While it is important for Taiwan to strive for participation in international organizations, it is even more imperative for it to uphold its national dignity and sovereignty, said Huang Hai-ning (黃海寧), who is best known for heckling former Department of Health minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) about Taiwan’s WHO status two years ago.
The nation was invited to attend the 2009 World Health Assembly meeting as an observer under the designation “Chinese Taipei” following 12 failed attempts to join the WHO because of Beijing’s interference. Yeh, who at the time hailed the nation’s participation as a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government achievement, visibly lost his temper when he was confronted by Huang and her fellow protesters in Geneva, Switzerland, who asked him what title he was using at the WHA.
Dodging the question, Yeh called Huang “shameful” and said “people like you are useless.”
“It is true that Taiwan has this international reality it needs to deal with and that it isn’t easy for Taiwan to take part in the WHO or any other international organization,” Huang said yesterday in an interview with the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper). “It’s exactly for that reason, however, that the name and status [with which Taiwan] gains access to international organizations is a matter of great importance as it shows the nation’s backbone and principles.”
“Because of the WHO name controversy this time, the public once again can scrutinize the government and the national leader on their actions on issues regarding the nation’s dignity and sovereignty,” said Huang, daughter of a former Democratic Progressive Party Taichung County councilor.