Taiwan was ranked as the world’s 24th-happiest nation and the happiest in East Asia, in a report released on Friday that compared the happiness level in 149 countries and territories.
It was the highest Taiwan has ever ranked in the World Happiness Report, released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network since 2012, annually on the day before the International Day of Happiness, which was yesterday.
Taiwan scored 6,584 points, up from 6,455 in last year’s edition.
Last year “has been a year like no other. This whole report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared,” the report said. “Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic.”
Compared with its neighbors, China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, Taiwan recorded the fewest COVID-19 cases, as it drew from experience with the 2003 SARS outbreak, and conducted thorough virus tracing and imposed quarantines on arrivals from abroad, it said.
Taiwan successfully allocated personal protective equipment, and the government transparently provided information on the disease, the report said, adding that the Taiwanese public had shown high awareness on self-protection.
The happiest country in the world was Finland (7,842 points), followed by Denmark (7,620), Switzerland (7,571), Iceland (7,554), the Netherlands (7,464), Norway (7,392), Sweden (7,363), Luxembourg (7,324), New Zealand (7,277) and Austria (7,268), it showed.
It was the fourth consecutive year Finland has taken the top spot.
China ranked 84th, down from 52nd last year.
However, as Taiwan is not a member of the UN, the report showed it as “Taiwan province of China,” prompting a protest by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, which called on the UN to respect Taiwan’s integrity and sovereignty.
“Listing Taiwan under China is false, unacceptable, and a blatant disregard of our country’s free and vibrant democracy,” the office wrote on Twitter.
“Taiwan’s quality of life is based on the country being a vibrant democracy where freedom and human rights are upheld and protected, unlike in China. Listing Taiwan under China takes away from the work of the Taiwanese people,” it wrote on Facebook.
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense recommended that consumers avoid buying Chinese mobile phones and advised people to throw away the ones they have now after a government report found the devices had built-in censorship capabilities. Flagship phones sold in Europe by China’s smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp (小米) have a built-in ability to detect and censor terms such as “Free Tibet,” “Long live Taiwan independence” or “democracy movement,” Lithuania’s state-run cybersecurity body said on Tuesday. The capability in Xiaomi’s Mi 10T 5G phone software had been turned off for the “European Union region,” but can be turned on remotely at any time,
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