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Congress passes Taiwan into the WHO Act

Washington, 19 November 1999

On 19 November 1999, the Senate unanimously passed its version of HR 1794, a bill calling for Taiwan's "appropriate and meaningful participation in the World Health Organization".

The House version had also been passed unanimously earlier, making the bill veto-proof. The legislation also requires a report to the Congress from the Secretary of State not later than January 1, 2000 regarding the Administration's efforts to more actively support Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

"Congress' action sends a clear message from the American people -- let Taiwan be Taiwan and drop the phony One-China policy," said the bill's author Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). "Good health is a basic right for every citizen of the world."

He added: "Passage of this bill shows Congress' full support for the people of Taiwan's right to participate in the WHO and also their right to determine their own future, as laid down in article 1 of the UN charter. This is not only a major step toward Taiwan's membership in the WHO, but also a step toward Taiwan's membership in international organizations in general."

In a statement to the press, the President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA), Prof. Chen Wen-yen, said: "Passage of this bill puts Taiwan where it belongs, front and center in the community of nations." FAPA was the primary group lobbying for passage of the bill.

Professor Chen added: "The bill unmasks the absurdity of a "One China" policy whereby the UN had to get China's permission to provide humanitarian relief to Taiwan after the devastating September earthquake."

He concluded: "For the first time ever, Congress is requiring the State Department to find a role for Taiwan in the most beneficial of all international institutions -- the WHO. This is an important first step toward full recognition of Taiwan as a state among equals."