Mon, Apr 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Expatriates in Italy resolve to support Taiwan's WHO bid


Taiwanese expatriates living in Italy resolved on Saturday to support Taiwan's bid to become a member of the WHO under the name "Taiwan."

At a colloquium hosted by Wu Hsiu-chi (吳秀琪), president of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce in Italy, the expatriates planned to write joint letters to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) and Italy's foreign and health ministries to ask the new WHO chief and the Italian authorities to consider Taiwan's appeal and support its bid.

Speaking at the gathering, Cheng Hsin (鄭欣), Taiwan's representative in Italy, stressed that medical care knows no borders and global disease prevention networks should cover the entire globe.

Cheng said that considering the WHO's mission to protect the health of everyone around the world, Taiwan has every right to seek membership.

He emphasized that all 23 million Taiwanese are entitled to good medical care, as are other populations around the world, and that the last thing Taiwanese would want is for Taiwan to be a "rift" in the global disease prevention network by being excluded.

Cheng added that China had blocked each of Taiwan's attempts over the past 10 years to join the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO's decision-making body, as an observer.

He urged Taiwanese at home and abroad, as well as friends of Taiwan, to work together to realize the goal of Taiwan's accession to the WHO under the name "Taiwan" as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Chen Cang-fa (陳倉發), head of the Italian chapter of the European Federation of the Taiwan Health Alliance, said he had traveled to WHO headquarters in Geneva every year since 2000 to voice his support for Taiwan's bid to join the world health regulatory body.

He said he had observed Beijing's pressure on the WHO to bar Taiwan from becoming a member.

Chen said greater efforts were needed to make the international community aware of the problem of excluding 23 million people from the WHO and of the urgency of the issue.

Also speaking at the colloquium, Chen Tai-ming (陳泰明), a professor of economics who teaches postgraduate classes in Rome, called on China, which he said claimed to have "risen peacefully" onto the world stage, to strive to be a great and magnanimous nation.

As a "great nation," China should treat its neighbors well, particularly Taiwan, which is like a brother to China, Chen Tai-ming said.

He said Taiwan's bid to join the WHO under the name "Taiwan" might seem impossible at this point, but that people should be unrelenting. He said that as long as they struggle, they exist, as long as they exist, they have strength.

He also said he was confident Taiwan would eventually succeed in its bid.

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