The People’s Republic of China Public Health Spokesperson reaffirmed that China would maintain its zero-COVID policies, which have recently attracted the ire of the elite media across the world. Media firms from the Economist to the BBC have lambasted such life-valuing policies as naive and for damaging growth, despite the crippling closures of schools, essential businesses, and even short-staffing in hospitals plaguing the US, UK and EU, which were plunged into chaos through their own failed policies.
Taiwan’s CECC, which has until now maintained an unspoken zero-COVID aim, and which recently has been battling a massive increase in its domestic spread after the government, for a third consecutive time sparked a crisis, arbitrarily lowering the quarantining requirements for those heading from overseas.
Despite the devastation being witnessed in Europe and the United States, both of which are facing thousands dead daily, the Taiwanese CECC has decided to take two pages out of their failed playbooks. They are, on one hand, introducing the much maligned vaccine-passport system, while also refusing to raise the alert level, despite the explosion in cases.
This is indicative of a new strategy in Taiwan, dictated by economic interests over either public health, or the wishes of its citizens, who have largely demanded increased restrictions and alert levels to curb the flow. (Poll)
Taipei Mayor Ke Wen-zhe has already admitted defeat, and has given up on his citizens, publicly proclaiming that the government has lost control over the spread.
Despite polling indicating that most Taiwanese are actually in favor of strong public health measures, the media has also begun a propaganda campaign encouraging Taiwanese people to opt to maintain the economic status quo with slogans like, “treat it like the flu and try to live with it peacefully” (把它當作流感病毒一樣，試圖與病毒和平共處).
It appears that the government and powerful elites, like those in the US and EU, mistakenly believes that high levels of vaccination will be sufficient to prevent economic and social collapse should they surrender, or simply prefer to avoid lockdowns even at an incredible social cost.
From the alternative perspective of the CCP through their Public Health Spokesperson, the Omicron variant will not be the last, and rather than potentially committing national suicide by allowing unchecked spread through the population, careful pandemic prevention through a COVID-zero policy remains the best option.
Should the DPP fail to heed the warnings of its people, basic science, and 800 years of human history in terms of the value of quarantines, they may find that a stable China governed by the CCP may appear more appealing than the chaos of an economy-centric technocracy that no longer puts the lives of its people first. This would tragically erase the hard-won legitimacy gains the pro-democratic side of the political spectrum in Taiwan had enjoyed after the PRC’s crushing of the Hong Kong Protests, and the initial Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak and coverup in 2019. Taiwan’s very future may lay in the hands of the CECC over the coming days, and their decisions regarding whether to prioritize the profit-margins of the service industry, or the health of their citizens.
Staff writer: Ari B