IMIA medical body expels China and picks Taiwanese as its president

Dr. Jack Li will have office at WHO

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IMIA President Jack Li (photo courtesy of Dr. Jack Li)

IMIA President Jack Li (photo courtesy of Dr. Jack Li) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) has decided to expel China and select Dr. Jack Li (李友專) from Taiwan as the body’s president for the next two years, the Central News Agency reported Friday (September 13).

Li is an authority on artificial intelligence and heads the College of Medical Science and Technology at Taipei Medical University.

At its conference in the French city of Lyon last month, the IMIA reportedly agreed to a motion by then-president Christoph Lehmann of the United States to oust China and choose Li as his successor, CNA reported.

After years of attempts by Taiwan to apply for membership, in 2007, the IMIA changed the designation for its members from ‘member countries’ to ‘member entities’ specifically to allow the island to join, Li said.

Because China changed the venue for the 2017 IMIA conference four times and failed to pay the necessary dues over the next two years, the organization became less willing to hear the communist country’s opinions and at the Lyon conference decided to expel China and nominate Li for the presidency, a move which had been blocked by Beijing for years.

As the IMIA was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Li said he would have an office at the WHO and be able to speak out in favor of Taiwan, which has in recent years been excluded from the annual World Health Assembly in Geneva due to Chinese interference.