Coronavirus Crisis Offers Taiwan a Chance to Push Back Against China

TAIPEI, Taiwan — They are sending millions of masks, emblazoned with the words “made in Taiwan,” to the United States, Italy and other countries hit hard by the coronavirus. They are denouncing Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organization. They are flaunting celebrity endorsements and creating hashtags like #TaiwanCanHelp.

Officials in Taiwan are attempting to turn their success in battling the coronavirus at home into a geopolitical win. Taiwan is competing with China on pandemic aid diplomacy in defiance of Beijing’s efforts to isolate the self-ruled democratic island that it claims as its own. The island is promoting itself as a model of democracy to try to undercut China’s own campaign to use the crisis to tout the strength of its authoritarian system.

“We can see that this is a good opportunity for us to let people know that Taiwan is a good global citizen,” Taiwan’s vice president, Chen Chien-jen, said this week in an interview in Taipei. “We have to fight for our participation.”