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Ministry thanks ‘Lancet’ for publishing protest

2019-07-17Taipei Times  English News
A protest letter written by Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung appears on The Lancet’s Web site yesterday./Photo courtesy of Taipei Times
A protest letter written by Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung appears on The Lancet’s Web site yesterday./Photo courtesy of Taipei Times

The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday extended its gratitude to the medical journal The Lancet for publishing in full a letter by Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung protesting a research paper that listed Taiwan as a province of China.

Chen’s letter, titled Taiwan’s health-care system and administration are independent of China, was published on the journal’s Web site Monday.

The journal on June 16 published a paper, titled Mortality, Morbidity and Risk Factors in China and its Provinces, 1990-2017: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, written by a Chinese research team.

The paper listed Taiwan as one of China’s 34 provincial-level administrative units.

Chen immediately contacted the journal’s editorial department after the paper was published and asked the Taipei Representative Office in the UK to help submit the letter of protest to the journal, the ministry said.

“Taiwan is a sovereign democratic country, not part of any other. This is an undisputed fact. Our president and parliament are democratically elected,” Chen wrote.

“Taiwan takes pride in its democracy. It is not part of China. The people of Taiwan have repeatedly reiterated their expectation for maintaining the status quo,” the letter says.

Taiwan’s hygienic conditions, healthcare standards and public health systems are different from China’s, Chen said, adding that statistical data are also collected via distinctively different methods, so the paper suffers from biased and academically unethical methodologies for comparing data from Taiwan and China.

Chen urged that academic publications not be hampered by political intentions of a certain nation, saying that Taiwan will continue to make global contributions to medicine and public health.