By Rorry Daniels

"As the world continues to struggle with managing the myriad challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic — public health, economic, socio-political — Taiwan’s response has stood out as a model of excellence. Contributing factors well-covered in the media include an early and forceful response and the integration of tech tools with new rules and procedures. But while Taiwan’s policy decision making process since January 2020 is a commendable feature of its response, the roots of its success in implementing those decisions were in the making for years.

Taiwan was suffering from extremely low public trust in government when President Tsai Ing-Wen came to power in 2016, due to complaints manifested in the Sunflower Movement opposing the Ma Ying-jeou administration’s more opaque approach to managing cross-Strait relations. The movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan for more than three weeks in 2014 and its success in pausing the cross-Strait trade services agreement buoyed Tsai’s electoral victory in 2016 and gave new energy to citizen participation in politics, including the formation of new political parties."

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