Join WHO? Why Taiwan Matters?
New emerging pneumonia is coming to threaten the world. This is not the first time, nor the last one.
When I am walking on the street of Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, I wonder how many people around the world would realize that it contains its own ambiance of politics and culture that is so different which you would not see at other countries. People talk freely in the restaurants or on the streets or bus about how they expect what new government should do after the 2020 presidential election. The public would not hesitate to post their concern on the internet if government policy is in the wrong direction. While the government may struggle to respond to some public issues, they never prohibit any voice from the public as the other country like China.
But why such a different country would be considered as part of China in the political aspect especially in international society? It seems that other governments refuse to recognize the truth that such a small island has its own currency and ruling body. And anyone who has a chance to come here can recognize this simple truth without any doubt.
Taiwan, a tiny island besides China, is frequently isolated from international society. Since its position of UN was replaced by China in 1971, Taiwan never has had a chance to join any internal organization, not even the World Health Organization (WHO), a worldwide organization focused on human health promotion.
No one knows when human health becomes a political issue in international society. But one thing is for sure: Taiwan has been always intended to be excluded out in epidemic outbreaks. This is not a new thing anymore. During the outbreak of SARS, none of the officers from the Taiwan government was invited to join any international discussion. This had been reported by the Nature journal (see the link below). The staff of WHO simply replied to Taiwan that they should approach China instead but not WHO.
But considering Taiwan as part of China during the epidemic outbreak would cause one problem: None of Taiwan’s government officers would follow the order from China and none of them receives taxpayers’ money from China. This is not like the relationship between the Soviet Union and China in the old time. Taiwan is a democratic body while China belongs to the Communists. There is no precedent example in history that two so different ruling bodies can remain stable in one sovereignty, not to say that those two entities are actually separated. This did not happen in the Unification of Germany and obviously, it would not happen here, either. The result of the 2020 Taiwan president election delivered an important message to China that Taiwanese people would not like to be ruled by any China-favored president candidate.
Having China to decide on Taiwan issues related to the epidemic outbreak would not prevent the spread of virus infection. A charter flight arranged mainly by China from Wuhan intended to deliver Taiwanese back to Taiwan has proved this is the wrong direction. China’s government refused to share the information of passengers to the Taiwanese government even the Taiwanese government is willing to cooperate but would need final confirmation of the list of passengers.
The result? One confirmed case from the charter flight and several individuals are not Taiwanese citizens but Chinese citizens. This epidemic outbreak is not a political game. It involves life and death around the world. It is important to let every country around the world to join the WHO freely and equally to share the responsibility of protecting human being.