China’s Foreign Ministry and its state-run propaganda newspaper Global Times disparaged the government of Taiwan on Friday for urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to allow the country to participate in global coronavirus response.
The Global Times called Taipei “despicable” for condemning the WHO’s false reports on the status of the coronavirus outbreak in the island nation and demanding it refer properly to the country as Taiwan, not “Taiwan, China,” or “Taipei and environs,” which the WHO used in its status reports this week on the outbreak.
Taiwan is a sovereign state and has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China. Beijing claims it as a rogue province despite having no power over the political infrastructure there and uses its bullying power to keep Taiwan out of the WHO and all United Nations bodies. As a result, despite its proximity to China and documented coronavirus cases, the WHO is not sharing any data on the virus, helpful information and new developments, or humanitarian aid with Taiwan. The United Nations insists that it is communicating with China, which has no information about Taiwan, on the situation in the country and sending aid to China to be distributed to Taiwan.
The Global Times referred to the pro-democracy ruling party of Taiwan, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), as “despicable” on Friday for a series of messages posted to Twitter by Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu condemning the WHO, asking “what is wrong with you?”
“It is a matter of principle,” the newspaper said of denying the existence of a sovereign Taiwan. “That being said, the DPP can hardly make any breakthrough via despicable means.”
According to the report, “[T]he DPP authorities did not feel ashamed. Instead, they turned outraged and pointed an accusing finger at the WHO. This is really bizarre!”
“While the Chinese people are going all out to fight the epidemic, the DPP authority and Taiwan independence forces are taking it as an opportunity to push the island’s participation in WHO and expand its so-called diplomatic space. These are all efforts to push for Taiwan independence,” the Global Times noted, without highlighting that Taiwan is already independent and so fighting for recognition of that independence, not independence itself.
“Both sides across the Taiwan Straits are at a peak period of the epidemic. But the DPP authority has put aside the extremely urgent epidemic situation and started playing political tricks,” the newspaper accused. “It is thus clear that the well-being of Taiwan people means nothing to them.”
The Times insisted that the WHO gave Taiwan “a real slap on the face” by telling the propaganda outlet that it “maintained communications with the Taiwan authority through channels stipulated by the International Health Regulations” – meaning it only maintained contact with approved Chinese officials.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying similarly insisted that Beijing is handling all Taiwan coronavirus cases on a timely basis, but refrained from the excessive insults of the state newspaper. Hua did urge “certain individuals in the Taiwan region and the U.S.,” where some politicians have demanded the WHO stop excluding Taiwan from public health operations, “will stop all political hype-up and manipulation using the epidemic as an excuse.”
Hua repeatedly referred to the country as the “Taiwan region” and insisted that Beijing “has kept the region informed with timely updates with a view to strengthening cross-strait response to the epidemic.”
“With regard to Taiwan compatriots in the mainland confirmed to be infected with the virus, we’ve been feeding instant information to the Taiwan region, sharing latest developments and tracing close contacts,” Hua asserted.
“I would like to reiterate that the WHO is a special UN agency consisting of sovereign states. The Taiwan region’s participation in the activities of international organizations such as the WHO must be arranged through cross-strait consultations under the one-China principle,” Hua added.
The “one-China principle” is China’s assertion that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of that China. Taipei and Beijing have agreed to something called the “one-China policy” which states only that there is one China in the world; Taipei claims that the Republic of China is the legitimate one and Beijing is a communist aberration, which Beijing claims the People’s Republic of China is legitimate and Taipei’s government is not.
Hua did not note that the information China has allegedly been “instantly feeding” to the WHO is wrong.
The WHO’s Wednesday “situation report” falsely claimed that Taiwan had documented 13 coronavirus cases at a time when Taipei had only confirmed 10, prompting some foreign governments to limit flights to Taiwan based on false information. Taipei dismissed the report as “fake news” and also condemned the WHO for referring incorrectly to Taiwan as “Taiwan, China.”
Foreign Minister Wu issued outrage remarks on Twitter about the mistakes and false information.
.@WHO, what’s wrong with you? First you called us “Taiwan, China,” then you changed to “Taipei.” You misreported the confirmed cases, & now you call us “Taipei & Environs.” Look! Taiwan is #Taiwan & not any part of the #PRC. JW
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) February 6, 2020
“We expressed our solemn protest to the WHO after Taiwan’s objection with regards to the matter through its representative office in Geneva and several other channels was ignored,” Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said. “I’d like to ask the WHO, how many times are you going to change Taiwan’s name? These are not our correct names. Let me reiterate — our name is Taiwan, whose formal name is the Republic of China.”