Four years have passed since the onset of COVID-19 and the global mishandling of the disease’s spread. Now, the same governments and international organizations that lied about the last pandemic are negotiating a new pandemic agreement and amendments to the International Health Regulations at the World Health Organization.

The main culprit hasn’t changed. Although the Chinese Communist Party hasn’t been held accountable for its complete refusal to adhere to previous agreements under the regulations or its ongoing obstruction of a thorough investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus, Beijing is now collaborating with the Biden administration on this new accord.

So naturally, the new agreement advances China’s interests.

Successive drafts focus on everything from sending taxpayer dollars overseas to weakening intellectual property rights and empowering the World Health Organization over the national sovereignty of the United States. Yes, that’s the same WHO that failed to insert a team of global experts in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak in China (as required by the International Health Regulations), instead capitulating to the Chinese Communist Party and allowing it to define the international response.

The latest version of the agreement even mandates that parties provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries. Of course, the United States has a long, robust history of providing such assistance—President George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, is one good example—but such assistance has always been voluntary, not obligatory.

Unsurprisingly, China stands to benefit from these provisions intended to help “poor” countries. Despite having the second-largest economy in the world, the United Nations considers China to be a “developing country.”

That’s right. The country that started the COVID-19 pandemic not only will suffer zero consequences for its actions but, should the United States sign this agreement, stands to benefit from mandatory transfers of funds from U.S. taxpayers.

China also would benefit from other provisions in the agreement that push governments to:

—Promote “sustainable and geographically diversified production” of pandemic-related products (such as vaccines).

—Invest in developing country capacity and access to proprietary research.

—Use the “flexibilities” of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to override patents.

—Encourage rights holders to forego or reduce royalties and consider time-bound waivers of intellectual property rights.

China, notorious for its theft of intellectual property, would be sure to exploit this last privilege.

All of this would severely curtail future investment in health research—exactly the opposite incentive that should be applied if we are to be prepared for a future pandemic.

And to make matters worse, the agreement almost entirely ignores addressing the countless shortcomings of current international processes in responding to pandemics, such as obligating governments to grant immediate access to international health expert teams to assess the threat of suspected outbreaks and to provide full and timely disclosure of genomic data.

Of course, overseeing sustainable and geographically diversified production, massive transfers, and distribution of up to 20% of diagnostics, therapeutics, or vaccines during a pandemic comes with a hefty price tag. The exact amount isn’t specified, but it is sure to include several commas.

In addition, the agreement would take a sledgehammer to Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights. The willingness of governments to use the pandemic to clamp down on unpopular ideas and opinions to “protect” public health and safety has proven durable. And this new agreement instructs governments to “cooperate, in accordance with national law, in preventing misinformation and disinformation.”

China and Russia need no encouragement to censor speech. However, such language in an international agreement will encourage those in free countries who similarly wish to suppress unpopular opinions under the guise of countering misinformation and disinformation.

Indeed, the World Health Organization itself seems offended by criticism. Earlier this year, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said negotiations were occurring in a difficult environment, facing a “torrent of fake news, lies, and conspiracy theories.” Ironically, this argument was the same one used against conservatives who subscribed to the increasingly credible lab leak theory.

In short, the new pandemic agreement should alarm all Americans.

The agreement is far more focused on redistributing income, transferring technology, and weakening intellectual property than on preventing, detecting, and responding to pandemics in the first place. It failed to address the elephant in the room—the total lack of enforcement in the International Health Regulations—and as written, it is nothing short of a power grab by the Communist China-controlled World Health Organization.

Our government must wholly reject it.

Originally published by The Epoch Times