Wed, May 18, 2011 - Page 1 News List

WHO NAME GAME: WHO Web site inflames uproar

INTERNET ANGER:DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling said the ‘WHO house style’ Web page confirmed that it is an ‘undeniable fact’ that Taiwan’s sovereignty is being sold out

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party legislators Lee Chun-yee, left, and Kuan Bi-ling, right, hold a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The WHO has not wavered on its position that Taiwan is a part of China despite extending an invitation to the Department of Health under the designation “Chinese Taipei,” new information from the WHO reveals.

The stance, already evident from a leaked internal WHO memo released by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) last week, was strengthened by the new disclosure yesterday of the organization’s internal publishing policies that state Taiwan is “a province of China.”

“This area is considered, within the United Nations system, as a province of China under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government in Beijing,” the memo says, expressly forbidding WHO staff from simply using the term “Taiwan.”

The words “Chinese Taipei” should only be used for “a list of participants, summary records and similar documents of World Health Assemblies to which that entity is invited as an observer.”

Kuan said the information was further evidence that Taiwan’s breakthrough in attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) for the third year running has come at a hefty price.

Meant for WHO staff, the information is part of an internal Web site that informs officials on the “WHO house style” as part of the organization’s publishing policies. The Web page, which directs questions to the WHO’s legal team, was leaked by a source within the WHO, Kuan said.

The page was last updated on Feb. 23 this year, five months after senior WHO officials sent out a confidential memo asking agencies to be expressly aware that Taiwan is a “province of China,” pursuant to a prior closed-door arrangement with Beijing, Kuan said.

“The WHO controversy shows that Taiwan’s legal status is being eroded even as the governing party continues to mislead the [public] by playing games with our name,” Kuan said. “Taiwan’s sovereignty is being sold out — that’s an unavoidable and undeniable fact.”

Taiwan’s delegation to the WHA has formally protested about being lumped together with China, writing to WHO Secretary-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) on Monday that its internal designation of “Taiwan, China” is a “mistake” and “absolutely unacceptable.”

The DPP labeled the protest “weak,” arguing that the controversy seriously undermines the nation’s international standing.

Chinese Taipei — Taiwan’s designation in most international organizations, including at the Olympic Games — has never before been seen as part of China, as the WHO information made clear, DPP lawmakers said.

The lawmakers have called for a boycott of the meeting that opened on Monday.

“Without adequately expressing our protest, I don’t feel that there is a way that Taiwan can attend the WHA,” DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yee (李俊毅) said. “What that would show is that we have completely given up on Taiwan’s sovereignty.”

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers have called the DPP’s remarks “election rhetoric,” pointing out that the government has to keep in mind long-term interests when protesting the memo.

“I don’t think that getting angry is what the public expects the government to do,” KMT Legislator Lin Yi-shih (林益世) said. “Everybody must work together to think of ways to make this country better, instead of continuing with election ploys.”

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