Taiwan to protest against Lancet for labeling it part of China

06/28/2019 03:28 PM
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Screenshot of Lancet’s web page
Screenshot of Lancet’s web page

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) Taiwan will lodge a protest against the world-renowned peer-reviewed medical journal Lancet for publishing a paper that lists Taiwan as a province of China, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Thursday.

The paper, authored by a Chinese research team and titled "Mortality, Morbidity and Risk Factors in China and its Provinces, 1990-2017: a Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017," mainly covers 34 provincial-level divisions in China. Taiwan, however, is included in charts attached to the paper.

Ministry of Health and Welfare spokesman Wang Che-chao (王哲超) said the ministry will file a protest and demand that the journal make a correction. However, he did not elaborate how or when the ministry will file the protest.

The content of the study is inconsistent with the fact that Taiwan is not a province of China, he said, adding that Taiwan has its own independent and complete disease prevention system.

The Taiwan Medical Association (TMA) issued a statement Thursday contending that the paper has strayed from the truth, as Taiwan and China have different and unrelated medical systems.

Listing Taiwan as a province of China, the TMA said, shows that the paper seeks to denigrade Taiwan.

It is deeply regrettable that The Lancet, a professional peer-reviewed journal, published the study, which may be detrimental to The Lancet's prestigiousness and credibility, according to the statement.

The paper says it scales each province-level estimate for the 34 provinces in China to match the separately estimated all-cause mortality for China as a whole.

Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions were not included in the scaling process because the mortality and demographic data collection processes are separate from that of China, it said.

Since The Lancet published the study on its Facebook page Tuesday, its Facebook page has been inundated with angry comments from people with Internet connections demanding that the journal change its designation of Taiwan, with some asking the journal to withdraw the paper, claiming that its methodology is problematic and the results are therefore biased.

The Lancet replied in a Facebook comment Thursday that it stands behind the study and its robust estimates of health in China.

The paper follows the guidelines and protocols of the United Nations and World Health Organization, which refer to Taiwan as a province of the People's Republic of China, The Lancet pointed out.

"This makes the study consistent with other international health analyses. Unless and until such guidelines and protocols are changed, there are no plans to alter such references to Taiwan," it added.

The paper was written with scientific rigor and thorough data analysis required by the editors of The Lancet. A hierarchical analytical model was employed, utilizing empirical data sources that include all available and relevant vital and civil registration, census information, scientific literature and other information, it noted.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Chung Yu-chen)


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