China has donated less than 3 percent toward the World Health Organization’s $675 million coronavirus fundraising drive — angering US officials who say the country is responsible for the outbreak and should donate more.
The WHO’s donations are publicly listed, and China currently places fourth among nations, donating just $20 million to the international effort against COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan late last year.
“China, who started the pandemic, ponied-up a paltry $20 million,” a senior Trump administration official told The Post. China’s cheapness was “shocking and a disgrace,” he said.
“They should pay at least half of the $675 million if not the full amount,” said the senior official, who requested anonymity to share the pointed rebuke.
China’s culpability for the virus emerged as a key point of debate last week as President Trump repeatedly called COVID-19 “the Chinese virus” — in retaliation, he said, for a Chinese government spokesman’s claim that the US government engineered the lethal respiratory bug.
On Tuesday, Trump said he would relent in accusing China, telling Fox News, “Look, everyone knows it came out of China, but I decided we shouldn’t make any more of a big deal out of it.”
The Chinese government’s contribution to the WHO fundraising drive lags behind Kuwait, which contributed $40 million, Japan, which gave $47.5 million, and Germany, which chipped in $28 billion.
“Since the virus started in China in December, the Chinese Communist Party has retaliated against its citizens and journalists in China for making information public, launched disinformation campaigns around the world, and limited the international community’s access to valuable public health information,” the senior US official said.
“And now they refuse to pay even 3% into the world fund to respond to the virus that their own actions caused to spread rapidly outside of their country. That’s shocking and a disgrace.”
The US, the world’s wealthiest nation, has given less than China — just $14.7 million. But US officials point to $100 million in additional international coronavirus relief funding announced in February by the State Department, and note the US’s annual contribution to the WHO — $58 billion — is more than double China’s $28.7 billion.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After initially suppressing medical reports about the virus, Chinese officials ordered a desperate but failed lockdown of Wuhan and nearby cities.
Since January, the virus has spread worldwide with associated economic devastation. As of Wednesday, there are nearly 500,000 diagnosed cases, including more than 60,000 in the US — half of those in New York.
Cities across the US and Europe largely closed for business to slow spread of the virus.
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