Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Politics supersede health!

San Antonio Express-News

Perhaps the World Health Organization, better known by the acronym WHO, should consider a new moniker. WHO-T would be more accurate. That's the World Health Organization, minus Taiwan.

WHO is the United Nations agency dedicated to health issues. Its objective is the attainment "by all peoples of the highest possible level of health."
Well, not exactly all peoples. The citizens of 193 member states are represented at WHO and its governing body, the World Health Assembly. Among them are the people of Niue, a South Pacific island with a population of 1,492.

Even the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization have observer status.
But the 23 million residents of Taiwan are denied representation. As part of its "One-China" policy to diplomatically isolate Taiwan, China has blocked Taiwanese membership in WHO since 1972.

Beijing was even successful in denying accreditation to Taiwanese journalists attempting to cover the annual assembly taking place this week in Geneva. So it came as no surprise that Taiwan's annual bid for observer status in the international organization turned out no differently in 2007 than in years past.

That's an indictment of the U.N. institution, which ought to be able to separate issues of health and politics. More significant, it's an indictment of China's leaders who, despite controlling an economic and military behemoth, are political pygmies who despair of their democratic relatives on Taiwan.

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