This newsletter is about the current effort by the people and the government of Taiwan to participate in the upcoming session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) due to take place in Geneva, Switzerland from 21 to 26 May. Since 2009, Taiwan has been invited by the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate as an observer. In 2017, for the first time, Taiwan was not invited to attend the WHA. Till now, Taiwan hasn’t received yet an invitation to attend the 2018 session.
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan urges all its partners to contact their governments to enable Taiwan to participate in the 2018 session of the WHA.
This newsletter seeks to provide some background information about the relationship between Taiwan and the WHO.
Since the election of President Tsai Ing-Wen in Taiwan, with a population of over 23 million and as the 21st economic power in the world, Taiwan has not been admitted to membership in the Interpol nor the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Many Taiwanese are perplexed by Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHA because the WHO mission statement advocates “Health for All” and the inalienable “Right to Health”.
Taiwan’s healthcare system has been widely recognized for the quality and the access levels of its health system. In the 2018 session WHA will embark on a crucial ‘Comprehensive global strategy on health, environment and climate change.’ Taiwan has serious challenges to deal with air pollution because the problems are shared by neighboring countries. Taiwan’s participation would strengthen its capacity to deal with such transnational health issue in cooperation with other countries in East Asia.
China has exerted its influence in all international organizations, including the WHO, insisting that Taiwan’s participation should be in accordance with the “One China” principle. It considers Taiwan to be an “inalienable” part of China. The People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan, but views the “Taiwan Question” as an unresolved Civil War with the Chinese Nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Participating in the 2016 WHA, the Taiwan government announced that it did not accept the conditions proposed by the WHO secretariat, namely that it should be identified as “Chinese Taipei.” Speaking about the right to participate in the WHA, President Tsai believes that Taiwan should be allowed to participate in its own right, for according to the WHO charter, the right to health is a fundamental and universal right, and that is why Taiwan would contribute to the WHO. She believes that the right of Taiwanese to fully participate in the international community should not be restricted by any political framework.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mainstream international media have published 134 articles about Taiwan’s bid to participate in the 2018 WHA, Among the most prominent are the Yomiuri Shimbun Japan and the Medical Journal of Australia.
At the beginning of April, Taiwan’s government launched an English-language Web site titled “Leave No One Behind” that highlights the nation’s dedication to global health. It also produced a three-minute documentary titled “A Perfect Pair” which shows Taiwanese efforts to treat a Vietnamese girl with lymphedema. This video had been viewed more than 4.71 million times and shared by several foreign government agencies, including the US Department of State, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association and the German Institute Taipei. In a bid to expand the reach of its messaging, the Taiwan government has printed WHA-themed stickers and bookmarks, and designed a special frame for Facebook profile pictures with the phrase: “Health for all, Taiwan can help.”
台灣基督長老教會（PCT）呼籲各國夥伴教會能敦促其政府使台灣能受邀參與 2018 年的世界衛生大會本通訊內容也將提供相關背景資料，使讀者能對台灣及世界衛生組織間的關係更為明瞭。
自蔡英文當選台灣總統後，即使台灣人口超過 2300 萬，也是世界第21大經濟體，台灣仍未獲准加入國際刑警組織（INTERPOL）或國際民用航空組織（the International Civil Aviation Organization）。
根據外交部統計，國際主流媒體發表了134篇有關台灣請求參與2018年世界衛生大會的文章。其中最為突出的當屬日本讀賣新聞（Yomiuri Shimbun）和澳洲醫學期刊（the Medical Journal of Australia）。
At the beginning of April, Taiwan’s government launched an English-language 4月初，台灣政府推出「Leave No One Behind（全民健康覆蓋）」英文網站，以突顯台灣對全球健康的貢獻。除此之外，台灣政府也製作了一部三分鐘的短片「A Perfect Pair（阿巒的作文課）」，表明台灣努力治療一名患有淋巴水腫的越南女孩。該視頻瀏覽超過471萬次，並被許多國外政府機構分享，包括美國國務院、日本台灣交流協會及德國在台協會。
為擴大訊息傳播範圍，台灣政府印製了以世界衛生大會為主題的貼紙和書籤，並為Facebook大頭貼照設計了一款特效框：「Health for all, Taiwan can help（人人皆健康，台灣幫得上）」。