China Threatens ‘Non-Peaceful Measures’ to Keep Taiwan out of W.H.O.

A Chinese military officer salutes during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper warned on Wednesday that, should pressure on the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to include Taiwan become successful, the Communist Party may be forced to solve “the Taiwan question once and for all via non-peaceful means.”

The Global Times blamed the “people of the mainland,” meaning the People’s Republic of China, for the potential violence, asserting  Chinese people are increasingly supportive of invading and colonizing Taiwan.

Taiwan is a sovereign nation off the coast of Communist China. The Communist Party considers the island a renegade province despite the lack of any history in which Taiwan was ruled by Beijing. Taiwan is currently a democracy with a long history of free and fair elections and functional state institutions like a lawmaking body, a military, and extensive education and health care infrastructures.

Despite its status as an independent country, the W.H.O. does not acknowledge its sovereignty in response to Communist Party pressure. The agency used to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly, its annual meeting, but stopped in 2016 after the Taiwanese people elected President Tsai Ing-wen, who has vocally challenged Beijing’s illegal attempts to control much of the South China Sea region.

Calls are currently mounting for the W.H.O. to reverse this policy and invite Taiwan to this month’s World Health Assembly in light of the fact that Taiwan has almost completely contained the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic. Taiwan has not documented a domestically transmitted case of Chinese coronavirus in one month.

Taiwan has also protested that the W.H.O. ignored warnings from its government as early as December of a potentially contagious disease spreading in China.

In response to these calls, the Global Times, published by the government of China, threatened violence.

“The reason why China firmly prohibits separatist Taiwan authority from participating in the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer is due to the fact such authority has abandoned the one-China principle,” the Global Times asserted, “and no matter how the U.S. politicians and their allies exploit the issue to encourage Taiwan separatism, the only consequence that may ensue is the mainland [China] considering ending this senseless game by solving the Taiwan question once and for all via non-peaceful means.”

The “One-China principle” is China’s term for the belief that Taiwan is a province of China. The “One-China policy” is a diplomatic term for a rule stating that a nation can maintain diplomatic ties with Taipei or Beijing, but not both.

The state propaganda outlet used its usual stable of Chinese government “experts” to declare that Tsai Ing-wen’s government has a “horrible” reputation among Chinese people and that they will be eager to invade and destroy it. The newspaper articles that “the only possible consequence” of including Taiwan in the World Health Assembly would be a bloody invasion of Taiwan – or “that the people of the mainland lose their faith in peaceful reunification, and more people would urge mainland decision-makers to solve the Taiwan question via non-peaceful means.”

The Global Times also published an editorial on Tuesday – the article threatening “non-peaceful” resolution of the W.H.O. issue was presented as an objective news article – claiming that the Communist Party would “strike back at whatever cost” if Washington takes “real actions” to support Taiwan’s plea to be included in global public health consultations. It continued:

The Chinese mainland’s [China’s] ability to resolve the Taiwan question via military means is becoming mature. Its comprehensive strength to cope with changes surrounding the question is also increasing. This is the foremost change in the situation vis-à-vis the Taiwan Straits. It is Beijing that tightly steers the wheel of the Taiwan Straits.

“Taiwan’s so-called independent diplomacy has met its demise,” the editorial concludes.

The article also advises communists that “it is unrealistic to expect China to win in each round” of geopolitical conflict, belying some lack of confidence in its ability to keep Taiwan out of the World Health Assembly.

The “non-peaceful means” threat is the latest in a series of increasingly dramatic language used by the Communist Party against Taiwan, as well as other regions that seek to liberate themselves from the Communist Party such as Tibet and Xinjiang, or East Turkestan. In October, dictator Xi Jinping personally warned that any attempt by Taiwanese officials to behave as a sovereign state would result in “their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”

“Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder,” Xi reportedly said. “Anyone attempting separatist activities in any part of China will be crushed and any external force backing such attempts will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming.”

Xi has yet to deliver on that promise, despite Taiwan holding a free and fair election in January resulting in Tsai’s decisive reelection.

Taiwan’s government has demanded its rightful place in the W.H.O. for years, but officials have recently made the argument more loudly, noting that their successful response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic proves the value of counting on Taiwan as a member of the agency. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested in April that the W.H.O. turned down 70 percent of its requests for meetings regarding the outbreak.

Officials also noted that Taiwan sent the W.H.O. a message in December warning that it had identified a new respiratory illness and began isolating patients, suggesting a contagious disease. A month later, W.H.O. claimed that the Chinese coronavirus was not transmissible from person to person, which is false. The German newspaper Der Spiegel published a report this weekend indicating Xi Jinping personally requested that W.H.O. chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is not a medical doctor, hide the fact that the virus was contagious from the public and delay the announcement of a pandemic.

Tedros has responded to criticism of his treatment of Taiwan by claiming that Taipei launched a campaign of racial slurs against him, offering no evidence of any such action.

A growing number of W.H.O. member states are requesting that Tedros invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly, including 13 member states that recognize Taiwan as a nation as well as some that do not, like America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

The W.H.O. responded to those requests by falsely claiming Tedros does not have the power to invite Taiwan to observe the event, which will be held virtually this year thanks to the pandemic the Chinese Communist Party created.

“In fact, the W.H.O. Director-General does have the discretionary power to invite observers to the W.H.A. [World Health Assembly],” Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters this week, responding to the claim.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.