Will ICAO Twitter block hasten Taiwan’s admittance to international bodies?

The CCP’s intransigence over Taiwan’s role in coronavirus response shows how ridiculous its stance is

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(Wikimedia Commons photo)

KAOHSIUNG CITY (Taiwan News) – Little over a week ago and few people would have thought that Guang Qining could reshape Taiwan’s standing on the global stage.

But today, with the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the globe and China’s intransigence over Taiwan’s role in dealing with the crisis angering leaders across the globe, her petty online actions could just be what tips the situation over the edge.

If you haven’t heard of Guang Qining before, frankly, there is no reason why you should. She is a lowly communications officers for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and unless you get invited to their parties and need to RSVP, the chances of you coming across her are slim.

If you are reading this in Taiwan, the chances of you being invited to an ICAO party are also slim, since they still refuse to recognize Taiwan at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

This is where Guang comes in. She hails from China and is a former employee of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (who for some reason has just deleted her LinkedIn account). She is also in charge of the ICAO Twitter account and it is she who is believed to have been responsible for blocking countless accounts that have recently questioned the ICAO’s position on Taiwan.

Blocked accounts have included U.S. political staffers, journalists, and think-tank workers. Their crime is suggesting that in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the ICAO should include Taiwan in their discussions over handling the situation.

Most did not call for full membership for Taiwan. They were just suggesting that as a country on the frontline and with cases of its own already identified, it made sense for Taiwan to be included in discussion and planning.

To respond by blocking accounts and then making accusations of trolling and cyber-bullying as an excuse was childish, petty, and exactly what you would expect from someone schooled in the Chinese Communist philosophy of, "If you disagree with me, you are offending us all."

But that is Guang’s background and the background of ICAO Secretary General Fang Liu. When the head of such an organization has such deep roots in the Chinese Communist Party, why should we expect her to do anything else but pander to Communist Party doctrine? And why should we expect any more of her staff?

We have seen a similar situation (without the petty Twitter blocking) with the World Health Organization (WHO). Its response to the coronavirus outbreak has been barely less scandalous than that of the CCP itself.

At the behest of Xi Jinping (習近平), they refused to call the outbreak a global health emergency until yesterday, despite cases around the globe and well over 100 officially confirmed deaths. Even when they did eventually make the announcement, Tedros Adhanom, the director-general, was at pains to stress that China’s response had been faultless and the announcement was only because other countries couldn’t handle the outbreak as well.

Despite WHO’s sole job being to coordinate an international response to public health crises like this, they have still flatly refused to involve Taiwan in discussions or share any information with the nation's health officials. If there was any doubt about the level of influence Communist China has over Adhanom and his organization, his deeply irresponsible requests that country’s do not block people traveling to and from China because it will affect the Chinese economy shows which country is pulling the strings.

To the enormous credit of the international community, they have rejected the demands of both Adhanom, WHO, and Communist China. Many countries have now suspended flights, closed their borders to Chinese citizens and tourists, and issued travel warnings to their own people.

Even more encouraging are the countries now openly calling for Taiwan to be admitted to WHO and other international bodies to help fight this epidemic. Japan, Canada and the European Union are among those to add their voices to the call.

To date, WHO has been as responsive as the CCP has to Taiwan's requests to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan and other affected regions.

As the coronavirus crisis continues to escalate, these calls will intensify. Eventually, if the likes of WHO and ICAO want to retain any vestiges of credibility, they will have to relent and allow a truly unified international effort to stem the spread of coronavirus, including Taiwan.

The epidemic will be the main factor in this but so too will the actions of Guang Qining. Her pettiness has illustrated all too vividly the ridiculousness of the stance of international organizations like hers, that flatly refuse to let the government of a country of 24 million people be represented at the insistence of just one country.

It has also drawn the attention of the world to the childishness of the stance and the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party is willing to risk lives around the globe, simply to asset their false claims to sovereignty over Taiwan.

This is Communist China’s "jumping the shark" moment. It is long overdue. And it is Guang Qining who is playing the Fonz.