Crowdfunded ‘Taiwan can help’ ad published in New York Times

CNA photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — The New York Times on Tuesday published an advertisement funded by over 26,000 donors in a fundraising campaign with the aim of showing the world that Taiwan can help in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The full-page advertisement, initiated by a Taiwanese Youtuber and an award-winning designer, begins with the question “WHO can help?” followed by the answer: “Taiwan.”

The bottom of the ad reads: “In a time of isolation, we choose solidarity. You are not alone. Taiwan is with you.”

It also elaborates that Taiwan knows how to fight pandemics due to its experience in the battle against the SARS epidemic of 2003.

It also knows perfectly well how it feels to be isolated because it has been isolated from the World Health Organization (WHO), the ad reads, referring to the fact that the country has been barred from attending the annual World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the WHO, since 2017 due to pressure from China.

“That is why we are contributing to international efforts by sharing how we contained the outbreak, kept our schools and businesses open, and ensured masks for all,” it reads.

It adds that the country has also been donating millions of surgical masks to support medical workers worldwide over the past weeks, as well as studying research along with global partners into advanced rapid testing and a vaccine for COVID-19.

“Who can isolate Taiwan? No one. Because we are here to help,” it says, before concluding with the hashtags #TaiwanCanHelp #TaiwanIsHelping.

The ad was published in Tuesday’s edition both online and in print.

It was funded by the crowdfunding campaign initiated by Taiwanese YouTube personality Ray Du (阿滴) and graphic designer Aaron Nieh (聶永真) April 10.

The campaign was launched after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a news conference on April 8 accused Taiwan of personal attacks and “racism,” which drew Taiwan’s ire, with the government rebutting the allegations as unfounded.

Nieh said in a Facebook post that the newspaper ad is a starting point for Taiwan to tell the world that it is offering helping hands to the world despite the smear campaign launched by the WHO head.

He did not say exactly how much funding the campaign managed to raise or how much the ad cost, saying only that half of the money was used to pay for the ad, while the rest will be used to purchase medical supplies to aid pandemic control efforts, both in Taiwan and in other countries.