Taiwan Blocked from W.H.O. Assembly Despite World’s Best Coronavirus Response

A woman holds a Taiwanese flag as she joins others at a rally to mark Taiwan's National Day, in the Tsim Sha Tsui district in Hong Kong on October 10, 2019. - Taiwan's National Day, also called called Double-Ten in a reference to the nationalist Republic of China set up …
PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese state-run propaganda outlet the Global Times gloated on Tuesday over Taiwan not receiving an invitation to this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), asserting Beijing had the “final say” in the matter and annexation by communist China is the only way forward for the island.

The state mouthpiece noted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s failed overtures to World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Grebreyesus aiming to secure an invite for the nation of Taiwan, accusing the U.S. of “sinister purposes” in so doing. Chinese media previously showered Tedros with praise for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic response but have since soured on him due to his support for additional investigations into the virus’s origin that may implicate the communist regime in its outbreak.

The U.S., along with other nations, attempted to secure an invite for Taiwan to the WHA in 2020 in light of the island’s success in combating the outbreak. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tedros in May 2020 to extend an invitation to Taipei but the W.H.O. declined, saying Tedros lacked the power to do so.

Taiwan has led one of the world’s most effective responses to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, keeping cases and fatalities to a minimum despite the nation’s immediate proximity to China, where the virus originated. Since the coronavirus’s initial outbreak, Taiwan has only documented 1,173 cases and a total of 12 fatalities. Taipei warned the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) about the coronavirus’s potential severity in December 2019 and indicated it was isolating patients, suggesting the virus was contagious in nature. The W.H.O. disregarded the warnings and insisted for at least one month following that the coronavirus could not travel from person to person.

The Global Times went on to belittle Taiwan’s sovereignty, asserting U.N. agencies did not accept the regime in Taipei.

“It’s Beijing, rather than Washington, that has the final say over how much room the island will have for its international participation,” it added. U.S. support for the island is tenuous at best, the outlet insisted, as “Taiwan is only a chess piece” for Washington to use in manipulating the communist government in Beijing. Cooperation with Beijing, the Global Times bellowed, represents Taiwan’s best chance to participate in the larger world.

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, established itself in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek and his nationalist Kuomingtang faction evacuated China after their defeat during the Chinese Civil War at the hands of the communists under Mao Zedong. The island is a sovereign state with no connection to the Chinese Communist Party and has never been a part of communist China. The Party nonetheless regards Taiwan as a rogue province under the occupation of “secessionist” forces and has repeatedly vowed to colonize the island. The functionally separate Chinese states both ostensibly agree on the existence of only one “China” in the world, though both of them lay claim to that title. Beijing, under its “One China Principle,” insists Taiwan is part of its “People’s Republic” while Taipei insists its government constitutes the sole, legitimate China.

Taiwan previously was able to attend the WHA as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” with China’s consent, the Global Times noted, before blaming the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for upending the arrangement.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Tuesday insisted Beijing was working for the health and well-being of Taiwan’s citizens, under the premise of them being Chinese subjects. “The DPP authorities know this well. Taiwan compatriots are our flesh and blood. The Chinese central government takes all necessary measures to ensure the health and well-being of the Taiwan compatriots,” she said, according to Nikkei Asia. She further said China had made “appropriate arrangements” for Taiwan to participate in global health matters, but did not elaborate.

Taiwan, for its part, sounded off against Beijing’s “shameless lies” on Thursday, contrasting the pandemic responses of the two functionally independent nations and highlighting Beijing’s atrocious human rights record in minority and dissident regions.

Foreign Secretary Joseph Wu, who runs the @MOFA_Taiwan Twitter account, specifically acknowledged Xinjiang, where extensive evidence suggests China has detained millions of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps and conducted genocide against the non-Han Chinese population in the area. He also highlighted Tibet, which has struggled under Chinese oppression for decades, and Hong Kong, a previously autonomous city that has in recent years lost all semblance of liberty under totalitarian communist rule.

“Thank God we aren’t under [China’s] control!” Wu wrote.

The Global Times warned the DPP about pursuing further acts toward “secession,” insisting the island was “getting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff” amid “record-breaking military tensions in recent years.” It did not, however, note that much of that tension comes as a result of China’s own unprecedented actions in the region, including a massive naval buildup which prompted Taiwan to follow suit and precipitated the deployment of the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to the Taiwan Straights. The article concluded with a warning Taiwan must “accept the one-China principle and the fact that the island of Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”

Wu warned in late April, amid China’s escalating rhetoric, that Chinese military forces “seem to be preparing for their final military assault against Taiwan.”


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