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05 Aug 2021

WHO concludes investigation of Chinese Goodwill Ambassador

On Tuesday, August 3, the Ethics office of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded what we are led to believe is a 16-month long investigation into a breach of conduct by one of its Goodwill Ambassadors (GD). James Chau, news anchor at China’s Central Television (CCTV) and its English-language arm CGTN, has been one of its Goodwill Ambassadors since 2016.

In March 2020, Safeguard Defenders filed an ethics complaint against Mr Chau as a GD due to severe violations of the WHO’s Code of Conduct, which explicitly states it  applies also to non-paid positions such as GDs. Mr Chau is known as the news anchor that broadcast two forced televised confessions of UK citizen Peter Humphrey and one of his American wife Yu Yingzeng, all of them before their actual trial.

The original complaint can be found here.

The WHO not only failed to act on the complaint filed. They even refused to acknowledge its reception. Only after the Financial Times investigated, did the WHO confirm it received such a complaint and was investigating it. That was roughly a year ago. Since then, the WHO has either ignored inquiries or responded by saying the ‘review is ongoing and therefore no comment can be made at this time’.

Additional evidence was submitted by SD on June 12, 2020, demonstrating James Chau was regularly falsely presenting himself across various platforms as also being a GD for another UN organ – UNAIDS - when he was not. A complaint to UNAIDS was filed, but no action was taken beyond a statement to clarify that he is not a GD for them.

With the email below, the wait is now over. With a remarkable amount of intellectual acrobatics, WHO seems to vaguely imply that the behaviour of James Chau is somehow not considered a violation of their Code of Conduct. Mr Chau will be allowed to conclude his five-year term as GD. No mention is made about any other measures taken. Follow-up inquiries by SD have been ignored.

UNWatch earlier issued a critical statement against WHO’s failure to hold its GD’s to its Code of Conduct, which also includes the wife of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping, herself a member of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).