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UN Kowtows Again To China! Excludes two Taiwan Journalists from the UN Health Assembly!

Reporters from Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) were denied interview permits for the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA). Officials allegedly requested a “Chinese passport.”

Ahead of the 77th annual United Nations (UN) assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 27, two Taiwan CNA journalists applied for interview permits in early May. CNA Brussels correspondent Tian Si-ru and Paris correspondent Judy Tseng selected ‘Thailand’ and ‘Tuvalu’ in the application form’s country section as there was no option for ‘Taiwan’. They noted ‘Taiwan (Republic of China)’ in the comments section.

On May 9 and 10, they received responses directing them to provide “an official Chinese passport that complies with United Nations policies and the guidance of United Nations General Assembly resolutions.” Tian Si-ru had submitted a Taiwanese passport with supporting documents but received no further response.

In 2023, Judy Tseng and Tian Si-ru were initially approved for WHA passes, but upon arrival to collect their accreditation, a UN staff member informed them that their passports were not recognized, preventing their attendance. This reportedly followed pressure from Chinese diplomats, with the staff member indicating potential repercussions if they were allowed entry.

Taiwan CNA journalists also faced access denial in 2022.

The UN is completely aware of the relations between Taiwan and China but still demands that journalists provide Chinese passports, which they do not have. This effectively blocks Taiwanese media from covering the WHA.

This unreasonable request contradicts the UN’s purpose as stated in Article 1 of its Charter, which aims to promote and encourage “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,” the association stated, adding that the UN’s actions infringe on press freedom, freedom of speech, and other universal values.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists urged the United Nations to resist Chinese interference and issue formal interview permits to journalists from Taiwanese media. This would facilitate reporting on important international conferences like the WHA, ensure the full flow of information, and uphold the public’s right to know.

Events like the World Health Assembly are crucial globally, and the United Nations and its affiliates must ensure the media can operate without interference from special interests, thereby fulfilling their commitments to press freedom.

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