May 2nd 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Gearing up to ditch free-trade policy

EDITORIAL Post-covid19, create a national development bank

CANBERRA OBSERVED Keelty water report misses the point on water shortage

ENERGY Pandemic has exposed our overreliance on imports

CARDINAL PELL Locating the golden thread

CARDINAL PELL High Court practically shouts 'not guilty'

FAMILY Dismantling myths around family tax benefits

REFLECTION Covid19 and the Church past, present and future

OBITUARY R.I.P. Bruce Dawe: poet of the people

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Doctors of WHO let the covid19 dogs out

INDUSTRY POLICY The rise and fall of Australian manufacturing and covid19

ASIAN AFFAIRS Politics done by stealth in the UN: China and the WHO

HUMOUR Get them hug-dealers off the streets

MUSIC Farewell to an Aussie jazz legend: Don Burrows

LOCKDOWN TV CLASSIC Unique, unsurpassed: The Avengers





NATIONAL AFFAIRS Crucial to get Virgin Australia flying again

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Politics done by stealth in the UN: China and the WHO

by Jeffry Babb

News Weekly, May 2, 2020

The United Nations (UN) is not intended to be about realpolitik, but about international cooperation.

Many Australians have always had a soft spot for the UN. We are reminded of Labor leader Herbert Vere “Doc” Evatt (1894-1965) and his role in the formation of the UN, so that small and medium powers like Australia would not be excluded from decision-making in the General Assembly. Australians fought against Communism in the Korean War (1950-53) under the blue-and-white UN flag.

Taiwan learned from its SARS scare
in 2003 and this time was prepared.

We are constantly reminded of the UN’s “good works”, especially that done by its agencies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The truth is, though, that these organisations are instruments of policy for the dominant powers. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the role of the WHO in the current covid19 crisis, which the WHO has now declared a pandemic.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), which dominates both the WHO and the ICAO, has been moving to weaponise the pandemic to its own benefit. One of the main targets is, as usual, the Republic of China on Taiwan.

The attempt to “blame” the United States for the worldwide pandemic was so misguided and patently ludicrous that even the PRC’s own people could not take it seriously. However, the doctor who alerted the world to the looming catastrophe died of the virus, and a female doctor, another whistleblower, simply disappeared.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) suppressed news of the outbreak for so long that, by that time it publicised the emergency, the horse had well and truly bolted – as had millions of the inhabitants of Wuhan, spreading the virus worldwide.

Taiwan has been among the nations most effective in combatting covid19. Taiwan has a population of 23 million, crammed into a small island half the size of Tasmania. It’s a crowded society.

Taiwan had a nasty scare during the SARS virus in 2003. From March to July 2003, 181 people died of the SARS virus, as a result of which Taiwan’s medical authorities began organising to combat any similar disease.

Taiwan has a universal health-care system, similar to Australia’s. No one will go bankrupt because of hospital costs. Foreign workers are also covered. Taiwan’s hospital system is more like a Ford than a Rolls Royce, but everyone gets adequate health care. Taiwan’s doctors are competent and the nursing staff are caring.

So, as soon as the authorities in Taipei began hearing reports of a strange new form of pneumonia in Wuhan, they began taking steps.

Wuhan is a major manufacturing hub in central China, with a population of 11 million. When the news got out of a deadly new virus, five million people fled the city, carrying this new scourge all over the world. Areas with close ties to China, such as northern Italy, immediately started showing up on Taiwan’s radar. Almost the entire population of Taiwan began wearing masks.

By the middle of March, with infections racing into the thousands in many countries, Taiwan reported 59 cases, and one death from covid19. Taiwan was successful in containing the spread of the virus because authorities were prepared.

Mothers wiped down their babies’ prams with alcohol wipes every time they went out; and people began avoiding crowded places. Rubbish trucks, which usually broadcast Beethoven, instead broadcast programs on combatting the virus, the authorities set up a Command Centre to manage the campaigns against the virus.

The PRC, meanwhile, is using covid19 against Taiwan. The PRC is disguising Taiwan’s success in combatting the disease by reporting figures for Taiwan in the figures for China, saying that Taiwan is part of China.

Taiwan will apply, probably this May, for entry into the WHO and the World Health Assembly (WHA), which is the governing body of the WHO, composed of the health ministers for member states. Under President Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan had observer status, under the name “Chinese Taipei”. Taiwan was an observer at the WHA from 2009 to 2016. Under the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan did not find the formula amenable.

Under Ma the PRC and Taiwan operated under the “1992 Consensus”, essentially an agreement that there is “One China”. Today, however, the PRC does not trust Tsai and Tsai does not support the “One China” policy.

Perhaps the world should ask, “Can China be trusted as the dominant figure in the world’s preeminent health body when it is responsible for the origin and spread of covid19?”

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm