The US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for blocking Twitter accounts that criticized the organization’s continued exclusion of Taiwan during a global public health crisis.
“The United Nation’s @icao plays a valuable role in ensuring aviation security. But silencing voices that oppose ICAO’s exclusion of Taiwan goes against their stated principles of fairness, inclusion, and transparency,” the committee said in a Twitter post.
The tweet was a response to ICAO blocking critics, US news Web site Axios said in a report earlier on the same day.
According to Axios, Jessica Drun (莊宛樺), a non-resident fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, on Sunday noticed that ICAO had blocked her on Twitter, two days after she criticized the organization and the WHO for refusing to share knowledge with Taiwan’s authorities in a tweet.
“This means civil aviation authorities for one of busiest regional airports do not receive up-to-date info on any potential ICAO-WHO efforts. This is how a virus spreads,” Drun tweeted on Thursday last week.
There has been an outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which causes respiratory infection, in the city of Wuhan, China, where the virus was first detected last month.
The virus has since spread to other countries, reaching Europe and the US as a result of people traveling by air, sea and land, or direct contact with a carrier.
The airport Drun mentioned in her tweet was Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, which was ranked the 11th busiest airport in the world in terms of international passenger traffic in 2018, handling more than 46.5 million passengers.
The Twitter accounts of several other critics were also blocked by ICAO, the Axios report said. However, it did not identify them, saying only that some were Capitol Hill staffers, analysts and an English teacher in Guangzhou who had posted similar criticisms.
Through his press shop Twitter account, US Senator Marco Rubio described ICAO’s action as “outrageous” and said it was “another sign that the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to pressure and bully international organizations to bend to its demands are working.”
In another tweet posted on Friday last week, Rubio said that Beijing’s efforts to block Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations such as the WHO have real effects on global responses to public health crises.
“We are especially reminded of this as the deadly coronavirus has reached Taiwan,” he tweeted.
ICAO Secretary-General Fang Liu (劉芳), a former Chinese aviation official, issued a reminder of the organization’s social media rules on Twitter, saying: “Irrelevant, compromising and offensive material will be removed and the publisher precluded.”
“Join us in improving advocacy for sustainable aviation development through fact-based discourse,” she tweeted.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
‘IRRATIONAL ACTS’: The defense ministry condemned the drills, during which China tested successors to missiles deployed during the Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1995 and 1996 China yesterday fired several Dongfeng ballistic missiles as it began four days of unprecedented military drills off Taiwan proper following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei the previous day. On Tuesday, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said Beijing would “take all necessary measures” in retaliation should Pelosi visit Taiwan during her Asia tour. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from 1:56pm to 4pm fired 11 Dongfeng missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan proper, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. Taiwanese armed forces, using “forward warning and surveillance mechanisms,” monitored the missile tests
ANNEXATION PLANS: Remarks by the Chinese ambassador to France showed that Beijing seeks to normalize genocide, re-education and gulags, a US official said European and US officials condemned comments from Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye (盧沙野), after he on Wednesday said that Taiwanese would be “re-educated” after any annexation by China. In an interview on French television, Lu accused the Democratic Progressive Party of “extremist” propaganda and turning Taiwanese against “reunification” with China. “We will re-educate. I’m sure that the Taiwanese population will again become favorable of the reunification and will become patriots again,” Lu told BFM TV. The term “re-education” has been used to describe Chinese authorities’ treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defense Chairwoman
‘SIMULATED ATTACKS’: Ten warships each from China and Taiwan were maneuvering at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line Taiwan yesterday reiterated that it would not succumb to pressure from Beijing after China carried out its most provocative military drills in decades in retaliation for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last week. “We will never bow to pressure. We uphold freedom and democracy, and believe Taiwanese disapprove [of] China’s bullying actions with force and saber rattling at our door,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. China had “arrogantly” disrupted regional peace and stability, he said, calling on Beijing to not flex its military muscles. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has also called on the international community to “support