Politics should take a back seat for the sake of Taiwanese still stranded in coronavirus-hit China

The painful negotiations over the repatriation of Taiwanese reflect the suspicion and broken communication channels that have marred cross-strait relations since Tsai Ing-wen took office.

By Jason Li Author

This Op-Ed was originally published in the South China Morning Post on March 11, 2020.

On February 3, a China Eastern flight carried 247 passengers home to Taiwan from coronavirus-stricken Wuhan. This apparent feat in cross-strait coordination came at a low point in relations, following the re-election in January of President Tsai Ing-wen from the historically independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party.Yet, hopes that successive flights would soon follow for the other Taiwanese who were still stranded in Hubei were quickly dashed. For 36 days after the first flight, disagreements between the two sides held up progress. It was only on March 10 that a second batch of evacuees were flown home, and they included only 361 of the 1,000 potential evacuees.

What caused the month-long delay, and why are the remaining 500-plus Taiwanese still not home?

Read the full op-ed in the South China Morning Post.

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