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China’s vaccine charm offensive against Taiwanese won’t prevail

Overseas Community Affairs Council minister says Beijing’s efforts to polish its image falling on deaf ears

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Used vials of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine for coronavirus.

Used vials of Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine for coronavirus. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s vaccine charm offensive against overseas Taiwanese is believed to have produced a limited effect in winning over hearts and minds, a Taiwanese official said.

Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), said in a legislative interpellation on Monday (Oct. 25) the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) drive to provide Taiwan nationals with COVID-19 jabs is not likely to sway them. “They may not have other options but to get shots offered by China,” he said, stressing his faith in the people’s support for Taiwan, reported RTI.

Beijing has mounted a campaign to inoculate overseas Chinese since March, which also targets people from Taiwan in a broader political propaganda drive. Titled “Spring Seedlings” (春苗行動), the initiative had seen over 1.7 million Chinese expatriates in more than 160 countries immunized against the virus with China-made vaccines, per a report carried by the CCP’s mouthpiece, People's Daily, in July.

Thousands of Taiwan citizens have received the shots, according to China's Taiwan Affairs Office Spokesperson Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮), at a news briefing in July.

This is part of Beijing’s efforts to polish up its image, tainted by allegations the coronavirus originated in China. The campaign also involves delivering COVID relief supplies to overseas Taiwan nationals, Tung added.

Taiwan has not validated China-developed COVID vaccines, including those made by Sinovac and Sinopharm.


Updated : 2022-05-16 13:41 GMT+08:00