Date: 30 Mar 2020
By: Frances Martel
The Communist Party rejects Taiwan’s status as a sovereign state, insisting it is a province of China. Taiwan operates full independently of Beijing and has never been ruled from Beijing in its history. As China is an extremely wealthy and influential dictatorship, however, it has successfully limited Taiwan’s diplomatic ties to other states and international organizations. Taiwan maintains diplomatic ties with only 15 states and cannot participate in the United Nations or, currently more pressingly, the World Health Organization (WHO), due to Communist Party bullying.
Taiwan Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong confirmed reports on Monday that, despite the tense relationship between Taipei and Beijing, the Taiwanese government attempted to send 10,000 sets of protective medical suits to China to protect health workers caring for patients infected with the highly contagious virus. The suits would have reportedly gone to Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, where the virus originated. Taiwan News reports that Hubei declined the offer, citing Chen saying that the Communist Party officials claimed “the lead time is too short to deal with.”
Focus Taiwan, another local media outlet, blamed China’s Eastern Airlines for rejecting the suits. Eastern Airlines flew 247 Taiwanese citizens home out of Wuhan in early February. Upon landing in Taipei, the Taiwanese government reportedly said it wanted to fill the plane with protective gear before it flew back. Eastern Airlines declined. The airline is majority-owned by the Communist Party. Focus Taiwan notes that the Eastern Airlines rejection came after the rejection from Hubei itself.