Taiwan fights for inclusion at World Health Assembly – China politics and current affairs news from May 9, 2017


A summary of today’s top news in Chinese politics and current affairs. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "A bedtime story about massive infrastructure projects."

Taiwan's Ministry of Health and Welfare's, Office of International Cooperation director, Hsu Ming-hui (R), talks during a news conference on how Taiwan would react if it is not invited to the World Health Assembly (WHA), in Taipei, Taiwan May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

On May 9, Reuters reports that despite China’s objection, Taiwan will send a delegation to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva on May 22–31 without an invitation from the World Health Organization (WHO). Taiwan is not recognized as a member of the United Nations and has not taken part in any UN meetings since 1971, when the UN declared the People’s Republic of China as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.”

In the past few years, the island was, with Beijing’s acquiescence, granted observer status at some conferences. Last year, Beijing warned Taiwan that it can reserve its observer status only if it complies with the “one China” policy, which current Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 has not clearly supported. To exert pressure on Taiwan, Beijing has taken other measures over the past months, including sending an aircraft carrier for a sail around the island, cutting back on tourist numbers from the P.R.C., and extraditing Taiwanese criminal suspects from other countries to the mainland.  

In response, Taiwan’s top China policymaking officials said that Beijing’s approach to exclude it is “rigid and confrontational,” and may cause serious consequences. Meanwhile, to support its assertive stand on the issue, Taiwan is rallying other countries. The South China Morning Post reports that Japan has indicated some support.

  • 11 children, several South Korean, die in bus crash in China / Reuters
    “Eleven young children — five South Korean and six Chinese — were killed along with their driver when their bus crashed and burst into flames in a tunnel in China’s eastern Shandong Province on Tuesday, the local government said.”
    The China Daily puts the death toll at 12.
  •  Xinjiang shows Belt, Road needs specifics / Global Times
    “But now comes the critical part of actually transporting products, which is also the challenging phrase of the implementation. Recent data in Xinjiang suggest that trade has not improved significantly. In the first quarter of the year, trade in Xinjiang was $4.84 billion, according to the Urumqi Customs.”
  • Tightened belt: China skimps on its grand trade plan / WSJ (paywall)
    “Scrutinizing figures put out by the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China—the conduit for much of China’s massive lending to Africa and Latin America in recent decades—Mr. Dollar is unable to find evidence that they are now prioritizing Mr. Xi’s showcase endeavor…Meanwhile, Chinese companies are largely sticking to safer markets in the world’s rich nations.”