China Rejected Taiwanese Medical Gear Donation at Peak of Its Coronavirus Epidemic

This photo taken on January 30, 2020 shows officials in protective suits gathered on a street after an elderly man wearing a facemask (not pictured) collapsed and died on the pavement near a hospital in Wuhan. - AFP journalists saw the body on January 30, not long before an emergency …
HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

The government of Taiwan revealed on Monday that the democratic country had attempted to donate 10,000 protective medical suits to the Communist Party of China in February, as Wuhan coronavirus cases were rising exponentially in the country, but Beijing refused them.

The Communist Party rejects Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state, insisting it is a province of China. Taiwan operates full independently of Beijing and has never been ruled from Beijing in its history. As China is an extremely wealthy and influential dictatorship, however, it has successfully limited Taiwan’s diplomatic ties to other states and international organizations. Taiwan maintains diplomatic ties with only 15 states and cannot participate in the United Nations or, currently more pressingly, the World Health Organization (WHO), due to Communist Party bullying.

Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong confirmed reports on Monday that, despite the tense relationship between Taipei and Beijing, the Taiwanese government attempted to send 10,000 sets of protective medical suits to China to protect health workers caring for patients infected with the highly contagious virus. The suits would have reportedly gone to Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, where the virus originated. Taiwan News reports that Hubei declined the offer, citing Chen saying that the Communist Party officials claimed “the lead time is too short to deal with.”

Focus Taiwan, another local media outlet, blamed China’s Eastern Airlines for rejecting the suits. Eastern Airlines flew 247 Taiwanese citizens home out of Wuhan in early February. Upon landing in Taipei, the Taiwanese government reportedly said it wanted to fill the plane with protective gear before it flew back. Eastern Airlines declined. The airline is majority-owned by the Communist Party. Focus Taiwan notes that the Eastern Airlines rejection came after the rejection from Hubei itself.

Neither side has reportedly brought up the potential donation since, despite multiple reports that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China continues to pose significant challenges to the Communist Party’s poorly administrated healthcare system. Beijing currently alleges that the outbreak within its borders has concluded, reopening key parts of the city of Wuhan.

The rejection of humanitarian aid from Taiwan apparently occurred shortly before China announced that it would stop counting “mild” coronavirus cases towards its official tally, even including individuals who had tested positive for carrying the virus in their system. Chinese officials never clarified how to distinguish a “mild” confirmed coronavirus case from a “severe” one, a significant question given many reports of hospitals beginning to reject anyone who appeared to have coronavirus infection symptoms.

China’s irregular way of counting coronavirus cases may have resulted in an official death count over ten times smaller than the real number of people who died, multiple outlets reported on Monday. The Communist Party, signaling the reopening of Hubei province, allowed people in Wuhan to collect the ashes of the dead for the first time this weekend. Reports from Wuhan’s seven funeral homes suggest between 30,000 and 45,000 people died in the past three months, significantly more than the about 3,500 deaths the government claims occurred as a result of the Wuhan virus.

These March numbers correspond to estimates attempted by the Epoch Times in February using interviews with anonymous funeral directors in Wuhan, who said they were creating four to five times the number of bodies they typically see on a daily basis.

In contrast to China – which, if the numbers using urn tallies this week are correct, is far and away the deadliest country to be diagnosed with coronavirus in – Taiwan has largely contained its internal outbreak. Taiwan has the luxury of being an island, but as it has close proximity to China, was also at high risk of an epidemic. Taiwanese officials used public health infrastructure designed during the 2003 SARS outbreak, and a hearty distrust of the Communist Party, to begin targeting and isolating individuals who might be carrying the virus early. Taiwan also limited travel to and from China and began taking safety precautions long before China confirmed the existence of the new virus in late January. Scientists have traced the first Wuhan coronavirus case back to November 2019.

Despite its success in containing the virus, Taiwan is still not a member of the WHO and protested yet again on Monday that the WHO has not shared pivotal medical data with the country, as it has claimed to. The WHO claims that, since it falsely considers Taiwan a province of China, all the information it provides to the Communist Party trickles down to Taipei. It also lumps Taiwan’s coronavirus cases into the official tally of the People’s Republic of China, therefore saddling Taipei with the tens of thousands of cases that Beijing is responsible for.

The WHO has largely responded dismissively or furtively to demands from journalists for clarity on its status with Taiwan. On Saturday, WHO doctor Bruce Aylward, repeatedly pretended he could not hear a question about Taiwan, blaming allegedly poor reception via videolink, then ignored the question entirely.

“Later when the call was reconnected, the presenter asked him to comment on Taiwan’s progress in containing the virus. Aylward replied that all areas of China have done well and wished Hong Kong luck in its efforts,” Canada’s National Post noted.

Last week, the Taiwanese government revealed that it had notified the WHO early of evidence of a viral outbreak spiraling out of control in China, but the WHO rejected Taiwan’s warning.

“Taiwan did report our concern on the severity of coronavirus last December to the WHO,” Taiwan’s representative office in Washington told Breitbart News in a statement. “But as a rule, our reporting is always a one-way street. WHO mostly ignored our messages and never shared information as they do to other countries.”

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