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Why Taiwan Should Be Included In WHO – OpEd


While WHO is the wing of the UN, there is subtle difference between the functioning style of WHO and expectations from it.

The UN is essentially a politically tinted organization with membership for some countries being denied in UN due to political reasons. For example, Taiwan is not a member of UN since China claims that Taiwan is part  of China and China would seriously object, if Taiwan would be given membership of the UN.

Obviously, membership of the UN is being denied to some countries in view of the objections from “powerful country”.

Several decades back, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. After the bitter war, Bangladesh declared itself to be an independent country and was admitted as member of UN. Pakistan could not prevent Bangladesh from becoming a full fledged member of UN since Pakistan is a “weak country”. Later on, Pakistan itself recognized Bangladesh as a matter of inevitability.

After a bitter internal war in China several decades back, the mainland China was occupied by rebels and Taiwan was split from mainland China. While present Chinese government claims that Taiwan should be part of China, the government of Taiwan claims that it has been evicted from  mainland China unjustifiably and mainland China should be part of it. Which is correct  in this scenario?

While Taiwan has been denied membership in the UN due to objection from mainland China, almost every country in the world has trade and business relations with Taiwan including the Chinese government. Many industries from Taiwan have invested in mainland China  and Chinese government has no objection to it.

This situation shows that Taiwan has been accepted as a full fledged country all over the world, though the UN denied membership to it.

The WHO was founded with the objective of protecting  the health of the world community, covering all citizens of the world. Therefore, WHO should represent the  interest of every member of the world community, whether the community belongs to a country admitted in the UN or not or even stateless persons.

For example, WHO is extremely concerned about the health issues of Rohingya refugees, though they are deemed to be stateless persons as of now, as they are refugees who have run out of Myanmar and staying in Bangladesh territory — without anyone knowing as to whether they would go back to Myanmar at any time or would permanently stay  in Bangladesh, even without being given citizenship  in Bangladesh, which mean that they should be deemed as stateless persons.

When WHO expresses concern about the health issues of Myanmar refugees, is it right for WHO to keep its eyes closed with regard to Taiwan?

As a world organization, it is the responsibility of WHO to monitor the health of world community, WHO cannot deny admission to any country in the world and it should not follow the practice of the UN, which is a politically-tinted organization.

WHO should not buckle under the pressure of Chinese government to keep Taiwan out of WHO.  If WHO were to continue this practice, it would mean that WHO would not represent the world community in toto.

At present, Taiwan is a well-advanced country with a strong technology background and it is very well evident from the fact that Taiwan pointed out the impending COVID-19 crisis quite early and brought it to the attention of WHO. If WHO had listened to Taiwan’s voice and heeded to its warning about the COVID-19, probably, the world could have been saved from the loss of thousands of lives and serious economic slow down that is confronting the world due to COVID-19 at present.

Whatever may be the political relationship between Chinese government and Taiwan, there is no need for WHO to take note of it or being concerned about it.

W.HO has the responsibility to protect the health interests of the entire world community and the citizens of Taiwan are part of the world community.

By excluding Taiwan from membership, WHO remains as an incomplete  and flawed organization.

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N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “Why Taiwan Should Be Included In WHO – OpEd

  • May 21, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Yes i fully agree. And India did not protest against China.


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