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Taiwan authorities attend US-led COVID meeting amid new surge, ‘an ironic farce’

《环球时报》 2022-05-12

While experiencing a COVID-19 surge of more than 50,000 infections daily, the Taiwan island is expected to display its counter-COVID "achievements and contributions" at a US-led online "Global COVID-19 Summit." Experts viewed it as political posturing in order to coordinate with the US' anti-China moves, as inviting a "poor" student in counter-epidemic tasks but bypassing the Chinese mainland, which has been positively fighting against the virus, makes the meeting an ironic farce.

At the invitation of the US, the former vice regional leader of Taiwan authorities Chen Chien-jen is expected to give a pre-recorded speech when the conference opens on Thursday night Beijing time. Chen will pledge a $1.5 million donation for global vaccine coverage, media said. A spokesperson of Taiwan's regional external affairs authority said the island's participation is a global recognition of its anti-COVID efforts.

"The epidemic prevention team in Taiwan is probably the hardest-working team and has done quite well," Taiwan's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen touted in a Facebook post on Wednesday. However, this claim triggered a public outcry, with some saying these are brazen remarks, as the island's health authority was never well-prepared in terms of mass screening, quarantine or vaccination.

"If it weren't for your 'wonderful leadership,' we might not have to work that hard," a Taiwan-based medical staffer commented under Tsai's post.

Asked about Tsai's boast on counter-COVID efforts, the city leader of New Taipei city Hou You-yi from the island's opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) said on Thursday that he listens to the voices of the people on the frontline every day, and he is pretty sure that the situation in Taiwan is definitely not what Tsai described.

According to data from Taiwan-based media, more than 57,200 new cases were registered on Thursday, and the total infections in the island have surpassed half a millionsince 2020. Some local residents even shouted at Chen Shih-chung, the head of Taiwan's health authority, calling on him to step down when he visited a testing point on Wednesday.

"Bypassing the Chinese mainland, which has been fighting against the coronavirus with good results, and instead inviting Taiwan, will hardly mean any benefit to pandemic control… The meeting is nothing but a hypocritical political farce," Wang Jianmin, a senior cross-Straits expert at Minnan Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The host of the "COVID-19 summit" is actually politicizing global counter-COVID efforts, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The summit will continue to brag about the superiority and effectiveness of the epidemic prevention policy represented by the US, but in the final analysis, this serves its political purpose, which is to maintain the so-called global leadership and discourse power of the US, Xin noted.

The "donation" by the Taiwan authorities is a drop in the bucket for the fight against the epidemic around the globe. It is incomparable with the Chinese mainland's provision of public health products including vaccines and medicines to the world, said the expert.

"The Taiwan authorities' move is nothing more than political posturing, coordinating with the performance of the US," he said.