How democratic Taiwan outperformed authoritarian China on coronavirus outbreak


Taiwan’s example proves that the free flow of information is the best treatment for the coronavirus outbreak, analyst Victor (Lin) Pu writes for The Diplomat:

 …..Even though Taiwan has not been kept officially informed by the WHO about the epidemic, the Taiwanese government promptly undertook measures to prevent the spread of the virus in Taiwan in late December last year, and organized the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) in January 2020. Since the set-up of the CECC, it has been holding a press conference almost every day to announce the latest policy and information on the epidemic. …..Taiwan’s active civil society also plays a critical role in this crisis. To save people time in looking for stores selling face masks, a Taiwanese software engineer built an online real-time map that can show where masks are stocked in convenience stores and drugstores . ….Another case of civic participation is the engagement of Taiwanese fact-check institutions and groups, including Taiwan FactCheck Center (TFC) and MyGoPen. RTWT


The Chinese government could have decreased the outbreak’s size by being more transparent, says Xiao Qiang (above), the editor in chief of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) partner China Digital Times, a news site that focuses on content suppressed by China’s state censors.

By containing the coverage, by providing the censorship and denial and information withheld and propaganda, it destroyed the public trust that is very much needed at the time of fighting with the epidemic, he told PBS’s NewsHour.

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