Over the past twenty years Taiwan has completed the transition to democracy, but the SARS crisis of 2003 unleashed large-scale social turmoil and in-fighting among elected officials that severely undermined public trust in the government and the medical system. Politicians tried to turn the outbreak to their advantage, government offices issued contradictory directives, medical workers blatantly challenged quarantine orders, and panicked citizens acted to protect their lives at the expense of the common good. These chaotic responses seriously hampered effective disease control. However, perhaps the most disturbing implications of the events of that period were those regarding the strength of Taiwanese civil society. Would it endure or quickly unravel in the face of the new challenges of the global economy of the twenty-first century? And how does one make sense of the “uncivil” behavior of officials, medical professionals, and citizens during the crisis?