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    WHO Past Campaign - Information Related to H.R.1794

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 14, 2000


Washington, DC-- U. S. Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced an initiative requiring the United States advocate Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) at the annual summit this May in Geneva, Switzerland.  The Secretary of State would be required to endorse and obtain "observer" status for Taiwan at the World Health Assembly.

"This bill would allow Taiwan the same status held by the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Knights of Malta, and the Vatican.  Taiwan's population of 22 million people is larger than 75 percent of the member sates already in the WHO.  It doesn't make sense to continue denying a democratic government access to health resources for their citizens," Brown Said.

Brown, a member of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, and the top Democrat on the Commerce Health and Environment Subcommittee, said his bill compels the U. S. to abide by its 1994 Taiwan Policy Review to more actively support Taiwan's participation in the WHO and other international organizations.  Last year, Brown sponsored a bill signed by the President in December requiring the State Department to report to Congress on activities supporting Taiwan's participation in the WHO.  The report did not express active support for Taiwan's participation, but gave a passive recital of the obstacles the People's Republic of China and its allies have raised.

"This should not be a question of international positioning.  It is a question of whether the U. S. supports improving health care for children, the elderly, and the most vulnerable in Taiwan.  I strongly believe our nation should support this.  For 25 years, Taiwan's 22 million citizens have been denied access to the WHO and its medical expertise.  The U. S. can and should take the lead to change this, " Brown said.

Since 1972, Taiwan has not been allowed to participate in the WHO, an international body whose mission is the "attainment of all peoples of the highest possible level of health."  Taiwan needs a majority of all members for readmission.  Brown has spearheaded the drive in the House to win official U. S. support for Taiwan's entry in the WHO and is considered a leader in Congress on promoting access to quality, affordable health care.

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