By the end of April, 2020, Taiwan, one of the most densely populated countries in the world and separated from China by a narrow strait, had less than 450 corona virus cases, and only 6 deaths.
Canada: Over 45,000 infections, over 2500 deaths
The UK: over 145,000 infections, over 20,000 deaths
The USA: over 900,000 infections, over 50,000 deaths.
This is despite the fact (or more likely owing to) that Taiwan is barred from the World Health Organization (WHO). As far back as December 31, 2019, when China first reported cases of "pneumonia" to the WHO, Taiwan began monitoring passengers arriving from Wuhan for symptoms. They clearly did their own investigation and were suspicious of the official Chinese party line. In about a week they had started a nationwide task force with new policy measures for protecting public health. By comparison most other countries waited at least another month before taking drastic measures. What is the long term significance of this and Taiwan's role in the world?
China's role in relation to the US is looking increasingly like that of an adversary in a new cold war, one fought with economic might and intrigue in a bid for increasing wealth and global influence. In the aftermath of this pandemic (and during it) China will be increasingly viewed with suspicion and mistrust. And the risks of doing business within its totalitarian and corrupt establishment, will be weighed more heavily than the supposed riches that can be made.
And then there is Taiwan, a country of ethnic Han Chinese that has prospered as a democratic and free nation. While the prediction made a few decades ago that China would be a democracy by now has not aged well; by its very existence, Taiwan has shown that Chinese people can create a free and democratic nation, governed by the rule of law. Even if its existence as a nation is only recognized by a handful of other countries.
The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
- Albert Camus