Taipei, A cartoon posted on Facebook by Taiwan's representative office in Munich to ask people to voice support for Taiwan's inclusion in the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) has drawn attention on social media.
The office posted a cartoon on May 4 titled "A picture is worth a thousand words" in which a man wearing a Winnie The Pooh costume bullies a Formosan black bear wearing a T-shirt reading "Health for All, Taiwan Can Help."
Though not explicitly stated in the post, the black bear is an endemic species and a symbol of Taiwan, and the Winnie the Pooh character has been used to mock Chinese leader Xi Jinping
The reference to Xi resulted from a picture of the Chinese leader walking with then U.S. President Barack Obama in 2013 that spurred comparisons to a portly Winnie the Pooh walking with the lanky Tigger.
In the posted cartoon, the two figures stand outside a door with a sign reading "World Health Organization," suggesting that China blocked Taiwan's bid to attend the May 20-28 WHA in Geneva.
"One country is blocking Taiwan's participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly, thereby ignoring Taiwan's 23 million people, who have a right to health like everyone else," the representative office said in a message posted in Mandarin, German and English.
"But disease knows no borders," it warned. "Especially, emerging infectious diseases pose a major threat to human health that must be solved together.
"Unfortunately, without Taiwan's participation, there is a gap in the global health network which must be closed," the post read.
"Please support Taiwan's bid to participate as an observer in the World Health Assembly," it urged.
The office's Facebook page has received under 3,500 likes, but the post itself had gained more than 1,300 likes and 530 shares by Saturday afternoon.
The office's social media manager told CNA that the office wanted to use the cartoon to inform the world of Taiwan's plight under China's pressure because political cartoons enjoy great popularity in Western society.
The cartoon was designed by a Germany-based Taiwanese student and was aimed at "breaking the language barrier" and giving more people an understanding of Taiwan's situation.
Taiwan had hoped to attend this year's WHA as an observer, as it had done from 2009 to 2016, but there was never a realistic chance of that happening as China has blocked the WHO from inviting Taiwan to the WHA since 2017.
The policy reflects the hardline stance on cross-Taiwan Strait relations adopted by Beijing since President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016.
China openly admitted to its obstruction, with Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying on Monday that Beijing opposed Taiwan's participation in this year's WHA because of Taiwan's refusal to accept Beijing's "one China principle."
In the eight years in which Taiwan participated in the WHA, it did so as an observer under the name Chinese Taipei, with the help of the U.S. and amid better relations with China during the then-Kuomintang administration.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel