Taiwanese are taking action after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused Taiwan of orchestrating a racist campaign against him, including “complimenting” him and raising funds to run an advertisement in the New York Times.
Tedros’ remarks on Wednesday provoked angry responses from politicians across party lines, while members of the public expressed dissatisfaction via different means.
Facebook users Chang Chia-ling (張嘉玲) and Goldie Huang (黃靖芳) created an event called “Anti-racism! Let’s compliment Tedros instead!”
Photo: Screen grab from the Internet
As of 6pm yesterday, the event had more than 10,000 responses, with more than 5,600 saying they were “going.”
Commenters thanked Tedros for boosting Taiwan’s profile and for acknowledging Taiwan as an independent country, while some said they admired him for his loyalty to Beijing.
As President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and government agencies have formally responded to Tedros’ false accusation, ordinary people are engaging the issue with supplementary and humorous alternatives, Chang said.
People were regulating each other in the comments to avoid improper remarks, as they do not want to fall into the trap of arguing about whether there was prejudice, she said.
They would translate selected messages from the page and publish them on the Reddit social media platform, she said, adding that they were planning more “calls to action” to help boost Taiwan’s image.
The hashtag “Thisattackcomesfromtaiwan” was trending on Facebook and Twitter, with people using the hashtag as they shared images of Taiwanese delicacies and scenery.
A group launched a crowdfunding campaign on zeczec.com to buy a front-page advert in the New York Times on Monday that it would use to “debunk Tedros’ accusation and share the nation’s opinion.”
The campaign was initiated by Watchout cofounder Lin Zu-yi (林祖儀) and graphic designer Aaron Nieh (聶永真), among others, who also raised funds to publish an advert titled “Democracy at 4am” during the 2014 Sunflower movement.
Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that Tedros should speak on facts and should apologize for his inappropriate behavior.
Not only were the accusations baseless and unfair, they were made while the world is being hit by a dire pandemic, Su told reporters, adding that these are manifestations of the fact that Tedros is unfit for a job that requires professionalism and fairness.
Due to China’s bullying, Taiwan is ostracized and discriminated against, hence it knows well the pain of being subjected to unfair treatment, he said.
Nevertheless, the nation has done all that it can to contribute to the world and care for disadvantaged people, including Tedros’ home country, Ethiopia, Su said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health and Welfare Taipei Hospital pediatrician Daniel Lu (盧道揚) posted an open letter to Tedros on Facebook, saying he was “utterly shocked and saddened that such disinformation can be from a supposedly respectful head of international organization.”
“I met you on [a] couple of occasions, in Maputo, in Addis Ababa, and even in Geneva, when you were the minister of health for Ethiopia, between 2007 and 2010. We shook hands and talked about health issues there, respecting the same health professionals who would try their best to make health in Africa better,” Lu wrote in English.
“Please do not forget your dedication when you graduated from a world-renowned public health institution years ago, and your solemn vow recently when you ascend to this honorable position you are in now: ‘[The] health of people of the world comes first, not politics,’” Lu wrote.
The vibrancy and creativity of civic society is the most precious thing in Taiwan, just as many civic groups have embarked on foreign aid and medical campaigns worldwide, Lu told the Taipei Times.
Additional reporting by Chiu Yi-chin and Sean Lin
ZERO TOLERANCE: National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin said that he ordered Kaohsiung police to investigate reports of planned voter intimidation Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) yesterday denounced the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for asking people not to vote in a recall poll against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), while National Police Agency Director-General Chen Ja-chin (陳家欽) called on police to follow up on reports that gangsters are planning to intimidate voters. Yen said that in an effort to save Han, the KMT has mobilized all of its members, who have increasingly tried to prevent Kaohsiung residents from exercising their right to vote in the poll on Saturday next week. She called on Kaohsiung residents to have the courage
Taipei is to reopen public facilities starting on Monday next week under three conditions, and allow indoor and outdoor events with fewer than 250 and 1,000 people respectively, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) yesterday. The three conditions are practicing social distancing measures or wearing a mask if the proper distance cannot be kept, enforcing a real-name registration system for indoor activities and prohibiting meal sharing, Huang said. All municipal facilities would resume operations under those principles, with the exception of school campuses, she said. School campuses at high-school level and below would remain closed to the public to protect student health, but
RELAXING CONTROLS: As the nation has sufficiently ramped up mask production, sales would be allowed to resume and a limit on sending masks is to be lifted A “new disease prevention lifestyle” is mainly being promoted as part of preparations for the loosening of border controls, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as the nation marked the 45th day of no local COVID-19 infections. A total of 419 patients have been released from isolation after treatment, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). A group of 96 Taiwanese who had been stranded in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday returned to Taiwan, nine of whom reported suspected symptoms after arrival: two with diarrhea and seven with respiratory symptoms, including one
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City