Taiwan authorities abandon morality by blocking mainland vaccines: Global Times editorial
Published: May 25, 2021 01:58 PM
Residents on the island of Taiwan line up and wait for getting a COVID-19 nucleic acid test in Taipei on Tuesday. Testing on the island is 21 times more expensive than  the mainland, hindering epidemic control of the island, which reported 240 new infections Tuesday after a record of 333 cases the previous day. Photo: VCG

Residents on the island of Taiwan line up and wait for getting a COVID-19 nucleic acid test in Taipei. Photo: VCG

The Chinese mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office said Monday evening that the mainland is willing to make quick arrangements so that the Taiwan compatriots can receive mainland vaccines as soon as possible. The office also said that if needed, the mainland is willing to actively consider sending virus prevention and control experts to the island to share their experience to fight the outbreak with Taiwan's medical and health professionals as well as give them advice on prevention measures.

However, according to the island's Central News Agency, the Taiwan-based Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) responded late Monday night, accusing the mainland of never providing the island of Taiwan with information on mainland vaccine through established channels. "The other side knows what obstacles Taiwan is facing to obtain vaccines - everyone knows it," it continued. The MAC also claimed that Taiwan society is well aware of the mainland's obvious united front tactic whenever there is a surge in COVID-19 cases on the island of Taiwan.

The Chinese mainland has offered to provide vaccines to the other side of the Straits, but what Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities see in this is the "united front tactic." Where do they put the lives of those fighting the pandemic on the island? Why did the MAC respond so hastily only to block the vaccines that Taiwan desperately needs? Not everything can be replaced by politics, especially not health and human lives. It's believed that the people of the island will be wiser than those politicians there who play dumb. It is hard to imagine that the public on the island will agree with the DPP authorities when they speak on behalf of Taiwan's society with such an attitude.

Last Monday, the Taiwan Affairs Office publicly expressed its willingness to provide vaccines to the people of Taiwan. However, authorities on the island have called the mainland's kindness "Greek gifts." They categorically closed the political door for the entry of mainland vaccines into the island.

The Chinese mainland reiterated its offer to quickly arrange the introduction of mainland vaccines into the island of Taiwan on Monday night, but the DPP authorities said that the mainland had not used any of the existing channels between the two to provide information about its vaccines and falsely accused it as a "united front tactic." Have the DPP authorities shown any sincerity to cooperate with the Chinese mainland for the entry of the mainland vaccines?

At least 300 million doses of Chinese vaccines have been exported to more than 80 countries and regions, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has granted approval for Chinese Sinopharm vaccines of emergency use earlier this month. In addition, the safety performance of mainland vaccines is good. There is very little information about side effects in the vaccination process around the world, and its efficacy rate has also been verified by all sides. Isn't this open information enough for the DPP authorities to make a positive response to the mainland's proposal?

The sincerity of the mainland to send vaccines to the island is obvious, which most people in Taiwan can see clearly. Besides, the production capacity of the mainland is sufficient. Currently, the mainland vaccinates more than 10 million people per day, and is expected to vaccinate more than 20 million people in the future. It is fully capable of supplying the island with sufficient vaccines. As long as the DPP authorities put aside political calculations and make urgent vaccinations for the island's people the top priority of the moment, they will not use political shields and roadblocks to block the entry of mainland vaccines.

The day the DPP authorities again rejected the mainland vaccine on Monday, Taiwan reported 590 new local cases (including what they called a "backlog" of confirmed test results) and six new deaths each for two consecutive days. The epidemic in Taiwan has reached a critical crossroads where it is about to get out of control and efforts are urgently needed to contain it. If the DPP authorities continue to indulge in political games, it would be extremely irresponsible for the safety and well-being of the people on the island. They may not necessarily be able to play politics this way for long.

If the mainland only wants to engage in political rivalry with Taiwan authorities regardless of the interests of Taiwan people, it can just let it down. But the mainland didn't do so, but put aside political divergences and focused on epidemic fighting.

It must be pointed out that letting the mainland vaccines into Taiwan should be a humanitarian action promoted by both administrative authorities of the mainland and Taiwan. If Taiwan authorities stubbornly make up various excuses and politicize the action, this will be a serious betrayal of morality. It will lead to more infections of Taiwan people, many of whom will die.

It is hoped that Taiwan authorities stop advocating the "cognitive warfare" to fool people there. If the epidemic in Taiwan cannot be contained, those in power cannot sit still. If they want to copy the Trump administration and fool their people by confronting the mainland with the logic of the more people die, the more they hate the mainland, then the more serious the epidemic will become, and the more they will support the authorities - they just cannot make it.

Taiwan society is not the US. The extent of Taiwan public's abhorrence toward the epidemic is different from that of the Americans. The US has imported a large quantity of mainland-made anti-virus materials. Places like Kinmenwould like to bring in vaccines from the mainland. If the DPP authorities continue to resist it, they are against the trend. Hopefully, the DPP authorities still have the rationality to make adjustments.