Hong Kong activists launch petition supporting Taiwan's World Health Assembly bid

Joshua Wong, Sunny Cheung call for World Health Organization to admit Taiwan to global health conference

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Hong Kong activists Agnes Chow (left), Joshua Wong (right). 

Hong Kong activists Agnes Chow (left), Joshua Wong (right).  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to a claim by World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that he had "no mandate" to invite Taiwan to Monday's (May 18) World Health Assembly (WHA), Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) and Sunny Cheung (張崑陽) on Thursday (May 14) started a petition to push for Taiwan's status review.

In the petition, titled "Hongkongers Petition for Taiwan's Bid to Join the WHA 2020" and launched on change.org, the authors pointed out that Taiwan has been barred from the annual assembly and important global health conversations due to political pressure from China. They argued that Taiwan should be invited to the WHA as an observer since it has demonstrated its capability to contribute to the world as a trustworthy partner.

While criticizing China's continued military intimidation of the island nation, the duo noted that Taiwan was only invited to 57 of the 180 WHA meetings it applied to attend in the last decade. They added that the island country lost its status as an observer after Chinese pressure directed toward President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

As Taiwan continues to draw international support for its quest to participate, Wong and Cheung urged people worldwide to sign the petition and let their voices be heard by the 194 member states of the WHO. They also promised to stand in resolution with Taiwan against the "oppressive Chinese authoritarian regime."

As of Friday evening (May 15), the action had garnered more than 14,668 signatures.

During a press conference at the Legislative Yuan Friday, Taiwanese health minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said the government has yet to receive an invitation from the WHA. However, he exclaimed that with persistence, the Taiwanese people would be able to "stride over" any wall, no matter how high, reported UDN.