The non-profit Lion Rock Institute think tank has found that the majority of Hongkongers surveyed do not trust coronavirus-related data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Beijing.

According to a telephone poll conducted among 576 residents over a weekend, 76 per cent of respondents believed that data from the Chinese authorities was unreliable. Sixty-five per cent also said they do not trust media outlets or the WHO which may rely on such official data.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Xi Jinping. File Photo: WHO.

First detected in Hubei, China, more than 80,000 people globally have been infected with the novel virus causing Covid-19, whilst almost 2,700 have died from the SARS-like disease.

The institute said that it implores “all organizations around the world that [rely] on being credible in fighting this possible global pandemic to be highly aware of potential credibility problems.”

Under the leadership of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO has repeatedly praised Beijing’s response to the outbreak despite criticism that Chinese authorities acted too late and punished doctors who spoke out.

The UN body’s director-general previously praised President Xi Jinping’s “political commitment” and leadership: “China’s speed, China’s scale and China’s efficiency… is the advantage of China’s system,” he said earlier this month, according to Chinese state media.

Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.