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The Economist lists Taiwan as contender for country of the year

Taiwan fought the pandemic, saw its economy grow, and stood up to China

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Taiwan has still been organizing mass events, such as the Christmasland concert (New Taipei City Government photo)

Taiwan has still been organizing mass events, such as the Christmasland concert (New Taipei City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan was listed as one of The Economist’s choices for country of the year 2020 — though in the end, the British magazine picked Malawi, reports said Friday (Dec. 18).

While originally the winning country had to make considerable progress over the previous year, most countries instead tried to avoid regression as “premature death and economic contraction became the new normal,” The Economist wrote.

Taiwan was featured on the five-nation list because of its campaign to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its determination to stand up to threats from China. The country succeeded in achieving what most failed to do, positive economic growth during the pandemic, The Economist reported.

Only seven people died from the virus, while schools, restaurants, and shops operated normally without a need for lockdowns.

The magazine also noted how China has been escalating its threats of military force against Taiwan, sending military planes and ships closer and more frequently. Yet, Taiwanese voters still re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) by a large margin in January.

New Zealand also featured on The Economist’s list because of its efforts against the pandemic; the United States because of Operation Warp Speed, developing a vaccine and because of President Donald Trump’s defeat; and Bolivia because of democratic presidential elections ending a period of chaos.

However, the winner of the accolade “country of the year” went to Malawi, due to its people’s protests against elections widely regarded as rigged and unfair. In the end, the southern African country elected a new president in June, defending democracy despite widespread poverty, The Economist noted.