CNBC – “We feel disappointed and angry about WHO’s (World Health Organization) the decision of not inviting Taiwan to join this year’s WHA, we feel we have so much to share about our successful experiences in this Covid-19 outbreak response,” said Yi-Chun Lo, deputy director-general at Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the U.S. condemns Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHA. Taiwan is a model world citizen, while the PRC (People’s Republic of China) continues to withhold vital information about the virus and its origins, deny access to their scientists and relevant facilities, censor discussion of the pandemic within China and on Chinese social media properties, and casts blame widely and recklessly,” said Pompeo.
CNN – Australia and Taiwan have similar-sized populations of about 24 million people, both are islands, allowing strict controls over who crosses their borders, and both have strong trade and transport links with mainland China. Ten weeks on from that date, however, Australia has almost 5,000 confirmed cases, while Taiwan has less than 400. Taiwan’s rapid and transparent response – with medical officials holding daily briefings on the matter – has been held up as an example of how democracies can still rein in epidemics, even as some were claiming only an autocratic government like China’s could effectively control such a rapidly spreading virus. Taiwan also avoided the type of strict lockdowns that characterized the response in China and many other countries.
BBC – Taiwan is seen as one of the few places in the world which have successfully stemmed the spread of the coronavirus without resorting to draconian measures. But despite its efforts, it is still effectively locked out of membership in the WHO due to its [Taiwan] complex relationship with China. Is that not an understatement?
This all exploded over the weekend when a top WHO official appeared to avoid questions about Taiwan in a TV interview that has gone viral, attracting criticism and even accusations of bias. But the foreign minister Joseph Wu has been less diplomatic, and over the weekend reposted Mr. Aylward’s interview in a tweet, saying: “Wow, can’t even utter ‘Taiwan’ in the WHO?”
Wow, can’t even utter “Taiwan” in the WHO? You should set politics aside in dealing with a pandemic. FYI @WHO, 450+ news reports from 40+ countries so far positively covered #Taiwan’s handling of #COVID19. These reports do not mistake us as part of China & #TaiwanCanHelp. JW https://t.co/KbupbUb7NG
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) March 29, 2020
We mention some fairly big mainstream media websites that seem to “carry water” for WHO. The WHO has more than once attacked the Taiwanese and their participation with the WHO. As for more examples: Reuters – Taiwan, WHO spar again over coronavirus information sharing. Yahoo News – China protests at the support of the U.S. and others for Taiwan at WHO. NONE of these stories from the mainstream media state the obvious, that the WHO organization is not who they say they are.
The WHO values as stated on their website:
WHO, as the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system, adheres to the UN values of integrity, professionalism, and respect for diversity. The values of the WHO workforce furthermore reflect the principles of human rights, universality, and equity established in WHO’s Constitution as well as the ethical standards of the Organization.
These values are inspired by the WHO vision of a world in which all peoples attain the highest possible level of health, and our mission to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable, with measurable impact for people at the country level. We are individually and collectively committed to putting these values into practice.
The U.S. is the major contributor to the WHO and China barely moves the needle. The second-largest contributor to the WHO budget is not even a nation-state, but rather is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Chinese now under fire from the world, concern their poor conduct; is now going all-in with the WHO, pledging $2bn to support the organization. President Trump announced that he would freeze funding for the WHO, accusing the United Nations body of a role in “severely mismanaging and covering up” the novel Coronavirus outbreak.
So is the WHO about science or politics?
Let’s be honest, China and Taiwan have a long history. The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan, sometimes referred to as the Taiwan Issue or Taiwan Strait Issue, or from a Taiwanese perspective as the Mainland Issue, is a result of the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent split of China into the two present-day self-governing entities of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (commonly known as “Taiwan”). But during a pandemic on the specific issue of the Coronavirus, China must bury the hatchet or leave the WHO as a poor actor, not willing to work with the rest of the world during this crisis period. Any groups “carrying water” for this behavior should also be dealt with accordingly.
If the Chinese and the WHO ever want to restore any credibility to the world they must accept Taiwan’s participation. They must also be more transparent and unbiased to follow the science where ever it takes them concerning health issues. To date, President Trump is correct in his assessment. It is now up to China and the WHO to respond.