2016 had been a tough year for Taiwan, the jewel of an island nation that China views as an illegitimate breakaway province. In January, it elected a new president–a progressive female law professor who takes a decidedly dim view of the Communist tyranny a few hundred miles from Taiwan’s shores. Mainland China, Taiwan’s largest trading partner, was incensed by the Taiwanese people’s daring to make a democratic decision—the temerity! And so it began a campaign of collective punishment.
Tourism from the mainland, a key source of revenue for Taiwan, was severely curtailed. And Taiwan was humiliated on the international stage repeatedly. First, at Beijing’s behest, it was snubbed by ICAO. When the United Nations’ aviation safety group met in Montreal earlier this year, Taiwan wasn’t even allowed in as a guest. Then the democratic island of 23 million was given the cold shoulder by INTERPOL. When the global law enforcement group got together in November, Taiwan was shut out again. Despite its remarkable achievements—creating an open, prosperous country with a robust democratic political culture, all in the shadow of an aggressive tyranny hell-bent on reclaiming it—2016 saw Taiwan become, increasingly, a Rodney Dangerfield nation, commanding little to no respect on the global stage.