Diplomatic allies rally
As a Taiwanese, I hope that Taiwan can attend the WHO in the capacity of a full member.
The WHO has always said that its mission is to take care of everyone, and no one can be excluded. So, why should Taiwan be excluded because of a political problem? This has been the fifth consecutive year that Taiwan was excluded from the annual World Health Assembly (WHA). Many of our diplomatic allies have called for our participation at the meeting, but the calls seem to have been in vain because of opposition from China.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) declined the use of the “1992 consensus” as a prerequisite for talks in 2017, China has claimed to be the only “China” in the WHO and obstructed Taiwan from attending. It is not fair to Taiwan, and there are many reasons that Taiwan should obtain WHO membership.
In 2003, Taiwan showed the ability to control the SARS epidemic. Since then, the nation has developed a system for similar situations. Taiwanese have raised their awareness of outbreaks and always obey the rules set by the government.
Now, we are facing another global pandemic and it is time for all nations to work together. In this era of virus globalization, it is not wise to exclude Taiwan from the WHA for political reasons.
Taiwan has spent time fighting against COVID-19 on its own, working hard to prevent itself from becoming an epidemic prevention flaw. Immediate decision and the awareness of Taiwanese are the reasons Taiwan could stay well in this harsh time.
In addition to the prevention of the virus, Taiwan’s progress in medical development can be used to help countries with poor healthcare systems.
Therefore, Taiwan’s participation at the WHA is not only related to the health rights of Taiwanese, but is indispensable to building epidemic prevention systems and promoting global health.
Health is a fundamental human right. Having a healthy living environment should be the goal that every human wants to achieve. People should work together, and should not be ostracized for their religion, political position or ethnicity.
Taiwan has the ability and the ambition to help the world. Simultaneously, Taiwan needs the help of the WHO. If another pandemic were to break out, and Taiwan could not obtain firsthand data and information from the WHO, it would not be able to fight it effectively. So, why not give Taiwan a try?
Only if people from all countries fight side by side can they return the world to what it used to be.
Public correction and chaos
Chang Yueh-han’s opinion piece (“Public correction could backfire,” June 5, page 8) certainly lends another level of validity to my constant “caveat lector” admonitions to my students and anyone else who will listen. There is, always has been and always will be, someone who is dead set on propagating false or intentionally misleading information.
However, calling that individual out publicly more often than not leads to their “believers” becoming even more convinced that the incorrect/blatantly false information is, in fact, “the truth.”
All one has to do is look at last year’s still-controversial presidential election here in the US. In spite of the inescapable fact that the process by which our current — and very competent, I might add — president was elected, supporters of the defeated candidate continue to maintain via traditional and social media that the declared results are incorrect. And, each time a statement is made publicly to the contrary, a whole new flurry of righteous indignation erupts.
Chang is correct in suggesting that expressions of disagreement and/or correction should be made privately. As the saying goes: “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.”
Adjunct professor, University of Tampa
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