WHO’s Chinese info too slow

By Xie Wenting Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-10 23:58:01

Some Beijing residents have complained that the World Health Organization (WHO) has acted too slowly in updating H7N9 avian flue information on its Chinese website.

A spokesperson from the WHO told the Global Times Wednesday that all its information comes from China and must be translated first.

On the WHO's Chinese language website, the H7N9 report dates from Sunday, whereas the English language site has information from Tuesday.

Beijing resident Wang Weikang said that it is irresponsible that the WHO does not publish its flu report in Chinese in a more timely way.

"It [H7N9] is related to people's lives. For instance, the flu influences our decisions about whether we can travel to Shanghai. How come they don't update on time?" said Wang.

Beijing resident Su Ya said that WHO's slow update is because they do not pay enough attention to Chinese readers.

"Chinese is one of the official languages of the UN. It should be given equal importance as English," Su said.

"Chinese people can get attention only when more and more Chinese participate in the international organizations. Then more Chinese information will come out," said Su.

The spokesperson for WHO in Beijing, who asked not to be named, said Wednesday that they post H7N9 information based on Chinese official notifications.

"We, the WHO, can only post cases and deaths based on the official notification from the Chinese International Health Regulations Focal Point. Therefore, inevitably, the counts in the media will be ahead of the official counts we post," the WHO said via e-mail.

The spokesperson explained in a phone call to the Global Times that they will first select information from the Chinese notification, translate it into English and then translate the edited English version back into Chinese before it is posted  on to the Chinese website.

"The working language/first language of a worldwide organization like WHO is English and so English will be faster up than other languages. In this instance, we have hired extra Chinese translators and are working hard to get Chinese-language materials posted as soon as possible," wrote the WHO.

On the website of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, the English report was updated to April 9 while the latest Chinese version is on April 8.

Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

blog comments powered by Disqus