Written by Lotta Danielsson. For the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan served as a brilliant example of how best to handle the crisis. Leaning on its experiences during the 2003 SARS epidemic, Taiwan received glowing reviews for its protective measures. Stories about long stays in quarantine hotels and the vigilant surveillance of arriving travellers spread widely online. Donations of high-quality protective gear served as public relations opportunities, culminating with “Made in Taiwan” facemasks worn at the White House. Photos from a crowded live concert in Taipei elicited envy from those still in semi-lockdown elsewhere.
Written by Wen-Chin Wu, Greg Sheen, Hans H. Tung, Chien-Hui Wu. As COVID-19 began to spread from China to the world in early 2020, experts predicted that Taiwan would have “the world’s second-worst outbreak after China” ). Nevertheless, Taiwan was almost COVID-19-free until mid-May 2021 due to a set of successful policies, such as strict border control, population-based contact tracing of confirmed cases, and encouragement to wear facial masks. The “normal” pre-COVID-19 life lasted for almost one year until May 19, 2021, when Taiwan declared a nationwide COVID-19 Level 3 alert. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan since early 2020 had soared from 1,132 on May 1 to 8,511 on May 31, 2021.
Written by Min-hua Chiang. Taiwan government revised up economic growth forecast in 2021 to 5.5% in June despite the sudden surge of covid-19 cases since mid-May. This is the fastest growth path since and second only to the post-crisis rebound in 2010 (see Figure 1). The economy is bolstered by thriving exports outlook. Growing domestic investment is another anchor of Taiwan’s economy thanks to the continuous investment repatriation. The greater government consumption is expected to offset the potential fall in private consumption following the constraints on outdoor activities. Taiwan Centres for Disease Control (CDC)’s capability to put the domestic outbreak under control in a month further gives confidence that moderate economic growth this year could be expected.
Written by Chan-Yuan Wong, Ker-Hsuan Chien, and Mei-Chih Hu. As the world enters the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Taiwan – previously acknowledged as a Covid-free nation – encountered a new outbreak in mid-May 2021. This wave of infection has been deemed critical, as the number of infection cases has surpassed 700, and the infectivity rate is as contagious as measles. To date, Taiwan encountered 635 death cases related to Covid-19 – of which 98% are attributed to the recent outbreak since 15 May 2021.
Written by Chun-Chien Kuo. According to the latest Bloomberg Covid-19 Resilience Report, Taiwan’s ranking has slumped to 44th place in June from the 15th in May. Meanwhile, the support rates for President Tsai have declined dramatically. Taiwan had successfully controlled the Covid-19 virus for more than one year under the strict border control, and people had been luckily enjoying the near normal life without lockdown elsewhere. The economy gained positive momentum both from strong export and little affected domestic activities. The CECC Commander Chen, President Tsai and DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) had been rewarded with high political support for their well performance in fighting the Covid-19 virus. However …
Written by Ian Inkster. On 28 May, just after the Taiwanese authorities had apparently rejected outright Beijing’s offer to supply Covid 19 vaccines to Taiwan, Hsiao Bi-khim was urgently requesting from the USA ‘access to safe and effective vaccines.’ By 3 June, we knew that Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines had been approved by both WHO and Covax Facility for distribution to other nations, that many millions of vaccines have been sent out from China to Africa and Asia, and that whatever the political interpretation, these vaccines were offered early to Taiwan free of charge.
Written by Chih-Wei Chen. Over the past 18 months, the whole world has been severely challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused enormous numbers of infections and deaths, as well as economic recessions worldwide. Many countries took a series of actions to contain the spread of coronavirus, such as large-scale lockdowns and the provision of economic stimulate. Taiwan has often been positioned as a success story in terms of pandemic management. It did this largely by harnessing the national digital power, the core of which lies in the flexible and meaningful employment of technologies in governance, and supporting this with comprehensive policy planning for the whole society.
Written by John F. Copper. The recent economic news emanating from Taiwan is the impressive growth in its gross domestic product (GDP)—one of the basic indicators of economic vitality. This is certainly good to hear. After experiencing negative growth throughout most of 2020, conditions changed in the last quarter of the year. As a result, Taiwan even bested China’s GDP growth. Furthermore, the upward trend accelerated this year, with GDP expansion the highest in two decades. If this growth is sustained, 2021 will end with a welcomed 5 per cent or better rise.
Written by Viola van Onselen and Tsung-Yi Lin. How does it feel to walk through a desert-like landscape of highly dynamic dunes, and how can Virtual Reality educate people in an interactive way about such an environment? You can now experience this in a new local geopark of Taiwan, the ‘Caota Sand Dunes.’ This geopark promotes the values of coastal dunes, and ongoing research explores new management strategies, local community involvement and the geological history of this environment. This short article highlights the potentials of dunes, the status of dune environments in Taiwan and how this local geopark can set an example as a foundation for Nature-based Solutions.
Written by Max Lembke-Soh. EggPlantEgg 茄子蛋 has fast become a significant player. Rocketing to popularity in 2017, EggPlantEgg received multiple Golden Melody Awards and nominations recognising their distinctly Taiwanese vibes, making full use of Taiyu’s broad intonation range to melodise lyrics across a variety of sounds. The band has no shortage of commentators lauding their style, highlighting their passionate use of Taiyu to express everything from love and yearning to relationships and loss.
Written by Chen-Yu Lin, Yun-Siou Chen and Yan-Shouh Chen. Music is a powerful symbolic good, and it is not uncommon that this symbolic good can be shipped into opposing – or different – ideological systems, influencing other societies. However, sometimes musicians fear the consequences of singing or expressing what they want. As South African musician John Clegg once said, “censorship is based on fear”. Regardless of forms, music censorship requires an agent capable of negatively affecting a musician, whether that means imprisonment, loss of income or receiving negative comments online.
Written by Min-erh Wang. From the late nineteenth century onwards, Chinese musical culture has been significantly impacted by the importation of Western music. Chinese musicians and intellectuals, therefore, began to organise an orchestra with Chinese instruments as a way for pursuing musical modernisation. The establishment of the music section at the Central Broadcast Station in Chongqing in 1935 was the most prominent example of this trend. By presenting this new ensemble at international occasions, the modern Chinese orchestra was further promoted as ‘Gou Yue (國樂),’ meaning ‘national music,’ in the first half of the twentieth century.