Written by Min-Hua Chiang. Despite economic shrinkage, the impact of COVID-19 on Taiwan’s economy is restrained compared to other countries. Singapore (-2.2%), European Union (-2.7%), USA (-4.8%), China (-6.8%) and Hong Kong (-8.9%) have reported a more significant drop in the first quarter of 2020. Taiwan’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 has minimized the impact of COVID-19 on its economy. As of May 11 2020, Taiwan reported 440 cases and seven deaths, lower than most other countries in the world.
Written by Chuan-Kai Lee and Mei-Chih Hu. As we know, the Coronavirus pandemic poses a dire threat to various states around the globe. Thus, we perceive the competence (or lack thereof) of different governments, the strengthening of the state, the rise of nationalism, and in Taiwan, the return of technocrats. These technocrats differed from their predecessors in the developmental-state era, as they already had their missions well in advance rather than playing catch-up. They were to contain the virus — keep a record of zero local infection as long as possible.
Written by Tse-Kang Leng. Taiwan is now facing increasing pressure to adjust its cross-strait economic policies. In her second inaugural address on May 20 of this year, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen re-emphasised the importance of Taiwan’s strength in the semiconductor and ICT industries, and she also urged the country to secure a central role in global supply chains. In order to cope with current global uncertainties, more substantial state intervention to consolidate economic security will become the new normal.
Written by Mei-Hua Chen. There are nearly 9,000 people who have lost their jobs. The majority of these workers are found in the service sector. Nonetheless, after a hostess, who worked in Taipei, contracted the Coronavirus on the April 8, hostesses or sex workers who work in bars or dancing halls appear as the most vulnerable group in Taiwan. The Central Epidemic Command Centre (CCEC) of Taiwan immediately and indefinitely shut down 437 bars and dancing halls that provided hostess services across Taiwan.
Written by Cheng-Chia Tung. COVID-19 has cost thousands of lives outside of its place of origin and has put 20% of the global population under lockdown. It is hard to envision it not having a long-lasting impact. Many influential commentators have focused on how it has exacerbated the decline of globalization and intensified political tension and strategic competition among great powers. While many may crave a “return to normalcy,” if we are to address the challenges created by the pandemic more holistically we need to do more than simply ask “whether we’re going back to where we were.”
Written by Sam Robbins. Currently, if you visit the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University, you will be greeted by a cartoon cut out of Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare, Chen Shih-chung (陳時中). The Cartoon tells you to use your card to buzz in and to get your temperature checked. If you are a user of popular social messaging app Line, you can now download a package of cartoon stickers of Chen accompanied with messages like, “stand together and defeat the virus” (團結對抗，戰勝病毒).
Written by David G.H. Chen and Jou (Tender) Chang. The Taiwanese government’s quick and transparent response to the Coronavirus outbreak — a response that has cooperated with medical professionals and the whole of Taiwanese society — has attracted worldwide attention through their national-level epidemic prevention measures. However, the role of Taiwanese local government, which helps implements national policy, has received less attention. Local government deals with the front line of epidemic prevention work. Indeed, it is worth exploring how Taiwanese local governments, with their limited recourses, react to the novel Coronavirus
Written by Mary Wang. Reading Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus’ canonical novel, The Plague at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak led me to meditate on Taiwan’s current situation and the possibilities for its future. As the COVID-19 crisis has been unfolding, paralysing the whole globe, I found that Camus’ novel allows for meaningful comparison between the situation described in Camus’ short novel and the experience of Taiwan as an estranged member of the international community.
Written by Ratih Kabinawa. In a time of crisis, such as during pandemic, temporary migrants are typically subject to discriminatory policies and are considered society’s second-class members. The government will likely prioritise the health and safety of its citizens instead of temporary migrants, who stay for a short time either for studying or working. In Australia, for example, the prime minister, as well as the premiers of each state, have mentioned several times in their public statements on COVID-19, the need to give top priority to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Taiwan has taken a different approach.
Written by Ian Inkster. Now that the coronavirus danger is focused more on the West and the emerging threat to the Global South, it is possible to take some stock of the successful performance of Taiwan in virus containment and management. This short paper is based on global statistics for the present time 19-23 April.
Written by T.Y. Wang. With its recent dispute with the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the island country has grabbed international headlines again, which may aid its efforts to join the international health organisation. Responding to a question from a reporter, and without providing any evidence, Tedros claimed that the Taipei government was behind recent death threats and racist online attacks against him.
Written by Lien-yi Hsu. Although the Taiwanese authorities may harm the rule of law in their epidemic prevention strategies, I still believe that Taiwan’s society still has the energy to resist if such measures go too far and damage the foundations of democracy. Hence, if Taiwan’s parliament can impose a robust public health bureaucracy, it could be argued that some preventative, legislative restrictions – which would work to limit democratic damage during the pandemic — would naturally be a better option.