China critic Ai Weiwei says WHO’s COVID probe cannot be trusted

China critic Ai Weiwei says WHO’s COVID probe cannot be trusted

Exiled artist, speaking before Wuhan lockdown anniversary, also weighs in on Jack Ma

TOKYO — Exiled Chinese artist, dissident and documentarian Ai Weiwei says the World Health Organization cannot be relied upon to honestly investigate the coronavirus pandemic, days after a WHO-led team of international experts arrived in China to do just that.

After numerous delays, the scientists arrived in the city where the pandemic began — Wuhan — on Jan. 14. They remain in mandatory 14-day quarantine at a hotel.

“First, it’s ironic that they are there after one year [from the initial outbreak], so that shows how they perform,” Ai said on Friday via teleconference. He was speaking from his residence in Lisbon, Portugal, to journalists at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

“Can we trust an organization under the U.N., and that is not really politically conscious about the [reality] of what’s happening, but rather there trying to get their funds and trying to have their bureaucracy?” Ai said.

“We cannot trust the WHO. We need a really independent investigation.”