Written by Frank Siedlok, Natasha Hamilton-Hart, Hsiao-Chen Shen. As the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the related news spread for the last two years, the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment became apparent, causing policymakers globally to panic. Having learned from SARS in 2003, Taiwan foresaw the need to address the demand for facemasks.
Written by Fabricio A. Fonseca. In the spring of 2020, the social media accounts of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Mexico City began to share posts made by Mexican federal legislators. In these posts, they showed appreciation for the donations made by Taiwan’s representatives in the country under the difficult circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, those donations consisted of food baskets and eventually included thousands of face masks. The different images of people across Mexico receiving boxes with the slogan “Taiwan Can Help” (TCH) made me think about how authorities on the island were using different instruments associated with non-traditional diplomacy.
Written by Tamás Peragovics and Ágnes Szunomár. It has become a truism that China’s mask diplomacy seeks to enhance the country’s global standing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. By exporting medical aid and equipment, the Beijing Government rushes to the rescue of countries still struggling to contain the virus. Positioning itself as saviour rather than villain, China’s motivation is to cultivate a global aura of blissful ignorance with regards to the outbreak’s early mismanagement, including the silencing of Chinese whistle-blowers who emphasized contagion risks and tried to warn of the severity of the new pathogen.
Written by Michael Reilly. The European Union’s relations with China are currently at their lowest level since at least the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, if not earlier. Growing disillusion with China’s economic and predatory business policies under Xi Jinping had already led to the EU branding China a ‘systemic rival’ in 2019. Since then, unease has only grown and relations further soured, most recently over China’s crude attempts to use the Coronavirus pandemic for propaganda purposes, followed by its imposition of a draconian National Security Law on Hong Kong in disregard of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.
Written by Chun-yi Lee and Yu-ching Kuo. The world changed this year. Covid-19 appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and gradually spread to Europe and the United States. At the time of writing (June 14), there are nearly 8 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide. The global death toll is 431,225, with the United States suffering the most deaths (115,578). Yet Taiwan, a small, self-ruled island that is geographically close to mainland China, had seen only 443 confirmed cases and 7 deaths by June.