On Wednesday (8 April), a Taiwanese student posted a video on Youtube, asking for an apology from World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over the accusations against Taiwan of ‘racist campaign’ made during a WHO press conference on Wednesday.
The video titled, “An Open Letter to Dr Tedros” uploaded by Vivi Lin has since gained over 1.2 million views, 80,000 thumbs up and 5,000 comments on Youtube.
In the video, Ms Lin, who is a Taiwanese undergraduate student studying Infectious Diseases in the United Kingdom said that she was “utterly shocked” and “saddened” over the misleading allegations from Dr Tedros, who is “a supposedly respected health professional and the head of the world’s most influential international health organisation.”
From her experience of working with Taiwanese and British Medical and Health-related NGOs, she asserted that the Taiwan government and its diplomats have never expressed any disrespectful comments towards Dr Tedros and the African continent due to race, culture or skin colour.
While noting that various petitions online are urging Dr Tedros to resign from the WHO, she remarked, “None of the requests or criticisms were based on discriminations against your race or skin colour, nor people from the African continent.”
She said Taiwan though has been excluded from WHO, her nation has been striving to support the international community and is involved in the global to fight against this pandemic.
“Our government has done an exemplary job in containing the virus, a feat that has been praised by officials and health professionals from all around the world. And now, as we have some spare capacity, we are sending aid to our allies and other countries, including those in America, Europe and in Africa who have been harshly impacted by the outbreak,” she said.
She added that Taiwan also built a temporary hospital in Eswatini, a country in Southern Africa while some important medical supplies from Taiwan are on the way to Africa.
“With all the aforementioned in mind, how can you, in a few sentences, attempt to smear Taiwan’s reputation with such irresponsible and false accusations?” she contented.
Ms Lin said it is ironic that Dr Tedros accused Taiwan with misinformation just two days after the WHO hosted webinars to tackle with COVID-19 info-demic.
She said, “I firmly believe that health is a fundamental human right that should not be denied despite differences of any kind. Health for all, leave no one behind is also the core value that the WHO stands for.”
Calling out to Dr Tedros, Ms Lin said, “Please do not forget your dedication as a public health professional and the vows that you made when you ascended to the honorable position you are sitting at right now – health of people in the world comes first, not politics.”
“Taiwan is a country that stands for progressive values, and we, as the Taiwanese people, are also known for our appreciation for diversity. We have never criticised you nor your actions based on your race, culture or skin colour,” she reiterated.
Hence, she said, “I, on behalf of my beloved country and people, am now asking for an apology from you under the current circumstance.”
Dr Tedros claimed Taiwan is running a racist campaign against him; Taiwan government protested and demanded an apology
During the WHO’s press conference on the updates of COVID-19, Dr Tedros said that Taiwan was behind a months-long racist campaign against him amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “When as a community people start to insult us, that’s enough,” reported Bloomberg.
“We cannot tolerate that. But since I don’t have any inferiority complex when I am personally affected or attacked by racial slurs, I don’t care because I am a very proud black person.”
Dr Tedros claimed that the attack comes from Taiwan while adding that Taiwan’s foreign ministry did not “disassociate” itself from the matter although they knew about the campaign.
Following this, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry demanded Dr Tedros to issue a correction and apologise to the Taiwanese public for his “unprovoked and untrue accusations.”
It said, “Without having checked the facts, Tedros’s unprovoked and untrue accusations not only differ from reality, they have also seriously harmed our government and our people,” adding, “This kind of slander is extremely irresponsible.”
As reported in Taipei Times, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen also “strongly protested” the accusations by Dr Tedros and invited him to Taiwan to see their commitments of contributing to the world, “even in the face of discrimination and isolation”.