A cartoon posted on Facebook by Taiwan’s representative office in Munich, Germany, was meant to elicit reactions to Taiwan’s lack of an invitation to the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), but has also drawn attention on social media.
The cartoon, posted by the office on May 4, bears the caption: “A picture is worth a thousand words” and shows a man in a Winnie the Pooh costume bullying a Formosan black bear in a T-shirt that reads: “Health For All, Taiwan Can Help.”
While not stated in the post, the Formosan black bear is an endemic species and a cherished symbol of Taiwan, and the Winnie the Pooh character has been used to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
Screen grab from Taiwanese Trade Office in Munich’s Facebook page
References to Xi as “Pooh” began after a 2013 photograph showing the Chinese leader walking with then-US president Barack Obama was turned into an online meme featuring a portly Winnie the Pooh walking with the lanky Tigger.
In the posted cartoon, the two figures stand outside a door with a sign that reads: “World Health Organization,” suggesting that China blocked Taiwan’s bid to attend the WHA, which is to be held from May 20 to 28 in Geneva, Switzerland.
“One country is blocking Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly, thereby ignoring Taiwan’s 23 million people, who have a right to health like everyone else,” the representative office said in a message posted in Mandarin, German and English.
“But disease knows no borders,” it added. “In particular, emerging infectious diseases pose a major threat to human health that must be solved together.”
“Unfortunately, without Taiwan’s participation, there is a gap in the global health network that must be closed,” the post read.
“Please support Taiwan’s bid to participate as an observer in the World Health Assembly,” it said.
While the office’s Facebook page only has about 3,500 likes, the post had by yesterday afternoon gained more than 1,300 likes and 530 shares.
As political cartoons are quite popular in Western society, the office wanted to use a cartoon to inform the world of Taiwan’s plight in the face of pressure from Beijing, the office’s social media manager said.
The cartoon, designed by a Taiwanese student enrolled in Germany, attempted to “break the language barrier” and give more people an understanding of Taiwan’s situation.
Taiwan had hoped to attend this year’s WHA as an observer, as it did from 2009 to 2016, but China has blocked the WHO from inviting Taiwan to the WHA since 2017, following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) election.
China has openly admitted to the obstruction, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) saying on Monday that Beijing opposed Taiwan’s participation in this year’s WHA because of Taiwan’s refusal to accept Beijing’s “one China” principle.
In the eight years in which Taiwan participated in the WHA, it did so as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei” with the help of the US and amid better relations with China during the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”