Chinese President Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng Liyuan, is one of the World Health Organization’s three goodwill ambassadors.
This cozy relationship between China and the W.H.O. is the main reason President Donald Trump is threatening to pull funding from the organization. On Monday, Trump warned Dr. Tedros that he would freeze U.S. funding of the W.H.O., an agency of the U.N., if it did not ‘demonstrate independence from China.’
That certainly does not appear to be the case.
Scholar Gordon Chang has warned that China’s policy “is incompatible with our system. We are unfortunately going to have to reverse course and disengage from China to protect ourselves – to reduce our vulnerability to an extremely dangerous actor.”
Peng Liyuan is also a Goodwill Ambassador for tuberculosis and AIDS since 2011, American Military News reported Wednesday. She was appointed by former WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan. Incumbent WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus renewed her two-year term in 2019.
Aside from Peng, the other ambassadors are Yohei Sasakawa of Japan, and Chinese broadcaster James Chau.
This sounds like a joke. It’s not.
Meet the W.H.O.’s Goodwill Ambassadors:
🇨🇳 Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, and Major General in the People’s Liberation Armyhttps://t.co/tZSY6flJh5
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 20, 2020
According to his biography, Chau is a “Guest Presenter on BBC World News” and a “Special Contributor to Chinese Central Television (CCTV) where he interviews global leaders and reports breaking news to 85 million viewers.” CCTV is China’s predominant state media outlet.
In her biography on the WHO’s website, Peng is described as a “famous Chinese soprano and actress,” a health activist and the “head of the Chinese Song and Dance Ensemble in the General Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army.”
Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan have been the first couple of China since November 2012.