UN: tools of China

China keeps playing keep away with WHO/WHA status. Chen was smart to use this straightforward approach now as the spotlight is on China. Hope they at least get WHA status, which is what Chen is realistically shooting for.

While urging the WHO to submit Taiwan’s application to the WHA next month, Chen called on Taiwan’s political parties and its people to unite and fight against “China’s suppression” after being asked to comment on the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential primary.

“China’s suppression of the collective human rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan is the important issue. In comparison, the DPP’s presidential primary is nothing,” he said.

Echoing Chen’s remarks that the country has every right to apply to join the WHO as a full member, pro-independence panelists in a forum yesterday said that Taiwan should continue seeking the full WHO membership using the name “Taiwan.”

Posted in China, Taiwan, UN. 1 Comment »

One Response to “UN: tools of China”

  1. Jason in DC Says:

    Taiwan has pursued observer status in the WHA for the past ten years, but this year marked the first time it decided to go for full-pull membership.

    A few more facts on the issue:

    – During the SARS crisis in 2003 China prevented the WHO from assisting Taiwan, insisting that Beijing was already ‘taking care of Taiwan’. The result was that Taiwanwas forced to face SARS on its own until the US Centers for Disease Control intervened.

    – In 2005, the WHO Secretariat signed a secret memo of understanding with China, which is said to give Beijing the right to first refusal on any instance where the WHO might cooperate with Taiwan. Post-MOU, the number of instances where Taiwan is allowed to attend technical-level meetings on issues like the containment of infectious disease drops to nearly zero.

    – Beginning in 2004, the UN’s Geneva Office refuses Taiwanese journalists press accreditation to cover the WHO’s annual World Health Assembly, saying they lack UN-recognized passports. (Pre-2004, the WHO handled accreditation and saw no problem with allowing Taiwanese press to attend)

    – This year’s bid for full WHO membership was made after years of Taiwan trying to participate in an unofficial capacity, an arrangement Beijing was evidently uncomftortable with.

    – Taiwan’s health system has been ranked by The Economist as #2 in the world, has a long track record of international humanitarian efforts, and has one of the highest standards of living in Asia. Yet it is forbidden from taking part in WHO/ UN relief efforts because it is not a member state.

    – Taiwan is also a major transshipment point, passenger hub and a stopover for millions of migrating birds. How long until an infected bird turns the island into ground zero for an avian flu pandemic? Do we really want to find out the hard way?

    All of these examples point to one thing: The WHO has allowed the petty politics of an authoritarian state to infect its public health policies, and we’re all the more exposed for it. All the WHO needs to do is once again show the flexibility it has shown the Knights of Malta, the Palestinian Authority and the Int’l Red Cross when it allowed them observer status.

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