Dost Association, Pakistan
  36. Aisha Ahmed, Murna Foundation, Nigeria
  37. Abul Kashem Sheikh, Kathak Academy, Bangladesh
  38. Benedicta Assagba, Credo Action, Togo
  39. John Incoom, Future Hope International, Ghana
  40. Anne Herzberg, Institute for NGO Research, Israel
  41. Jean Paul Laurent, Unspoken Smiles Foundation, United States
  42. Rose Ngalula, Action Commaunitaire Femme et Enfant, Democratic Republic of Congo
  43. Walid Maalouf, The American Lebanese Renaissance Partnership, United States
  44. Appolinaire Zagabe, Pleaders of Children and Elderly People at Risk, Democratic Republic of Congo
  45. Mamadou Sarr, l’Association Nationale des Partenaires Migrants, Senegal
  46. Guy Antoine Dze Nguesse, Cercle d’Initiative Commune pour la Recherche, l’Environnement et la Qualité, Cameroon
  47. Tameem Mohammed, Human Rights Observers, India
  48. Dr. Sherry Dingman, Fang Protective Services, United States
  49. Djepang Yvonne Armande, Association pour la Promotion de la Lutte Contre les Violences Faites aux Femmes et la Participation au Développement de la Femme Africaine, Cameroon
  50. George Ochieng Odalo, Slum Child Foundation, Kenya
  51. Huwayada Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, South Sudanese Women Christian Mission for Peace, Sudan
  52. Gia Gaspard Taylor, Network of Rural Women Producers, Trinidad and Tobago
  53. Malik Jamil, Children Education & Welfare Society, Pakistan
  54. Masanori Kaneko, Shunichi Fujiki, Japan
  55. M. Aravinda Babu, OISCA, India
  56. Mazi Jideofur Umeh, Ugonma Foundation, Nigeria
  57. P.A. Surendran, Consumers Association, India
  58. Dr. Rachel Nisbet, International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance, Switzerland
  59. Chandan Kumar Sarkar, Research and Empowerment Organization, Bangladesh
  60. Okezie Kelechukwu, Neighbourhood Environment Watch Foundation, Nigeria
  61. Kennady Pulipati, Redemption Research for Health and Educational Development Society, India
  62. Narender Kumar, Shivi Development Society, India
  63. Albert Konan Koffi, Observatoire International pour la Non Violence – Communes des Nations pour la Paix, France
  64. Alfred Oscar Boffi, Fundación Democratica Italo Americana, Argentina
  65. Newman Enyioko, Integrity and Transparency Promotion Initiative, Nigeria
  66. Thomas Chen, STUF United Fund, United States
  67. Edgar N. Alegre, Global Academy Institute of Technology Foundation Inc., Philippines
  68. Lukman Adefolahan, 21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative, Nigeria
  69. Dr. Vinod Shah, Janaseva Foundation Pune, India
  70. Asir Gill, Computer Literacy, Shelter Welfare RawalPindi, Pakistan
  71. Doubade Issaya Issac, Association National de Coopération pour le Développement du Cameroun, Cameroon
  72. Shola Mese, Shola Mese Foundation, Nigeria
  73. Josephine Agbo-Nettey, Integrated Development in Focus, Ghana
  74. Moka Wakassa Gabriel, Fuondation Kalipa for Development, Democratic Republic of Congo
  75. Bharat Gauba, Shoobh Group Welfare Society, India
  76. Mohamed Al Shami, Alliance Internationale pour la Défense des Droits et des Libertés, France
  77. Ngan Tonye François Simon Pierre, Association des Ressortissants et Amis d’Eseka, Cameroon
  78. Sudaba Shiraliyeva, Women and Modern World Social Charitable Centre, Azerbaijan
  79. Nasser Amin, The Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession, Egypt
  80. Salma Oussama Mahamat, Association pour le développement Culturel, Chad
  81. Azra Gul, Pak Women, Pakistan
  82. Brian Bond, Edmund Rice International, Switzerland
  83. Pierre Félix Kandolo, Agence pour le Développement Intégré au Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo
  84. Alan Goldsmith, Jewish Renaissance Foundation, United States
  85. Roshan Sapota, Union C, Nepal
  86. Churchill Butalia, Alliance for Development and Population Services, Kenya
  87. Erold Elcius, Organisation Constelle Pour Le Developpement Economique et Social de la Commune des Gonaives, Haiti
  88. Julia de Cadenet, World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade, United Kingdom
  89. Alex Gowen, The Fishermen (Aid for Orphaned Children), United States
  90. Obuesi Phillips, Community Agenda for Peace, Nigeria
  91. John Okyere, Alliance Creative Community Project, Canada
  92. Souad Talsi, Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women Centre, United Kingdom
  93. Thierry Valle, Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience, France
  94. Francis Komi Akpa, Partage et Action en Synergie pour le Développement, Togo
  95. Abdoullah Bayzar, Internationale Gemeinschaft für die Unterstützung von Kriegsopfern e.V., Germany
  96. Moka Wakassa Gabriel, Fondation Kalipa pour le Développement, Democratic Republic of Congo
  97. Gian Franco Massaro, Federation Internationale des Donneurs, Italy
  98. Teh Francis Yai, Goodness and Mercy Missions, Cameroon
  99. Godwin Osung, Godwin Osung International Foundation, Nigeria
  100. Sandheep Ahuja, Operation ASHA, India