Taiwan is on the front line of the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as the nCoV-2019 coronavirus epidemic, given the multiple ways it is connected to China. However, this challenge is duplicated as Beijing prevents the island nation from participating in international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which plays a fundamental role in prevention and public health crises worldwide.
Relations on both sides of the strait present in all aspects of life in Taiwan
Although Taiwan and the People's Republic of China are separated by the 180-km-wide Taiwan Strait, and so far only eight cases of nCoV-2019 coronavirus infection have been confirmed, both countries have close economic, labor, academic and tourist that explain why so many people travel daily across the Strait of Taiwan.
It is estimated that between one and two million Taiwanese citizens live in mainland China, where they work, study or accompany their families. Taiwanese employees work primarily in Taiwanese companies and factories that have invested in China or in Chinese and foreign companies. An estimated 12,000 Taiwanese youths also choose China as their third most popular destination to study, after the United States and Australia, and benefit from special advantages to study in China. In 2019, the People's Republic of China was Taiwan's main trading partner, with almost 30% of Taiwanese exports.
Taiwan is home to about 10,000 students from mainland China on its ground. On January 29, the authorities of the Ministry of Education of Taiwan announced a temporary ban on exchanges of students and interns from the People's Republic of China.
In addition, many families that split after the Kuomintang took refuge on the island in 1949, after a long civil war in mainland China, can now visit each other. In 2019, nearly 100,000 citizens of the People's Republic of China visited Taiwan.
Taiwan clearly stands as one of the most vulnerable places for the spread of the virus after China, as expect many of Taiwanese visiting or living in China to return to Taiwan if the epidemic continues to spread. According to data published in China:
Among the 5 million people who fled the novel coronavirus-affected Chinese city of Wuhan during the Lunar New Year holiday, 7,515 headed to Taiwan.
Among the five million people who fled Wuhan, affected by the new coronavirus, during the lunar New Year celebrations, 7515 headed to Taiwan.
Wuhan is a large industrial center that houses the 500 most important companies where many Taiwanese work. In this context, it is not surprising that the first seven cases of the nCoV 2019 coronavirus have been confirmed in Wuhan people or have recently traveled to Wuhan.
Beijing continues to block Taiwan's participation in WHO
What is perhaps more surprising is that despite this strong integration of human and economic exchanges, the World Health Organization (WHO) refuses, under pressure from Beijing, to integrate Taiwan into its global fight against the epidemic.
In 1971, Beijing assumed the place of Taipei at the United Nations when the international community gradually changed the diplomatic loyalty of the Republic of China, official name of Taiwan, to the People's Republic of China. Taiwan officials were removed from the United Nations meetings, including WHO, although they were often tolerated until 2013, when Beijing, under Xi Jinping, decided to apply a policy of total isolation.
As a result, Taiwan was excluded from a key emergency meeting on January 22 at WHO at which measures to combat the nCoV 2019 coronavirus were discussed.
Since then, the dispute has been extended to another United Nations body, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which until 2013 tolerated the presence of Taiwanese officials, but then blocked all participation, even in the most recent meetings dedicated to the virus. nCoV-2019. Sanitary control at airports and airplanes is now essential to contain the epidemic, as the Chinese New Year recess is ending and many travelers are expected to move worldwide.
The rejection has been the object of criticism in all political parties in Taiwan and is repeated by Internet users who publish under the label Taiwan trend: #TaiwanCanHelp (Taiwan can help):
Denying Taiwan's contribution to the international community.
– Justin (@ Justin45263012) January 29, 2020
Why are they so quiet?
Block the whole conversation about Taiwan?
Or Nations Nations is an organization of the Government of China?
Taiwan's contribution to the international community is denied.
I am ashamed to have such an organization internationally. Taiwan can help. United Nations, ICAO, WHO.
Traditional Taiwan allies, especially Japan and the United States, have expressed their support for Taiwan's attempt to reintegrate into these key international organizations. On January 30, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated his support for Taipei, as one cybernaut points out:
Did you know Taiwan has been left out of the @QUIEN because of pressure from China? Ace #WuhanCoronavirus cases keep rocketing – including Taiwan – Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has now said Taiwan needs to be part of the global health body to fight this #MadeinChina virus. https://t.co/Zg4QZdsJCI
– Ramy Innocent 英 若 明 (@RamyInocencio) January 30, 2020
Last news – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier today that it is necessary to let Taiwan join WHO, otherwise it will be very difficult to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Did you know that Taiwan has been left out of WHO under pressure from China? While Wuhan's coronavirus cases continue to increase – even in Taiwan – Japan's Prime Minister Abe has now said that Taiwan must integrate the global health entity to fight against this virus made in China.
In January, US state officials made similar calls, and more recently Canada. For its part, Beijing has refused to give permission to the Taiwan authorities to evacuate Taiwanese citizens currently living in Wuhan.
Taiwan prepares for a major epidemic
For its part, Taiwan has taken several measures to protect its population, including an export ban on surgical masks that are now unavailable in most pharmacies – the supply system has been interrupted during the Chinese New Year break. . The Government justifies this measure and points out that the majority of masks sold in Taiwan are imported from China:
Some have called Taiwan's decision to stop mask exports inhumane. However, Taiwan has traditionally relied on imported masks from China. #WuhanCoronavirus is likely to reduce China's capacity to export masks. The export ban aims to ensure we have steady supply of masks in Taiwan. https://t.co/FilUqUNhjg pic.twitter.com/inBHRc6qr6
– 王定宇 Wang Ting-yu MP ?? (@MPWangTingyu) January 29, 2020
Please complete your answer (10 points):
What kind of behavior is this?
Some have described Taiwan's decision to stop the export of masks as inhuman. However, Taiwan has traditionally depended on masks imported from China. Wuhan coronavirus is likely to reduce China's ability to export. The export ban is intended to ensure that we have a constant supply of masks in Taiwan.
While the authorities take the threat seriously, even with fines to a Taiwanese citizen with $ 10,000 for not declaring their illness upon returning from Wuhan, they have not imposed the use of masks in public spaces. However, a cursory look in the streets indicates that almost half of the people are already wearing them. This food store in Tainan has a sign in Chinese, English and Japanese where the original Chinese says: “To avoid Wuhan's new coronavirus, please wear a mask when necessary”:
Several public activities scheduled in February have been canceled, such as the Taiwan International Book Fair (TIBE), in which Chinese, Taiwanese and other writers stand out, with the possible attendance of half a million visitors, which would begin on February 4.
A Google search on the trend news in Chinese in Taiwan showed the main news related to the n-CoV-2019.
Review the Global Voices special coverage on the Wuhan coronavirus impact.