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The best message the State Department could send Beijing and the WHO

Time to officially recognize Taiwan

March 30, 2020

5:25 PM

30 March 2020

5:25 PM

A troubling pattern has emerged at the World Health Organization. In the wake of this global pandemic, it appears China has been misdirecting and misleading the rest of us about confirmed cases in their own country, with the help of their close financial partner, the WHO.

As the WHO and parts of the American media laud China’s response to the pandemic, with NBC News even hailing them as a global leader as the US falls behind, several countries reported massive problems with faulty equipment and supplies.

Shortly after China expelled American journalists from its borders, they stopped reporting new cases of COVID-19 altogether, despite Wuhan once again closing down its movie theaters. Without a secure or accurate count of confirmed cases, China has slowly started operating their public transit systems and reopened their wet markets, where the virus is thought to have originated.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is not just standing by and letting this happen; they’re even running interference for China. During an interview this weekend with Hong Kong’s RTHK News, Dr Bruce Aylward blanked questions about Taiwan’s membership of the World Health Organization. Taiwan is excluded from the WHO after heavy lobbying from China, who backed current WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom.

At first Aylward awkwardly pretended not to hear interviewer Yvonne Tong’s question and suggested she move on.  When Tong offered to repeat it, Aylward once more requested she move on. Tong refused and asked her question again — and Aylward hung up the Skype call. Once the call was reconnected, Tong pressed on.’I just want to see if you can comment a bit on how Taiwan has done so far in terms of containing the virus.’ Aylward replied that they had ‘already talked about China, and you know, when you look across all the different areas of China, they’ve all actually done a good job.’ He then abruptly ended the call.

Shortly after the video call went viral on Twitter, Aylward’s name was scrubbed from the WHO website. Taiwan’s foreign minister said that the WHO should ‘set politics aside in dealing with a pandemic’.

But the WHO has been nothing but political throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. It has deferred to China almost every step of the way, presumably because China wields considerable power and influence over it.

The Trump administration should put both China and WHO on notice, and with them the parts of American media who refuse to acknowledge China are not being forthcoming with their data of confirmed cases. The real numbers would offer us more accuracy in tracking the virus’s trajectory.

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A great way for the Trump administration to do this would be to finally recognize Taiwan’s independence from China. If the WHO is going to attempt to spurn Taiwan, a country dealing with the fallout of Beijing’s cover-up, the official diplomatic backing of the United States would indicate there will be consequences for China inflicting this on the world.

A declaration from the State Department would also signal to the American media that they should not ignore the faulty data and equipment coming out of China. Sections of media that have thus far tacitly covered for China would be forced to choose between the free people of Taiwan or their bottom lines.

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