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Beijing’s Deadly Game: Consequences of Excluding Taiwan from the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 Pandemic


This report includes the following key findings:

  • Beijing’s influence within the WHO and its pressure on the UN agency to exclude Taiwan undermined global health as the novel coronavirus COVID-19 swept the world in the early months of 2020. WHO officials consistently ignored Taiwan’s attempts to exchange information about the virus and share best practices for containing it. Meanwhile, Beijing ramped up military pressure on Taiwan through a series of coercive exercises.
  • Taiwan appears to have successfully contained COVID-19 by instituting early and aggressive measures informed by its experience battling the 2003 outbreak of SARS, a respiratory illness that also originated in mainland China. As of May 12, the island had just 440 confirmed cases and seven deaths.
  • Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO imperils the health of the island’s 23 million people and limits WHO members’ access to crucial public health information, jeopardizing global health.
Foreign Affairs,