Who’s controlling Taiwan?

Recently I’ve been thinking, how Taiwan differs in a political point of view from China. Officially both sides think they’re different from each other. However when the doors are closed, is there something unspoken between these two, something they also have a common target? Quite often in this part of world politics aren’t so easy. Often what’s said is different what’s decided or the messages are controlled from the top level. Who has the best knowledge of current situation?


When Covid-19 pandemic started, I felt lucky that I was in Taiwan. There was low case count and no big changes to everyday life. Same time the rest of the world was suffering. When I came back to Finland I realized that you may do less, and share more information from authorities to people, and still keep the case count low.


Taiwan didn’t test much during the time I was living there in 2020. It was almost impossible to get tested for Covid-19. This was mainly needed if an airline or at the border control it would be required to have a negative PCR test result. In Taiwan if you didn’t have a clear reason for Covid-19 testing, you were denied to get a test (traveling wasn’t really a reason). I wondered why it was so difficult, even if you pay by yourself. Recent changes in the case count in Taiwan make it more clear: if you don’t test, no cases are added into total numbers.


Do I question any other Taiwanese policies now? Late 2020 there started to be in local news stories about immigrants who tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Taiwan. Note: non-Taiwanese migrant workers only. This is pretty much similar case as we saw happening in China during the year 2020. They tried to put public thinking against foreigners: locals didn’t bring the Covid-19 outbreak, they were immigrants and others who came to China that had infections. Believes who wants. I didn’t hear any violence against foreigners in Taiwan, in China there were seen some violence and bad behavior. Some foreigners even left China after these incidents. Now it looks happening also in Taiwan.


How about the quarantine rules? My arrival in Finland was pretty smooth. Only self-quarantine was requested (you monitor your situation, you avoid public places, etc). Some passengers were tested for Covid-19 right after arrival at the airport, too. Other side in Taiwan you were asked to stay in quarantine hotels in 2020. Was this Taiwanese quarantine rule in place to avoid total case count growing too quickly and too high? Most asymptomatic cases aren’t counted if no testing is done. Same time it will let them go out free and possibly infect some other people. Authorities may cross fingers so that there won’t be any extra cases.


There are many ways to avoid epidemic to spread freely. Also you can put more responsibilities to people themselves and avoid any bad to happen with limited effort. Taiwanese often think they need to make sure about things by themselves for any bad. As long as governments are telling and keeping the message simple enough, there won’t be many people against their decisions. You can also silence people by giving them a threat or putting them in a situation that they’re somehow responsible of things. It doesn’t feel so good anymore to get a positive Covid-19 test result.


With these things I believe both China and Taiwan have had pretty much the same policies in place in this pandemic. Their message to the public is: it didn’t come from us,We tried very hard to prevent it spreading freely, We helped other countries by offering support, help and equipment, We asked our people to be cautious; and We didn’t let them travel free, We controlled cases; and We requested people to avoid public places. Were these strategies in place with a reason or even controlled by same decision makers in both places?


Nobody knows for sure what has happened behind the scenes. A good advice is still to be careful, think about own actions and then follow the public guidance. I believe all countries try to do their best, but also get the right message out in communication, probably for a reason.


There’s still some interesting reporting and public speaking in Taiwan at the time I’m writing this. Many of the messages look so much different for me at the moment. If you do something wrong, it’s okay to admit it. At least in Finland.