NPC deputy from Taiwan opposes island’s politicization of mainland’s vaccines
Published: Mar 04, 2021 11:18 PM
Ma Xiaoguang Photo: cnsphoto

Ma Xiaoguang Photo: cnsphoto

A National People's Congress (NPC) deputy from Taiwan who works in the medical sector opposed Taiwan regional authorities' politicization of Chinese mainland-produced vaccines, and said the mainland is capable of supplying COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, while suggesting residents from the island living in the mainland could be prioritized in the vaccination program. 

"Resistance to the mainland-developed vaccines in the island of Taiwan is a politicization of scientific issues," Liao Haiying, an NPC deputy from Taiwan and a doctor currently working in North China's Hebei Province, told reporters on Wednesday. "I am firmly against it as a scientific worker."

According to Liao, some Taiwan residents in the mainland have already been vaccinated. He has proposed that Taiwan residents could be priorotized group for vaccination.

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, said at a press conference on February 24 that Taiwan residents living, working and studying in the mainland could receive COVID-19 vaccines as a voluntary choice.

In some regions in the mainland, Taiwan island residents have already been classified as a priority group for vaccination.

"The local government understands our needs to travel across the Straits," Zhang Liqi, a post-PhD student from the island of Taiwan at the College of International Relations under the Institute of Overseas Chinese in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Zhang finished his vaccination in early February. "I registered at the Taiwan Merchant Association in Xiamen and soon I was told to take the first shot in a local hospital. It was very efficient."

Zhang said that the Taiwan regional authorities over-politicized everything, and the topic of COVID-19 vaccines is a specific case. "Actually, people across the Straits share the same blood, so the mainland vaccines are of course more suited to people in the island of Taiwan."

The island of Taiwan did not have access to any COVID-19 vaccine until Wednesday, when 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped to Taipei,  media reported. Vaccinations for medical personnel will start within seven days.

Taiwan media outlets have reported that some Taiwan companies sought to purchase vaccines in the second half of 2020 from Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group, but they were stopped by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities.

It is DPP's political maneuverings in seeking to oppose the mainland that led to a situation where people in the island could not receive COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner, Ma Xiaoguang said at a press conference in mid-February.