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.
Written by Ian Inkster. The East Asian capacity for self-help is not an illusion nor irrelevant to our further understanding of the global Covid 19 crisis. More of this later. First, a few statistics that put East Asia in some perspective, derived from my analysis of the figures available on 28-29 March. All figures are problematic and very temporary, but the death/cases ratio seems sturdy in that the numerator is visible, which is more difficult to hide and easier to find than most of the measures being bandied about elsewhere.
Written by Tyler Prochazka. As the coronavirus spreads rapidly around the world, the global economy could face its most serious decline since the 2008 Great Recession. While Taiwan has avoided a serious community spread of COVID-19, it is not immune to the global economic fallout from the pandemic. To assure that its citizens are able to keep their heads afloat financially, the Taiwanese government should prioritize an emergency basic income for every household over bailouts to corporations.
Written by T.Y. Wang and Ching-Hsin Yu. The worsening prospect of the pandemic has led to two dozen state governments taking drastic measures by ordering all residents to stay in their homes, restricting the movement of more than 200 million Americans. As a result, schools are shut down, restaurants are closed, and the airlines have dramatically reduced their scheduled flights. The American economy has ground to a halt with a record 3.3 million Americans applying for unemployment benefits. In contrast, several thousands of miles away, Taiwan has been able to keep the number of coronavirus infections relatively low.
Written by Abby Huang. Since COVID-19 began spreading across Europe in February, the name “Taiwan” leapt on to the mastheads of major news organizations. One after another, international press published reports on Taiwan’s disease prevention measures and compared them with those of their own countries.