Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Euro Parliament Taiwan Friendship Group Head slams WHO

Big round of applause today for the EU and Charles Tannock:
Dr Tannock, who is the chairman of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group, told Dr Chan in the letter that as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China she was calling into question her own integrity by instructing staff to take such an overtly political position in referring to Taiwan.


The letter read:

“No United Nations specialised agency has the right unilaterally to decide on the status in international law of any given country or territory.

“As you well know, UN agencies and their staff are required to remain impartial and not to take instructions from or show favour to any national government.

“We wish to remind you that neither UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 nor World Health Assembly Resolution 25.1 make any reference to Taiwan's status in international law or its status vis-à-vis the People's Republic of China.

“The WHO's explicit reference to Taiwan as a province of China has no basis in international law.

“It is therefore hard to avoid the conclusion that the People's Republic of China has deliberately sought to compromise the independence and impartiality of the WHO for its own political purposes.

“As Director-General of WHO, you are responsible for the internal policy of referring to Taiwan as a province of China.

“You are also a citizen of, and were nominated for your post by, the People's Republic of China.

“WHO's continued insistence on referring to Taiwan as a province of China therefore not only undermines the organisation's credibility but risks calling into question your personal impartiality and integrity.

“We believe the WHO's position on Taiwan is politically and morally flawed.

“We urge you to change WHO's internal procedures to refer to Taiwan as 'Chinese Taipei', the accepted nomenclature that Taiwan uses in other international organisations and structures.

“Finally, we believe that Taiwan, with its excellent healthcare sector and world-class doctors, has much to contribute to the WHO.

“Mindful of the Council of the European Union's declaration of support in September 2008 for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organisations, we urge you to ensure that Taiwan is enabled to play such a role within the WHO.

“Healthcare is a basic human right and should never be exploited as a political pawn.”
Slam! Slam! SLAM! Nice. Tannock connects the attack on Taiwan's status to the fact that the WHO director is from China. Of course! Also hacks on Chan's integrity. Orz Orz Orz.

Jim Webb, the Dem Senator from Virginia, also took time this week to slam Beijing for the growing tensions in the South China Sea, saying:
“I think we in our government have taken too weak of a position on this,” Webb, a member of US President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party from Virginia, said at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“When we say the United States government doesn’t have a position on sovereignty issues, not taking a position is taking a position,” Webb said.

The bill introduced by Webb and Senator James Inhofe, the subcommittee’s top Republican, “condemns the use of force” by China and affirms that the US military will “assert and defend freedom of navigation rights” in the South China Sea.
It would probably be much easier for the Obama Administration to take a stronger and more supportive position if the 2009 Nobel Peace prize winner were not engaged in at least four wars at the same time (Greenwald rips yet another illegal and unconstitutional war). Sooner or later I expect calls from smarter analysts to terminate our stupidity in the Middle East and focus on Asia, where the future is.

China meanwhile whined that "outsiders" should stay out of the South China Sea disputes. This is the same pattern we see with Taiwan -- China attempting to prevent internationalization and multilateralization of the issue. If the Spratlys were inhabited by 23 million people, Beijing would attempt to curb their international space and play games with their visas -- exactly the tactic it is taking in Arunachal Pradesh....
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朱立安 said...

I enjoyed the slamming until the term 'Chinese Taipei' fell…as if this terrible term was much better. 'Taiwan Area' or anything that would keep the 'Taiwan' brand intact would be so much better.

Dixteel said...

This is very good. Finally someone has the balls to call out on Chan and her master, China. The major issue here is indeed not the name, but the change of status to "province of China."

Unfortunately Chinese Taipei is a very poor name and is indeed the term KMT government agreed to use in international organization 30 something years ago. This shows that Taiwan needs to be vigilant. Once you agree to some name, it is difficult to change. However, this is another issue (the branding issue) that Taiwan has to fix or find a way around gradually.

ALX said...

With Ma as president we've slid from fighting to use "Taiwan/ROC" instead of "Chinese Taipei" to trying to keep "Chinese Taipei" from turning into " Taiwan, Province of China." But this letter is definitely a step in the right direction. They chose to use "Chinese Taipei" because of its ambiguity, no in spite of.

James said...

As grating as the Chinese Taipei designation is, there's nothing doing.

All the major international bodies use this. A piece I wrote for a tennis mag a while back was rendered ridiculous through the use of this term.(They changed quotes from officials and even bizarrely changed 'Taipei').

They are even obliged to use it at ATP/ITF/IOC/FIFA sporting events in Taiwan if they want to participate, though I suspect they could fight their corner a bit better here.

At any rate, it's a trifle better than the extremely silly 'Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu' which is the official WTO appellation.

Unfortunately, 沒辦法 and, while Ma might not be fighting the cause as well as he could (ALX is right that we seem to have taken a step back), he did support and encourage Tannock's missive, though that may have been damage limitation after the exposure of the memo.