The following is the text of Taiwan’s protest letter addressed to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍). The letter, dated May 14, 2011, was made public by the Department of Health in Taipei yesterday:
Dear Dr. Chan,
It is with the utmost dissatisfaction that I am writing to file a formal protest over the improper procedures and erroneous terminology of political nature laid out in the leaked memo of September 14, 2010 — “Application of the International Health Regulations (2005) (“IHR”) to the Taiwan Province of China”— issued by Dr. Anne Marie Worning, Executive Director of your Office.
The Department of Health of Chinese Taipei is the highest and sole authority in charge of protecting and promoting the health rights of the 23 million people in Taiwan, and any effective application of the IHR in Taiwan as well as its adjacent islands and waters can only be carried out by my Department. As such, we were included into the implementation network of the IHR and asked to designate a “Point of Contact in Taipei” according to Dr. Bernard P. Kean’s letter to us dated January 2, 2009 (a copy of the letter and our response letter, i.e., a typical binding exchange of letters, attached). Therefore, the improper procedures and erroneous terminology as described in the memo have unwarranted political implications that are not only inconsistent with the reality, but also hinder the implementation of the IHR.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the supreme body of the WHO. In 2009, when for the first time we were invited to attend the Assembly in an observer capacity, our delegation appeared in the list of participants under the heading “Chinese Taipei,” and was seated behind a plate bearing Chinese Taipei. The fact that that designation was altered without our consent and knowledge in the WHO’s internal memo is most regrettable and does not conform to the WHA’s long tradition of being a professional institution of transparent and consistent practice. I hereby request that you immediately look into this grave matter and redress such a mistake that is absolutely unacceptable to us.
Despite these unfortunate circumstances, I nonetheless wish to express my gratitude to you for inviting me to attend the 64th WHA. I also wish to assure you that my delegation will continue to make substantial contributions to discussions at the Assembly and to the work of the WHO, just as we have for the past two years.
I look forward to hearing a response from you soon.
Wen-Ta Chiu, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Health