May 12, 2022
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is being censored on China’s internet after questioning the sustainability of the country’s zero-Covid policy. The censorship on Weibo and WeChat, China’s two largest social media platforms, targets WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ comments that expressed rare disagreement with Beijing’s policies.
According to the reports, WHO Director-General Tedros said “When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don’t think that it is sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future. We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable…I think a shift will be very important.”
The United Nation’s official press account on China’s Twitter-like Weibo posted Tedro’s comments early on Wednesday morning, drawing a wave of sarcastic comments from Chinese users. By mid-morning, the post was no longer viewable on Weibo “due to the author’s privacy setting.” It is unclear under what circumstances the setting was changed.
A Weibo hashtag of Tedros’ name has also been censored, with images featuring his face being scrubbed from the platform, though posts containing his name are still visible. On WeChat, an article from the UN’s official account that included Tedros’ comments has been “banned from sharing due to a violation of relevant laws and regulations” as of Wednesday morning. Video clips of Tedros’ speech have also been removed from the platform.
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