Taiwan Newsletter Issue 149

Thanks messages for Taiwan donation of medical masks

Following the arrival by China Airlines of 7 million medical masks donated by Taiwan to countries in Europe, expressions of thanks were received from the respective countries, including the Netherlands.

Thanks messages were received from the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office (NTIO) in Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Members of Parliament in The Hague.

Taiwanese are still grateful to the Dutch people for offering skin tissues in 2015 to treat the many victims of a dust explosion in New Taipei City and are happy that they can reciprocate by the donation of medical masks.

The donation symbolizes Taiwan’s solidarity with the Netherlands in the battle against the COVID-19 threat.

Digital Minister Audrey Tang explains Taiwan’s strategy in containing the coronavirus

In an interview in national newspaper Trouw of April 19, digital Minister Audrey Tang explains the objectives and legal framework for creating a “digital fence” to prevent spreading of COVID-19 coronavirus in Taiwan and why the situation differs from that in the Netherlands. For more info:



Bill Gates: Taiwan’s handling of coronavirus ‘exemplary’

In an interview with Chris Wallace on the Fox News program "Fox News Sunday," Gates cited Taiwan as a primary example of a country that has handled the pandemic more effectively than others. He also suggested that the U.S. learn from the island nation's implementation of epidemic control policies.

Although the Gates Foundation had donated US$100 million to fight the disease on Feb. 5, Gates claimed the U.S. government was very slow to respond, delaying proper action by two months.

When asked by Wallace what the setback of two months had cost the U.S., Gates highlighted Taiwan as an "exemplary" country because it quickly identified the problem and initiated community-wide testing early on, prioritizing who got tested first.

As a result, Taiwan would not suffer from the "disease burden or economic effect" that other nations would, Gates said.

Investigation Bureau: 70 percent of fake COVID-19 news from China

Taiwan has detected a growing number of cases of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic since late February, of which more than 70 percent originated from China, according to the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB).

This rise in disinformation was likely sparked by Chinese netizens who were displeased by Taiwanese criticism of how China had managed the outbreak, MJIB official Chang Yu-jen said at a briefing.

Of the 271 fake news cases the MJIB was investigating, 196 originated from China, and 35 suspects have been handed over to prosecutors, according to Chang.

Taiwan ranks No.43 on global press freedom list

Taiwan fell one place to rank No.43 on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, announced by the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday April 21.

Out of 180 countries surveyed, South Korea finished just one spot ahead of Taiwan at No.42, with Japan listed at No.66, Hong Kong at No.80.and China at No.177.

In the report about Taiwan titled “Media independence on hold,” RSF said that local journalists were part of “a very polarized media environment dominated by sensationalism and the pursuit of profit.” While political interference was rare, the government of President Tsai Ing-wen had taken few concrete measures to strengthen the editorial independence of journalists and raise the quality of reporting, RSF said.

The comments about Taiwan’s situation also noted interference from Beijing, with the communist neighbor spreading disinformation and pressuring Taiwanese media owners through their business interests in China.

The Chinese “fake news” could provoke Taiwan into taking “questionable retaliatory measures,” RSF said, naming the refusal of visas to Chinese reporters as to be seen as hostile.