Taiwan has become a popular term in Geneva, as Taiwanese nongovernmental organizations and the government push for the nation’s participation in this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in the Swiss city.
Taiwan had hoped to attend the WHA that opens today as an observer, as it did from 2009 to 2016, but was not invited for a third year due to China’s obstructionism.
Despite the snub, Chen on Friday left for Geneva at the head of a delegation to publicize Taiwan’s contributions to global health.
Chen said that he had attended two bilateral meetings since his arrival in Geneva.
“One meeting was with Saint Lucia, and we mainly shared our experiences with the National Health Insurance system and personnel training,” he said. “The other was with a Southeast Asian country, which was mainly about Taiwan’s medical cloud, and their eyes widened when they heard about it.”
Members of Taiwanese civic groups and several expatriates yesterday wore T-shirts with the words “Health for all with Taiwan” as they handed out pamphlets and leaflets in four languages outside the UN’s Palais des Nations, he said.
Advertisements emblazoned with “Health for all, Taiwan can help” are also displayed on five TaxiBikes, the electric bicycle cabs available in downtown Geneva, as well as on the shuttle van that the delegation is using during its stay, he said.
Similar ads can also be seen near the hotels where WHA delegations are staying.
“Taiwan has become a popular term in Geneva now,” Chen said. “We are very grateful for everyone’s support.”
The Taiwan Association for Global Health Diplomacy has a booth in the Geneve-Cornavin Train Station to promote Taiwan’s interest in using its advanced telemedicine technology to help other nations and contribute to global health.
Members of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA) yesterday staged a flash mob outside the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the UN Office in Geneva to protest against China’s suppression of Taiwan.
TAIUNA members said they would also try to make Taiwan’s presence felt in Geneva by attending yesterday’s Walk the Talk, a warm-up organized by the WHO for the annual WHA meeting, which is expected to attract up to 1,000 participants from various nations.
Chen said he hoped bilateral meetings with representatives of the US, Japan and other nations would lead to substantive results, and that he plans to hold a news conference today to promote Taiwan’s stance.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Saturday urged China to offer an olive branch by sharing epidemic prevention information with Taiwan through the WHO.
Such a gesture might appeal to Taiwanese and lead to win-win outcomes, the KMT statement said.
It also urged the WHO to include Taiwan at its meetings, as having the highest attainable level of health is a fundamental rights of every human being, according to the WHO constitution.
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