Nearly 1 million signatures on petition calling for WHO head Tedros to resign

Tedros has been criticised for overly trusting the figures provided by China.

Kayla Wong | April 14, 2020, 06:32 PM

A petition calling for the resignation of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Director-General has surpassed 940,000 signatures, and is well on its way to its goal of one million.

Tedros faces widespread criticism for perceived leanings towards China

The petition, addressed to the United Nations, listed several complaints against Tedros regarding his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the criticisms include the WHO failing to call Covid-19 a pandemic earlier on Jan. 23 as Tedros had underestimated the severity of the situation.

The outbreak was referred to as "an emergency in China" instead.

The petition also claimed that many petitioners are "disappointed" as Tedros had trusted information given by the Chinese government without conducing any investigation into it, even though the WHO is supposed to be politically neutral.

The person who started the petition, Osuka Yip, further said "Taiwan should not be excluded from WHO" for any political reason.

Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO has been criticised as a threat to global public health, although both China and the WHO have maintained that Taiwan is getting the information it needs.

War of words

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, had previously accused the WHO of being "China centric" even though the global health body is largely funded by the U.S.

The U.S. Department of State had also questioned why the WHO had not acted on information submitted by Taiwan on Dec. 31 that indicated human-to-human transmission of the Covid-19 was possible, AFP reported.

On the same day, China had issued its first official public statement on the viral outbreak, saying that the investigation so far "has not found any obvious human-to-human transmission or infection of medical staff", the Wall Street Journal reported.

Japanese finance minister Taro Aso had only said the WHO should change its name to the "Chinese Health Organisation".

China defends WHO

The Chinese government had defended Tedros against claims that the WHO head is deferring to them.

Chinese foreign ministry Wang Yi and Tedros on Feb. 15 in Germany. (Image via Chinese foreign ministry)

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press conference on Thursday, April 9, that the WHO has been "actively performing its duties and upholding an objective, science-based and impartial position".

Tedros accused Taiwan of launching racist attacks against him

Previously, in his response to criticisms from world leaders on the WHO's management of the pandemic on April 8, Tedros had accused the Taiwanese people and Taiwan's foreign ministry, without evidence, of orchestrating a racist campaign against him.

Tedros had also called for countries to put aside political differences and work together to combat the pandemic.

Refuting his accusations, Taiwan said the claim was "baseless".

Taiwan's Investigation Bureau subsequently said on Friday, April 10, that Chinese internet users have been passing themselves off as Taiwanese and then making fake apologies to Tedro, according to Bloomberg.

The posts were easy to tell as they used identical wording.

Top image via