Bruce Alyward, senior advisor to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), was busted by a RTHK interviewer who asked about reconsidering Taiwan’s membership to their organization.
Taiwan is an intriguing case when it comes to coronavirus treatment. Despite being geographically close to China, the sovereign island has been relatively unscathed by the deadly outbreak. Their methods of containment have been largely successful. With border control and enhanced screenings of travellers, the number of coronavirus cases in that nation have been kept to under 100.
In the clip below, Alyward pretends to not hear the question by Yvonne Tong from RTHK when asked if WHO would reconsider Taiwan’s membership. The interviewer persists and Alyward shuts down the interview.
Alyward previously made headlines in February for discouraging the notion of a travel ban to prevent coronavirus spread.
After China kicked out western reporters from the Washington Post, The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, Taiwan invited them in. The long, fraught struggle between China and Taiwan has spilled across international borders primarily in terms of which countries are willing to acknowledge Taiwan as an independent state and which are keen to keep China happy by curtailing rhetoric around Taiwanese statehood.
The Trump administration has recently signed into law The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which encourages other countries to establish independent diplomacy with Taiwan, and strengthens US-Taiwan relations. This does not bode well, however, for the US relationship with Beijing.
The WHO has been the subject of many negative highlights recently, causing speculation that the organization has a political affiliation with China. "It (WHO) has been very, very much sided with China. A lot of people are not happy about it. I think there is certainly a lot of talk that it's been very unfair. I think that a lot of people feel that it's been very unfair," President Trump said at a recent press conference.
While the WHO has been monitoring China’s progress in combating the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, they, and the rest of the world, have been largely reliant on China being a good actor with regard to revealing their infection rates, and the medical supply chain. Evidence is mounting that China has not lived up to their end of the bargain.
The WHO has consistently provided dubious guidance on coronavirus. Taiwan had warned the organization about humans transmitting the deadly COVID-19 pathogen as early as December. In mid-January, the WHO tweeted out: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus”
Censorship and maintaining the Chinese Communist Party’s appearance, such as it is, seem to be more important to Chinese authorities than sharing information on the contagion with either the WHO, or the world.
The refusal of the WHO to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty is seen as further proof of the organization’s capitulation to China’s political will.
Earlier this week, the CBC ran a world map of the coronavirus outbreak that referred to Taiwan as a province in China. After The Post Millennial ran an article pointing this out, the CBC changed their map to accurately read, simply, Taiwan.