Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The 'Chinese Taipei' WHA Controversy: Time to Think Strategically

President Tsai has been heavily criticized by the green camp for ‘failing’ to uphold the nation’s ‘dignity’ at this year’s WHA meeting in Switzerland. In reality, Taiwan’s participation was a small victory. 

The political storm that continues to rage over Minister of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien’s (林奏延) “Chinese Taipei” remarks during his address at the World Health Assembly in Geneva last week highlights a longstanding difficulty among many members of the green camp to differentiate between tactical and strategic approaches to defending Taiwan’s sovereignty. 

Anger over Lin’s use of a formulation that is self-abasing is certainly justified. After all, the notion that “Chinese Taipei” could have 23 million citizens, or that it stands for an entire nation, is indeed preposterous. Moreover, the fact that he did not once mention the word “Taiwan” in his five-minute speech has drawn accusations that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was just a few days on the job, had failed to uphold Taiwan’s sovereignty and denigrated the nation by playing into Beijing’s hands. 

My article, published today in The News Lens International, continues here.

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