Last month Taiwan was removed from the list of countries appearing on the Web site of the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch. Prior to the removal, Taiwan had appeared under the “Asia” rubric of the site. At present, 23 countries are listed in the “Asia” section, with China and Tibet appearing under the same head.
Other prominent rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, continue to monitor Taiwan and have in recent weeks published reports on such matters as excessive use of force by police and threats to the independence of the media.
Human Rights Watch wrote on its Web site that: “In assessing trouble spots, we take into consideration the severity of the crimes being committed, the numbers of those affected and our potential to have impact.”
Taiwan has been listed throughout the 2000s, although reports of human rights violations were scarce. Its removal coincided with warnings by rights watchdogs, religious organizations, non-profit organizations, academics and various governments of possible human rights violations by the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration.
Requests from the Taipei Times for comment by Human Rights Watch on the removal have not been answered.
In related news, Taiwan was found listed as “Taipei China” on the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE) Web site for its newsletter subscription registration form.
Contacted by the Taipei Times for comment, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official yesterday said Taiwan’s rights in the OIE were not in jeopardy despite the use of “Taipei China” in the country listing for registration on its Web site.
MOFA officials said it was aware of the use of “Taipei China” on the OIE’s Web site and had been working with the group to change it.
The ministry would look into why the country listing in the registration form had not been changed and would inform the OIE about it, officials said.
On the rest of the OIE Web site, Taiwan, one of the 172 members, is listed as Taipei (Chinese). It also uses “Chinese Taipei” in the section pertaining to animal-related diseases in different regions.
MOFA Deputy Spokesman James Chang (章司平) yesterday said it was a technical issue because the group probably had not had time to change all references to “Chinese Taipei.”
Taiwan was admitted to the OIE in 1954 under the name “The Republic of China (Taiwan)” but was later forced to change its designation to “Taipei China” after the People’s Republic of China (PRC) became an official member in 1992.
Last year, Taiwan’s OIE membership name was changed again to “Chinese Taipei.”
Chang said Taiwan agreed to the new moniker in an effort to “cooperate with other member-countries” for the sake of animal health issues.
However, when the change was made last year, the foreign ministry under the Democratic Progressive Party administration lodged a protest against the Paris-based group, saying the change was a political maneuver by Beijing to sabotage Taiwan’s international status.
Last year, Beijing not only urged the OIE to change Taiwan’s designation to “Taiwan, China”— saying that the PRC was the sole legal government representative of China, including Taiwan. It also proposed to downgrade Taiwan’s status from a full member to a “non-sovereign regional member.”
After intervention from the US and the EU, it was decided to change Taiwan’s membership name to “Chinese Taipei” but the downgrade proposal was implemented.
EIGHT-YEAR WINDOW: Avril Haines said that Beijing is closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although Moscow’s actions have not sped up Beijing’s timeline The threat posed by China to Taiwan until 2030 is “critical,” US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday while testifying on worldwide threats at a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s critical, or acute,” Haines said when asked by US Senator Josh Hawley if she viewed the threat facing Taiwan to be acute from now until 2030. “It’s our view that they [China] are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” she said, without
NO CONSENSUS YET: Local governments and the CECC have agreed to change the ‘3+4’ self-isolation policy, but are still mulling what to replace it with The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) and local governments have agreed to ease restrictions on close contacts of COVID-19 cases, although the details are still being discussed, the center said yesterday. The discussions follow Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Saturday approving a proposal to shorten the “3+4” policy — three days of home isolation followed by four days of self-disease prevention — for close contacts who have received booster doses. “We did not reach a consensus on how to revise the current restrictions, but we all agreed that the administrative burden must be reduced and the intensity of restrictions must be eased,
OPPOSING CHINESE ‘HOSTILITY’: The bill orders the state secretary to create a plan to regain observer status for Taiwan, saying Taipei is a model contributor to world health US President Joe Biden on Friday signed a bill into law to help Taiwan regain observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), demonstrating Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation. Friday was the deadline for Biden to sign the bill (S.812), which directs “the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO), and for other purposes.” The 75th WHA, the decisionmaking body of the WHO, is scheduled to meet in Geneva, Switzerland, from Sunday next week to May 28. The bill, introduced by US Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate
‘DAMOCLES SWORD’: An Italian missionary said the arrest of cardinal Zen is a blow for the church in Hong Kong, China and the world, signaling great danger ahead China yesterday defended the arrest of a 90-year-old Catholic cardinal under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, a move that triggered international outrage and deepened concerns over Beijing’s crackdown on freedoms in the territory. Retired cardinal Joseph Zen (陳日君), one of the most senior Catholic clerics in Asia, was among a group of veteran democracy advocates arrested on Wednesday for “colluding with foreign forces.” Pop singer Denise Ho (何韻詩), veteran barrister Margaret Ng (吳靄儀) and cultural studies academic Hui Po-keung (許寶強) were also arrested, the latter as he attempted to fly to Europe to take up an academic post. Cyd Ho (何秀蘭), a democracy