The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday urged the government to immediately lodge a protest with the WHO over its listing of Taiwan as part of China in the health organization’s update of H7N9 avian influenza cases.
“The practice was not surprising, as China has taken every opportunity to squeeze Taiwan’s international space and belittle Taiwan’s sovereignty,” TSU caucus whip Lin Shih-chia (林世嘉) told a press conference.
The ramifications of being listed as part of China in this instance could be devastating to Taiwan because it could suffer tremendous losses in tourism revenue if it were to be declared an epidemic area as a result of being grouped with China, Lin said, adding that Taiwan’s participation in the WHO plenary meeting next month could also be adversely affected.
The latest update of the H7N9 situation on the WHO’s Western Pacific Region Office (WPRO) Web page stated that a total of 126 cases of human infection have been reported, including 125 from China and one from “Taipei CDC (Centers for Disease Control),” and a map on the page depicted Taiwan and Chinese provinces with known cases in the same color.
A disclaimer next to the map said that the national boundaries and names shown on the map, and the designation it used “do not imply the expression of an opinion whatsoever on the part of the WHO concerning legal status of any country.”
A question-and-answer page about the avian flu strain on the WHO’s Web site also referred to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China.”
Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of International Organizations, and Hsu Ming-hui (許明暉), director of Department of Health’s Bureau of International Cooperation, both said their agencies had demanded the global agency make a correction as soon as they were aware of it.
Updated maps posted after Monday no longer listed Taiwan as “Taiwan, China,” Hsieh and Hsu said, adding that they would push for the WHO to make the correction on all of its Web pages.