Thu, Aug 06, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Legislator pans use of ‘Taiwan (China)’ on WHO Web site

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government must immediately request the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office to stop referring to Taiwan as “Taiwan (China),” a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday, after the term appeared in an article posted on the office’s Web site this week.

Former Department of Health minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) should also apologize to the public for failing to secure Taiwan’s title as “Chinese Taipei” and protect Taiwan’s dignity, DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said.

The article, titled “Taiwan (China) urges event planners to take precautions against Pandemic (H1N1) 2009,” describes the swine flu outbreak in the country, including news of Taiwan’s first H1N1-related death last week.

However, rather than using “Chinese Taipei” — the moniker agreed upon by the WHO and the government after Taiwan was invited to be an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May — the article uses “Taiwan (China),” Kuan said.

Kuan said the government had repeatedly told the public that Taiwan’s sovereignty would remain intact despite the use of “Chinese Taipei” as a title in organizations such as the International Olympics Committee, “but this article proves that the WHO still views Taiwan as part of China.”

“Taiwan’s observership at the WHA was Yeh’s most important task during his term. Although Taiwan is a now an observer, it has achieved this at a heavy cost to Taiwan’s sovereignty and Yeh should apologize,” she said.

Paul Chang (章文樑), director-general of the Department of International Organizations, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would look into the matter.

He said after the nation’s accession to the WHA as “Chinese Taipei,” Taiwan should only be referred to as such by all groups under the WHO framework, but the process could take some time. The ministry will talk to the WHO, he said.

Taiwan was kicked out of the WHO in 1979 after it forfeited its membership in the UN in 1971.

In May, the WHA accepted Taiwan’s request for observer status on the condition that it use the name “Chinese Taipei.”

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