Wednesday, 10 November 2010

UN's Sha Planned Dining Solo with China General, Says Award Was Surprise

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- For four days, Inner City Press has asked the UN about Under Secretary General Sha Zukang having given a “World Harmony Foundation” award to retired Chinese general Chi Haotian in Shanghai on in late October, just before Mr. Sha stood with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the closing of the Shanghai Expo.

Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press that Sha was “not on leave” and that the online photograph of the award was the first the UN knew of Sha's involvement. On November 1, 2 and 3 Nesirky has repeated that some UN statement might be coming -- without saying anything more.

On November 4, Inner City Press was able to ask Sha Zukang directly about the award and the controversy. Sha told Inner City Press that “the general came to know I was in Shanghai” and he invited Sha to dinner.

Sha canceled his other plans. “When I was with disarmament we were together, many years ago,” Sha said of Chi Haotian. “I thought it was he and me only. Than I saw the group.”

Inner City Press has previously covered the World Harmony Foundation trying to parlay its $110,000 contribution to the 2009 UN Day concert into photos with Ban Ki-moon.

After Inner City Press ran several exposes, the photo session was canceled. But still Under Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari appeared for photos with the group, made up of businessmen and led by Frank Liu, in the Millennium Hotel across First Avenue from UN Headquarters.

Here, the result was a photo of Under Secretary General Sha, general Chi Haotian and WHF's Frank Liu.

UN's Sha, the General & Frank Liu: no solo dinner shown

“I didn't know what the award was,” Sha told Inner City Press on November 4. “That is what happened. I don't want to issue any clarification.”

Given the controversy, one would assume that Ban Ki-moon's office has asked Sha for an explanation, which is the above. What will happen next? Watch this site.

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