Why is China bullying Taiwan in the middle of the global pandemic?

In yet another telling aspect of Beijing’s response to the global coronavirus crisis, China is now busy bullying Taiwan.

Beijing has always claimed sovereignty over the island, even though the democratic republic has largely dropped its claim to be the mainland’s legitimate government. But China’s rulers seem especially eager to intimidate Taiwan in the wake of the global pandemic that began in Hubei Province.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, China in early February flew a number of H-6 bombers over the sea just southwest of the island and then into the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The next month, Beijing sent several J-11 jet fighters and KJ-500 early-warning aircraft over waters southwest of Taiwan, nearing the country’s air-defense zone.

The mainland described the latter incursion as carrying out “air-ground assault and fire support drills to further refine and test” combat capabilities.

Meanwhile, Beijing has insisted on keeping Taiwan out of World Health Organization work on the COVID-19 outbreak — even though the island managed to do a fantastic job of containing the virus.

Are China’s rulers worried that Taiwanese experts would spot their lies? Or do they fear that the republic, whose example shows that China could be free, would win global gratitude for offering more effective strategies for fighting the bug?

On that note, Taiwan is donating 10 million face masks to the United States, European nations and others. Unlike Beijing, it wants to be part of the solution.

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