A Force for Good: Why WHO Should No Longer Shut Out Taiwan

Commentary

Taiwan, like Canada, is a multicultural country. Its residents migrated mainly from the South Pacific islands and the southern coast of China in the 13th century, and again during the 17th to 19th centuries. Over the past 400 years, Taiwan has been ruled at various times by the Dutch Republic, Spain, House of Koxinga, Qing Dynasty, Japan, and the Chiang Kai-shek regime. Democratic reforms began in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until the first presidential election in 1996 that Taiwan truly became a democracy.

Today, Taiwan is an independent country with solid borders, effective government, and diplomatic relations. It shares the same values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and human rights with Canada. It is the 22nd-largest economy in the world and Canada’s 12th-largest trading partner. Statistics database Numbeo gave Taiwan the highest ranking on the Health Care Index by country in 2020, with a score of 86.71, while in 2019, CEOWORLD magazine ranked Taiwan highest on its Health Care Index. It also has a leading position in the fields of technology, biology, chemistry, and engineering.

Taiwan is internationally renowned for its political rights and civil liberties. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has publicly praised Taiwan as a democratic success story, a reliable partner, and “a force for good in the world.” However, China’s rise to power and its imposition of its so-called “one-China principle” on the U.N. system led to the situation that Taiwan cannot be recognized as a sovereign country. Under the Chinese regime’s influence in the international community, Taiwan has also been denied membership of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Since the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, in Wuhan last December, more than 33,000 have died and more than 190 countries have been affected. Taiwan, originally predicted to become the second-most infected country after China, has created a worldwide “medical miracle” due to determined efforts of the government and the people, keeping the confirmed cases to only about five people infected per million population, with just two deaths as of March 29.

A March 10 NBC News article titled “What Taiwan can teach the world on fighting the coronavirus,” praised the government’s success in preventing an epidemic by implementing eight measures in a timely manner: setting up a command centre, being alert and proactive, taking quick and decisive action, using technology to detect and track cases, ensuring availability of supplies, educating the public, getting public buy-in, and using experience gleaned from the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Taiwan’s achievement has not gone unnoticed. An article in the scientific journal Nature suggested that, in light of Taiwan’s success, it’s time for WHO to reconsider its stance toward the island nation, stating: “Taiwan’s alienation is an inexcusable liability for global health.”

Many mainstream media in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand have published similar reports. British newspaper The Telegraph said Taiwan’s efforts to prevent an outbreak sets “sets the gold standard on epidemic response.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated publicly that giving Taiwan observer status in World Health Assembly meetings is in the best interest of the international health community, and that Taiwan is an important partner in the fight against the pandemic.

Taiwan has sufficient experience and capabilities to assist the international community in supporting the World Health Organization’s aim of achieving “the highest attainable standard of health for all human beings.” No citizen of any country should have to live without the universal values guaranteeing the right to health, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economy, or social condition.

Let the COVID-19 pandemic be a time for change. The international community should not, out of political considerations, allow the authoritative regime of the Chinese Communist Party to continue excluding the “good force” of democratic Taiwan from the World Health Organization any longer.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Michael Sun is the director of the Community Cultural Centre affiliated with the Overseas Community Affairs Council in Toronto. 

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.