Carrying banners reading "Support Taiwan's full membership" and "WHO isolates Taiwan," dozens of Taiwanese medical professionals gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, yesterday to lobby for the country to obtain full membership in the international health body.
Wearing T-shirts printed with the slogan "Say `yes' to Taiwan," groups of Taiwanese gathered on the sidewalk next to Lake Geneva to chant songs and hand out pamphlets to passersby in an effort to raise awareness of the issue.
Taiwanese ultramarathon runner Kevin Lin (
The group of demonstrators then walked along a lakeside calling for the international community to support Taiwan's inclusion in the WHO.
"Support Taiwan to join the WHO!" they chanted.
The annual World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting opens today and is expected to discuss whether to allow the admission of Taiwan's application to join the WHO.
Expressing full support for the government's approach to applying for full membership, Wu Shu-min (吳樹民), president of the Medical Professional Alliance of Taiwan, said the government should have adopted the strategy from the start.
"The government finally heard our voice and applied for full membership under the name of Taiwan. It's my 11th time here, but I think I should count it as my first time," Wu said.
A man identified only as "Mr. Hsiao" (蕭) and his wife, who were both infected with SARS in 2003, said they joined the campaign to urge the WHO not to ignore the health rights of Taiwanese people.
"God has granted us a rebirth, and gave us a chance to share our stories," Hsiao said. "We feel the need to speak up and let the WHO know that it has ignored Taiwanese people's health rights too long."
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Tzu-pao (
"We should not continue our appeals with sadness. With a new start, it's time to renew our appeals with positiveness and full energy," he said.
Wu Yun-tung (吳運東), president of the Taiwan Medical Association (TMA), a branch of the World Medical Association (WMA), who attended the WMA's council meeting in Berlin, said China had tried to change the TMA's name back to "Chinese Medical Association, Taipei" or "TMA, China" and warned China could place more pressure on the WHA to oppress Taiwan's international participations. The association successfully changed its name to TMA in 2004 despite China's opposition.
The WMA passed a resolution in 2003 to support Taiwan's bid to obtain WHA observership.
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