Does mainland obstruct Taiwan from joining WHO? | Updated: 2020-04-30 08:35

The following is one of the 16 most common rumors about the COVID-19 epidemic related to China, compiled and published by the Chinese embassy in Germany. The original version was published in Chinese and German. China Daily did some minor editing and updated a few figures in translation.

Photo taken on Jan 30, 2020 shows the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. [Photo/Xinhua]

Rumor: The Chinese mainland obstructs Taiwan from entering the WHO, which has undermined the health of the people in Taiwan.

Fact: Taiwan, being a part of China, does not have the right to join the WHO, because the WHO member must be a sovereign nation. Despite of this, technical communication and cooperation channel between the island and the WHO is always open.

The WHO is a specialized United Nations body composed of sovereign countries. Only UN members can join the WHO. Taiwan, being a part of China, is not eligible for membership. However, through consultations with the WHO, the central government of China has made proper arrangements for the application of the International Health Regulations in Taiwan. The island has the access to the WHO information system to timely get the information on public health emergencies released by the WHO. There are no technical barriers for Taiwan of China to work with the WHO. From early 2019 to March 2020, 24 experts from Taiwan, in 16 batches, have attended technical conferences held by the WHO, according to the Taiwan Affairs Office of China's State Council.

Nobody cares about the health of Taiwan compatriots more than the central government. Since the outbreak began, China's National Health Commission timely and actively notified the Taiwan region about the epidemic situation. By April 13, the Chinese mainland has informed relevant authorities in Taiwan 127 times. In mid-January, the mainland has arranged a field study in Wuhan for experts from Taiwan to let them learn about the situation.

As of April 23, Taiwan had reported 426 confirmed cases and six deaths of COVID-19, both relatively small numbers. It shows that whether Taiwan joins the WHO is irrelevant to safeguarding the health of the people on the island.

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