Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 8 News List

LETTER: Taiwanese care about WHO

I read with great interest the article on the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) plans for the World Health Assembly (WHA) (“DPP members aim to take poll results to WHA,” May 10, page 3). Every year around this time, a group of Taiwanese gathers in Geneva to protest against the unfair exclusion of Taiwan from the WHO.

Not only does the WHO actively exclude Taiwan, but it also degrades its status to that of a “province of China.” On the WHO Web site, Taiwan is deliberately and incorrectly referred to as “Taiwan province.”

This policy excludes Taiwan from participating as an observer or member in the organization but has also led many to wonder if it might not be an agent of Beijing. Its defenders, of course, would argue that this isn’t the case, but is it?

For sure, this demonstrates a lack of professionalism at the WHO and goes against the constitution of the organization. This mislabeling is misleading to health professionals and academics who rely on the information provided in its Web site and other WHO publications.

In reality, there is no direct contact between China and the Department of Health in Taiwan. The healthcare system in Taiwan is much more advanced than China’s and decisions that affect the welfare of its people are for Taipei to make.

After pledging to “care” about Taiwan’s health at the WHA in 2003, Beijing was caught by the media saying: “Who gives a damn about [Taiwan]?” a sure sign, if ever there was one, of Beijing’s hypocrisy.

The health of Taiwanese should be determined by the 23 million Taiwanese, not China.

Lily Wang

Sydney, Australia

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