Twenty members of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group sent a letter of protest to the WHO in which they directly challenged WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍), saying that as the body’s top official, she must take responsibility for its internal rule that states Taiwan should be viewed as a province of China. The letter also stated that Chan is a Chinese citizen nominated by Beijing, and that continued insistence that Taiwan be viewed as a province of China will not only decrease the prestige of the WHO, but also raise doubts about Chan’s impartiality and honesty.
Their letter was a true, righteous “solemn protest,” very different from the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “solemn protests,” which are little more than attempts not to offend Beijing.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have criticized Ma and his government, saying they do not know what they are doing. They have also pointed out that so far the WHO has not responded to the government’s letter.
Funnily enough, Ma — who has responded weakly to the way China denigrates Taiwan through Chan — became angry at the DPP’s criticism. Ma’s re-election campaign spokesperson responded by saying that those who criticize Ma for failing to protect Taiwan are getting things backwards, because the protest letter from the friendship group is the same sort of active measure Ma often takes in response to similar incidents. However, those “active measures” the spokesperson was referring to are the same old press conferences Ma holds and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Department of Health letters sent out as a way of protest.
Ma has clearly never turned these verbal or written protests into concrete action, neither against the WHO for belittling Taiwan or against China for directing things from behind the scenes. Why would the targets of these protests take them seriously when they are devoid of any real action? One has to wonder how they can be considered “solemn protests” and how such protests are supposed to protect Taiwan.
The question is whether such protests would receive the respect and attention of the international community or if the international community looks down on such inaction.
These written and verbal protests are far less “solemn” than the friendship group’s letter. For this, the Ma administration should feel deeply ashamed. How can they even think they have the right to criticize those concerned about Taiwan’s sovereignty and say that such people only know how to abuse others and are incapable of coming up with any constructive suggestions?
Ma is the head of state, yet he is incapable of protecting this nation’s sovereignty and when our sovereignty is damaged, all he suggests is that we “swallow it.” Even worse, he often makes up stories to justify his incompetence.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Ma said that countries bordering China would also become more dependent on Beijing as a result of its rising power. If one reads between the lines, what he was really saying was that not only is he the one who bows to China, his actions are also followed by China’s other neighbors.
Is this really true? The answer is no. The recent flare-up over the South China Sea issue is a prime example. Both Vietnam and the Philippines are protesting — rather than sitting back — against Beijing’s attempts to use its growing strength to claim all of the South China Sea.