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WHO is investigating Meghan’s Chinese TV friend about broadcasting ‘forced confession’ from British businessman

A British journalist who became famous on state television in China is under investigation by the World Health Organization for his role as one of the celebrity ambassadors.

James Chau, who considers Meghan Markle a close friend, may be deprived of his title of “goodwill ambassador” for his involvement in broadcasting an alleged forced confession on Chinese state television.

The Cambridge-trained TV anchor, which has interviewed a range of stars including Sir Elton John and Sir Bob Geldof, has been presenting the news on China Central Television’s English-language channel for more than a decade.

James Chau (photo left), a British state television journalist whom Meghan Markle (right) regards as a close friend, is under investigation by the World Health Organization

James Chau (photo left), a British state television journalist whom Meghan Markle (right) regards as a close friend, is under investigation by the World Health Organization

Chau is believed to have been involved in the broadcast of an alleged forced confession by Peter Humphrey (photo) in 2013. Mr. Humphrey said he had been drugged and locked in an iron chair before admitting that he had unlawfully shared personal information

Chau is believed to have been involved in the broadcast of an alleged forced confession by Peter Humphrey (photo) in 2013. Mr. Humphrey said he had been drugged and locked in an iron chair before admitting that he had unlawfully shared personal information

Chau is believed to have been involved in the broadcast of an alleged forced confession by Peter Humphrey (photo) in 2013. Mr. Humphrey said he had been drugged and locked in an iron chair before admitting that he had unlawfully shared personal information

In 2013, Chau presented a program that aired a confession from Peter Humphrey, a British business researcher working in China who claims that it was obtained under duress and that he had been drugged and locked in an iron chair in a steel cage before being forced to to give “crimes of illegally sharing personal information.

Humphrey and his wife and business partner Yu Yingzen, who investigated alleged corruption at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, claim they were paraded in front of a camera and forced to read from a script.

Chau introduced footage of the confession, saying, “The illegal acquisition and subsequent use of data is one of the fastest growing crimes in this country. But the Shanghai police have put a stop to that.

They announced that the owners of a foreign private investigative agency have been arrested on charges of illegally selling personal data of Chinese nationals. ‘

Mr. Humphreys and his wife were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for two years. Since deported from China, Mr Humphreys has claimed that he was forced to make the confession, although this is not apparent from the images.

Mr Humphrey (pictured) and his wife (not pictured) were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for two years, with the British company investigator alleging that he was forced to confess

Mr Humphrey (pictured) and his wife (not pictured) were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for two years, with the British company investigator alleging that he was forced to confess

Mr Humphrey (pictured) and his wife (not pictured) were subsequently convicted and imprisoned for two years, with the British company investigator alleging that he was forced to confess

Chau was appointed to the largely ceremonial and unpaid role of WHO in February 2016, but appointments usually last only two years.

His title has been renewed twice by the organization’s controversial director general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom.

The appointments of the WHO ambassador have not been without controversy in the past. Three years ago, WHO was forced to deprive Robert Mugabe, the former Zimbabwean dictator, of his role following a response from human rights groups.

Chau’s role as an ambassador for sustainable development goals and health has led him to speak on behalf of WHO and promote the organization’s goals.

But civil rights activists claim that Beijing armed with Chau’s ID has spread propaganda for the closed state.

One of those groups, Safeguard Defenders, filed a formal ethical complaint with WHO in February, but the organization has only just said it will investigate Chau, the Financial Times said.

Mr. Chau could lose his title of 'goodwill ambassador' of the World Health Organization (photo), which only Chau is investigating on this issue

Mr. Chau could lose his title of 'goodwill ambassador' of the World Health Organization (photo), which only Chau is investigating on this issue

Mr. Chau could lose his title of ‘goodwill ambassador’ of the World Health Organization (photo), which only Chau is investigating on this issue

Peter Dahlin, the group’s director, said: “The news broadcasts presented by James Chau are not only bad journalism, but have played a key role in removing suspects’ right to a fair trial, including for British victims.

“The WHO Code of Ethics is clear. The WHO’s mandate to take action, namely to review such claims and, if proven, to remove the person from office, is equally clear. ”

UN Watch, another civil rights group, has also requested the deletion of the WHO Chau title. Executive Director Hillel Neuer said, “Chau is a paid mouthpiece for Beijing’s totalitarian regime.”

The WHO said in a statement: “The matter is taken seriously, as any complaint would be. It is currently internally reviewed and therefore cannot be commented on. ‘

Chau has also been accused of helping Beijing launder his approach to the corona virus crisis with completely positive TV reports.

He apologized for the repressive measures taken by the state and said, “You are doing what you have to do. Not everything is “draconian”. ‘

Chau, 42, also claimed that comparing Covid-19 to the 2002 Sars outbreak exaggerated “the magnitude and severity of the Wuhan outbreak.”

In a show attacking critical articles from Western media, Chau spoke of the need to “trust” leaders. In another, he was invited to give “the perspective of the WHO” and criticized America for its “institutional, systemic, structural racism.”

Chau also presents on CCTV’s global division China Global Television Network, which broadcasts to the UK public and has a vast regional headquarters in West London.

Last week, the channel was threatened with the right to show programs in the UK after Ofcom said it violated impartiality rules with its report of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Chau’s YouTube show praises Dr. Adhanom, who, according to Chau, has an “investment in trust in China” and “confidence in his leadership.”

Despite the backlash from human rights activists, Chau – who attended the City of London School before Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music – has received praise from a range of famous faces, including Meghan Markle.

Referring to Chau on her blog The Tig, the Duchess of Sussex wrote in 2015, “ Sometimes you meet a person and just click.

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle (pictured) is considered a good acquaintance of Chau's and wrote very positive words about him in her blog in 2015

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle (pictured) is considered a good acquaintance of Chau's and wrote very positive words about him in her blog in 2015

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle (pictured) is considered a good acquaintance of Chau’s and wrote very positive words about him in her blog in 2015

“You fall into an easy tease, she finds equal parts inspiring and entertaining, and you feel absolutely tickled to have made a new friend. (Something that gets harder as you age – if you were born after 1985 trust me on this). That was the case when I met James Chau at One Young World in Dublin last fall.

“I didn’t know that this smart and charming gentleman is a broadcaster and writer who has interviewed world figures with people like Winnie Mandela and Robert Mugabe; that he is an award-winning journalist and newsreader who has had 85 million (yes, 85 million) audiences at the helm of China Central Television’s CCTV for over a decade.

“Many moons ago my friend Misan told me that one day James and I would make contact, and the moment we did that made sense. James is a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Cambridge graduate and a lover of culture and art.

“You know how often I rattle about ‘being the change you want to see in the world’. Well, he’s the man who does just that. Authentic and passionate. ‘

Chau did not respond to a request for comment.

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