Sat, Jun 29, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ministry to protest ‘Lancet’ over paper denying statehood

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan will lodge a protest against medical journal The Lancet after it published a paper that lists Taiwan as a province of China, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Thursday.

The paper, authored by a Chinese research team and titled “Mortality, Morbidity and Risk Factors in China and its Provinces, 1990-2017: a Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017,” mainly covers “34” provincial-level divisions in China, with Taiwan in charts attached to it.

Ministry spokesman Wang Che-chao (王哲超) said that it would file a protest and demand that the journal issue a correction, but did not elaborate on how or when the ministry would do so.

The contents of the study are inconsistent with the fact that Taiwan is not a province of China, Wang said.

Taiwan has its own, independent disease-prevention system, he said.

The Taiwan Medical Association said in a statement that the paper has strayed from the truth, as Taiwan and China have separate medical systems.

Listing Taiwan as a province of China shows that the paper seeks to denigrate Taiwan, the association said.

It is deeply regrettable that The Lancet, a professional, peer-reviewed journal, published the study, which might be detrimental to the journal’s credibility, it said.

The paper says it scales estimates for the “34 provinces of China” to match the separately estimated all-cause mortality for China as a whole.

Hong Kong and Macau were not included in the scaling process because their data collection processes are separate from China, it said.

The Lancet posted a link to the study on its Facebook page on Tuesday, prompting comments demanding that the journal change its designation of Taiwan.

Some comments asked the journal to withdraw the paper, saying that its methodology is problematic.

The Lancet on Thursday wrote that it stands by the study.

The paper follows the guidelines and protocols of the UN and WHO, which refer to Taiwan as a province of the People’s Republic of China, it said.

“This makes the study consistent with other international health analyses. Unless and until such guidelines and protocols are changed, there are no plans to alter such references to Taiwan,” it said.

The paper was written with scientific rigor and thorough data analysis required by the editors of The Lancet, it said. A hierarchical analytical model was employed, utilizing empirical data sources that include all available and relevant vital and civil registrations, census information, scientific literature and other information.

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