Taiwan ranks No. 24 on World Happiness Report, happiest in East Asia

03/20/2021 01:52 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

New York, March 19 (CNA) Taiwan took the 24th spot on the 2021 World Happiness Report, up one notch from a year earlier, among 149 countries and regions on the globe, according to the report.

The 24th spot was the highest spot Taiwan has secured after the World Happiness Report was released for the first time in 2012. In the latest report, Taiwan continued to be the happiest country in East Asia.

The World Happiness Report, a publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, was released a day before the International Day of Happiness.

In the 2021 report, Taiwan scored 6,584 points, up from 6,455 seen in the 2020 report.

"2020 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 four counterparts in East Asia -- China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan -- the report said, Taiwan recorded the lowest COVID-19 infections as it was able to learn from its experience with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which hit the country and its neighbors in 2003 and reacted rapidly to the pandemic by conducting thorough virus tracing and imposing strict quarantine on arrivals.

In addition, Taiwan was good in allocating personal protective equipment, while the government remained transparent in disseminating the information about the disease and the public had high awareness in self-protection, the report said.

In the report, Finland took the top spot, scoring 7,842 points ahead of 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 was the fourth consecutive year for Finland to be the happiest country in the world.

China ranked No. 84 in the 2021 report, down from No. 52 in 2000.

Since Taiwan is not a member of the UN, the report designated it as "Taiwan province of China."

In response, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York said it has launched a solemn protest, calling for respect for 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 said on its Twitter page.

"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," the office said in a Facebook message.

(By Ozy Ying and Frances Huang)

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