Taiwan is “willing and ready” to help combat the Ebola outbreak affecting thousands in central Africa, the nation’s liaison office in Washington told Breitbart News Wednesday, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) rejecting Taiwan’s previous Ebola efforts last year.
Taiwan boasts a formidable medical industry backed by the nation’s strong economy and has proven able to regulate the spread of global threats like the Zika virus. Its government has campaigned for a place in the WHO but has failed to become a member, or even an observing party, thanks to pressure from China, which rejects Taiwan’s sovereignty and claims it as a rogue province.
China blocked Taiwan from participating in last year’s World Health Assembly despite America, Japan, and Germany all lending their support for Taiwan’s entry, and did so again this year despite similar pressure. The WHO began banning Taiwan from the assembly in 2016, following the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has distanced her country from China, strengthened ties to the United States, and supported democratic efforts against the Communist Party in Hong Kong.
Under Tsai, China declared Taiwan the “greatest imminent threat” to the Communist Party in a national defense white paper published Wednesday.
Taiwan attempted to donate $1 million to the WHO last year to help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fight Ebola a year ago, when the current outbreak was nascent. It is now the second-largest ever recorded. The WHO ultimately rejected the money.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the DRC outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” last week and urged global cooperation to help contain the spread of the virus. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country is willing to answer the call, but only in a “dignified” manner.
China enforces a policy it calls “One China,” which necessarily demands that any party seeking to engage China must not acknowledge Taiwan’s sovereignty, and that doing so will immediately result in Beijing cutting ties. Only 17 countries in the world do not abide by “One China,” not including the United States.
The “One China” policy is costing the people of Africa much-needed medical aid, as Taiwan requests that the WHO treat it in a “dignified” manner.
“Taiwan is willing and able to contribute to any global health project, but only if the WHO secretariat allows it to manifest its contribution through respected means,” the Taipei Times paraphrases Department of International Organizations Director-General Bob Chen saying on Wednesday. Emphasizing that, on Taiwan’s part, “the door is open,” the senior official requested that the WHO respect that Taiwan operates as a separate political entity from China.
“Taiwan is willing and ready to become a key stakeholder to realize the WHO’s core mission of supporting global public health and disease prevention network, and continuously demonstrates its commitment through concrete actions to preventing the spread of Ebola virus in Africa since 2014,” the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States – the country’s de facto embassy – told Breitbart News via email on Wednesday.
“To support efforts to stem the epidemics in 2015, Taiwan donated $1 million to CDC foundation and 100,000 units of personnel protective equipment to affected countries,” TECRO noted. “However, when Taiwan tried to donate $1 million to the WHO last year for the same cause, to our disappointment, the WHO refused to accept it due to political reasons.”
Despite resistance from the WHO, the representative office noted that Taiwan has been able to successfully participate in other health efforts thanks to cooperation with the United States.
“We are very grateful for the support of the Trump Administration to work with Taiwan against international health crises. Taiwan keeps its promise to continue to help improve the global health system,” TECRO noted. “The rising scale of persistent global health challenges demonstrates the value and importance of including Taiwan into global health system, in particular the WHO.”
The administration of President Donald Trump has not acknowledged Taiwan’s sovereignty, a move that would, in theory, result in China cutting all diplomatic ties to the United States. Trump himself, however, has spoken to Tsai personally – a move that greatly outraged China – and his diplomats have consistently urged the world to accept Taiwan in more global institutions. In April, U.S. envoy to Taiwan Brent Christensen demanded Taiwan receive “full membership in international organizations that do not require statehood” and be allowed “meaningful participation” in others. In addition to the WHO, this would include organizations like Interpol, giving Taiwan the ability to cooperate with other countries on serious criminal matters.
“We support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations that do not require statehood,” the State Department reiterated in May. “In organizations that require statehood for membership, the United States supports Taiwan’s meaningful participation. This includes ICAO, INTERPOL, WHO, and the more than 60 international organizations in which Taiwan participates.”
Since Tsai took office, China has repeatedly threatened to use force to eliminate Taiwan’s sovereign government. Most recently, in the Defense Ministry’s new white paper, the Chinese regime claimed Taiwan was its “greatest immediate threat” and vowed to “resolutely defeat anyone attempting to separate Taiwan from China and safeguard national unity at all costs.”
China’s belligerence against Taiwan – or against neighboring countries like Vietnam and the Philippines – have not prevented it from developing growing influence against Western democratic values on the international stage. Chinese officials lead four of the United Nations’ 15 specialized agencies and has become the second-largest contributor to U.N. funding.
“China uses ICAO [the International Civil Aviation Organization, one of the four U.N. agencies it controls] – as it did with WHO – to block Taiwanese participation and priorities,” Heritage Foundation expert Brett Schaefer told Fox News. “It is very clear China has a plan and they are targeting individual organizations to realize it.”
While China’s destabilizing actions internationally may not directly hurt the WHO’s mission, China’s disregard for international law in the medical field has also not prevented it from becoming a member. China’s medical industry – of significantly lower quality than Taiwan’s, according to international rankings – is home to arguably the largest organ transplant system in the world. China conducted nearly 60,000 organ transplants this year, according to government statistics.
Overwhelming evidence suggests that the organs used in Chinese transplants come from political prisoners, whose bodies are allegedly cut open while alive to ensure the quality of the organs harvested.
An international tribunal declared in June that evidence suggests China is committing crimes against humanity through live organ extraction using political prisoners, particularly practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual movement. The tribunal also found significant evidence that China is preparing its ethnic Uighur population – millions of which have been forced into labor camps – for organ harvesting, or may already be stealing Uighur organs currently.
The WHO has not issued any statements regarding China’s known harvesting of organs from political prisoners.
The WHO has instead rewarded China, legitimizing “traditional Chinese medicine” last year in a move that the editors of Scientific American called “an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice.” China makes an estimated $50 billion a year selling “traditional” remedies that do not undergo clinical trials and are not significantly regulated. Environmental activists note that ingredients such as rhinoceros horn and various tiger organs are often used in these remedies, presenting a significant threat to endangered species.
The WHO has not publicly responded to Taiwan’s latest attempt to donate to help fight Ebola. the director-general, Dr. Ghebreyesus, insisted on a truly global response to the outbreak last week, urging governments to “work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system.”
As of Tuesday, the WHO has documented 2,612 cases of Ebola and 1,756 in the current outbreak, most in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri. Both provinces lie on international borders – with Rwanda and Uganda, respectively – and a case of Ebola was recently documented in Goma, North Kivu’s largest city bordering Rwanda.
Goma is an urban center home to one million people. Both North Kivu and Ituri are densely populated areas under siege by dozens of armed militias fighting to control natural resources in the area. These militias have on occasion united to combat Western health workers attempting to treat Ebola patients, incorrectly believing the health workers are infecting people with Ebola on purpose to keep African populations low.