China

Hace apenas un mes, China estaba al centro de la epidemia del coronavirus COVID-19. Cada día se informaba de miles de nuevas infecciones. Los hospitales estaban colapsados. La población moría de a cientos. Nadie podía salir de sus hogares. Pero el draconiano confinamiento ordenado por el gobierno parece haber funcionado: la enfermedad parece ahora bajo control. Y, aparentemente, las autoridades chinas han pasado por alto sus lecciones más básicas.

Para ver esto, vale la pena revisar cómo manejaron la crisis. Tras enterarse de que un nuevo coronavirus había surgido en Wuhan, en la provincia de Hubei, el primer instinto de las autoridades locales fue, como sabemos, suprimir la información.…  Seguir leyendo »

While the world is busy trying to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Chinese authorities last week pulled credentials from journalists at three major media outlets: the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and The Post. What is particularly shocking about this retaliatory move, after the Trump administration took action against several Chinese Communist Party-controlled outlets, is that for the first time, those foreign correspondents are also barred from reporting from Hong Kong and Macau.

This is an unprecedented decision. For decades, Hong Kong has long been known as a bastion of press freedom in the region. With protections by independent courts and civil liberties enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law (equivalent to its Constitution), foreign media have been able to operate free from intervention from autocratic China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Will the coronavirus outbreak undermine the Chinese Communist Party’s rule? For China-watchers, this is a big question at the moment. Public health crises pose unique challenges to the Chinese government, not least due to the lack of free information flow and misaligned political incentives of central and local officials.

Some analysts believe this health crisis has revived political dissent. They point to new writings by intellectuals like political activist Xu Zhiyong, a legal scholar and civil rights advocate; and Tsinghua University law professor Xu Zhangrun, both of whom have criticized the government response to the outbreak and political injustice in general.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nada hay nuevo bajo el sol. El autor de Qohéleth cinceló una expresión que tiene la fortuna de no parecer sacada de una charla sobre coaching. La frase resulta aplicable al coronavirus. Las nuevas rutas abiertas en el siglo XIII por exploradores italianos –Marco Polo fue el más célebre de aquellos pioneros– trajeron de Extremo Oriente, además de la seda y las especias, la peste negra, cuyo foco original hervía en China. Varias centurias más tarde, a través de una nueva Ruta de la Seda, llega otra epidemia. Pero no forcemos la analogía. Nada hace pensar que las consecuencias de la enfermedad del Covid-19 resulten similares a la plaga que asoló el Medioevo; las condiciones sanitarias de aquel mundo no guardan comparación con las de la actualidad.…  Seguir leyendo »

Un ami indien m’apprend que chez lui on parle de «communovirus». Comment ne pas l’avoir déjà pensé ? C’est l’évidence même ! Et quelle admirable et totale ambivalence : le virus qui vient du communisme, le virus qui nous communise. Voilà qui est beaucoup plus fécond que le dérisoire corona qui évoque de vieilles histoires monarchiques ou impériales. D’ailleurs c’est à détrôner, sinon décapiter le corona que doit s’employer le communo.

C’est bien ce qu’il semble faire selon sa première acception puisqu’en effet il provient du plus grand pays du monde dont le régime est officiellement communiste. Il ne l’est pas seulement à titre officiel : comme l’a déclaré le président Xi Jinping, la gestion de l’épidémie virale démontre la supériorité du «système socialiste à caractéristiques chinoises».…  Seguir leyendo »

Considero al presidente de China culpable de ser el origen de la epidemia mundial del virus de Wuhan, el cual ha causado miles de muertes en todo el mundo y una recesión económica que asolará nuestro planeta durante varios años. En principio, los tribunales internacionales, como el de La Haya, juzgan solo los crímenes de guerra en el sentido estricto del término. Pero la epidemia mundial contra un adversario esquivo es una forma de guerra de naturaleza bacteriológica.

El tribunal que debería acusar a Xi Jinping podría añadir a su expediente el genocidio que se está perpetrando actualmente contra los uigures.…  Seguir leyendo »

China has reported fewer and fewer confirmed coronavirus cases over the past three weeks, culminating in a statement that Wuhan had seen zero new local cases for four days in a row, from March 18 to 21. Elsewhere in China, 46 new cases were reported on March 22, all but one attributed to travelers arriving from abroad.

What can we learn from Chinese statistics, and can we trust those numbers?

Numbers have long defined Chinese politics

Chinese officials pay particular attention to numbers, especially key statistical measures such as GDP growth, fiscal revenue and investment, which have long been core parts of the Communist Party’s system for evaluating officials.…  Seguir leyendo »

A lire les nouvelles des premiers jours du confinement en France, il semble que le monde ait basculé dans une nouvelle époque: l’Europe est l’épicentre d’une pandémie majeure, les Etats-Unis s’y préparent en ordre dispersé et la Chine, qui a contrôlé cette épidémie en quelques mois par des mesures massives, envoie son aide au reste du monde sous la forme de masques, de respirateurs et de médecins. La déclaration martiale du président de la République donne à ces premiers jours de «guerre» des airs de 1914: nous ne savons pas combien de temps durera la mobilisation, mais nous savons qu’elle a déjà commencé à bouleverser l’ordre du monde.…  Seguir leyendo »

Medical workers from outside Wuhan pose for pictures with a Chinese Communist Party flag at the Wuhan Railway Station before leaving the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday. (Stringer/Reuters)

It’s crucial for our health and safety that the United States push back against the Chinese government’s efforts to rewrite the history of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also crucial we don’t fuel racism or stigmatize Chinese citizens or Chinese Americans while doing so. The key to accomplishing both goals is to separate the way we talk about the Chinese people from the way we talk about their rulers in Beijing.

President Trump insists on calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” His rationale for doing so is simplistic but technically accurate: Chinese officials are intentionally spreading the lie the virus may have originated in the United States to deflect blame from their own early failings.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volunteers waving the Chinese flag send off the China national emergency medical team at the Tianhe airport in Wuhan, China, on Tuesday. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

In early 1952, the three-year-old People’s Republic of China faced a public relations crisis in the middle of the Korean War. After agreeing to let prisoners of war decide where they wanted to go after hostilities ended, officials were dismayed to learn that more than half of the 170,000 Chinese POWs had opted not to return to mainland China, an embarrassing public rejection of the communist system taking root there.

Desperate to divert the world’s attention from the POW debacle, on Feb. 22, 1952, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, claimed that U.S. forces were waging biological warfare against China.…  Seguir leyendo »

Staff in protective suits accompany passengers outside a centralized facility for screening and registration near the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on Tuesday. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The Chinese authorities are engaged in a full-scale effort to rewrite the history of the coronavirus epidemic. Some in the West might be tempted to dismiss the significance of Beijing’s propaganda efforts. But they shouldn’t. The ever-expanding campaign to obscure the truth about the origins and details of the virus is risking lives.

On Tuesday, during a State Department news conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Chinese Communist Party for hiding information and spreading false narratives about the coronavirus. He also criticized Beijing for its decision to expel all U.S. journalists from The Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal:

«The disinformation campaign that they are waging is designed to shift responsibility,” he said.…  Seguir leyendo »

A person walks through a quiet Times Square in New York on Monday. (Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The State Department pushed back last week on Chinese statements suggesting that the coronavirus originated with U.S. military personnel in Wuhan — rather than a live animal market in Wuhan. Lijian Zhao, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, posted statements to this effect on Twitter and Chinese social media, but offered no substantive evidence.

Last week, President Trump called the coronavirus a “foreign” virus. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has repeatedly mentioned a debunked conspiracy theory that a Chinese bioweapons lab in Hubei created the virus.

As the United States and China apparently ramp up efforts to blame each other for the outbreak, the two governments responded to the coronavirus itself in one surprisingly similar way: Each government’s official response has been riddled with costly communication delays.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Washington, there’s a lot of talk about how the coronavirus crisis could increase the push for more economic decoupling with China. But the Chinese government is thinking about it in exactly the opposite way. Beijing is preparing to use the crisis to advance China’s economic strategy against us. We better start taking notice.

For three years, the Trump administration has been trying to pressure China to stop its economic aggression and unfair trade practices, using tariffs, negotiations and measures to protect U.S. industries. Beijing has hated this strategy from the start and only reluctantly struck a “Phase One” trade deal that addresses few of these issues.…  Seguir leyendo »

General Secretary Xi Jinping this week made his first visit to Wuhan since the covid-19 outbreak upended all corners of Chinese society. Xi’s trip was designed to reassure the public that their government has the virus contained — and things will get back to normal.

But China’s propaganda apparatus has been in high gear since January. What is the official playbook, and has the propaganda been effective?

Focus on success — and heroism

Studies show modern authoritarian governments increasingly turn to information manipulation, rather than relying on ideological indoctrination or physical repression to maintain rule. They do this to generate an image of competence and increase public support.…  Seguir leyendo »

As covid-19 spreads around world, China has touted its efforts to bring the novel coronavirus outbreak swiftly under control under President Xi Jinping’s leadership. Bruce Aylward of WHO’s China mission commended China’s “bold approach,” saying that the “the key learning from China is speed — it’s all about the speed.”

But the real story is more complex. Although China’s national authorities acted decisively after Jan. 23, there were key deficiencies at the outset. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Politics overruled the truth

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, was getting ready in early January for the Jan. 6-17 “two sessions,” where local and provincial leaders would gather to discuss the state of affairs at the local/provincial levels.…  Seguir leyendo »

The official Chinese response to the covid-19 outbreak that began in Wuhan and has now spread across the globe is an almost perfect metaphor for China in 2020. An outbreak that began with local malfeasance in Hubei has become a worldwide crisis.

Like the economy, China’s domestic political challenges have now become globalized. Here’s what this outbreak tells us about the politics and perils of Chinese domestic governance.

Local fragmentation can have a far wider impact

The epidemic shows how the most micro-level domestic fragmentation across functional and regional dimensions of the Chinese political system can affect people all over the world.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing on Monday. As propagandists were preparing a book praising his handling of the epidemic, two well-known critics of China’s party-state published searing analyses of what the outbreak has really exposed.Credit...Yan Yan/Xinhua, via Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party has always been quick to congratulate itself for how it deals with crises, be they natural disasters or catastrophes of its own making. The coronavirus epidemic is no exception, even now that it has become a global health emergency. The government of China’s first response to the deadly virus, detected in late December, was dilatory at best, willfully negligent at worst, and yet the party promptly lavished praise on the state, particularly on China’s president, Xi Jinping.

“Seeking Truth,” the party’s leading theoretic journal, recently celebrated the fact that the “People’s Leader” had handled the disaster with unflappable confidence, proving himself to be not only “the guiding light of China and the backbone of 1.4…  Seguir leyendo »

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images A neighborhood committee member guarding the entrance of a residential building as efforts continued to control the spread of coronavirus infection, Beijing, China, February 28, 2020

I got a message in the back seat of a black sedan, a car that usually drives local officials: “It’s good you left. There’s a case on the seventeenth floor.” The sender was Ningning, whose family I had stayed with for over two weeks, and whom I had left, clutching a water bottle in hand, back at her family’s complex on Danjiang Road in Shiyan. Her uncle had procured the car for me to take me to Wuhan’s Tianhe airport. She messaged me two hours into my trip away from her, and from quarantine in Hubei province.

I had missed the first British evacuation when my embassy didn’t get me a permit for the checkpoints in time, but I was trying to make the second.…  Seguir leyendo »

Todos hemos visto las imágenes apocalípticas de la ciudad china de Wuhan en cuarentena. El mundo contiene el aliento por temor a la difusión del nuevo coronavirus, COVID-19, y los gobiernos toman o preparan medidas drásticas que necesariamente conllevarán el sacrificio de derechos y libertades individuales en pos del bien común.

Algunos acusan a las autoridades chinas por su falta inicial de transparencia en relación con el brote. El filósofo Slavoj Žižek señaló que la obsesión con el COVID-19 manifiesta una “paranoia racista”, habiendo muchas enfermedades infecciosas peores que cada día causan la muerte de miles de personas. Los inclinados a aceptar teorías conspirativas creen que el virus es un arma biológica contra la economía china.…  Seguir leyendo »

El momento COVID-19 de China

El pasado mes de octubre, el Informe Global de Seguridad Sanitaria de 2019 incluyó una advertencia clara: “La seguridad sanitaria nacional es esencialmente débil en todo el mundo. Ningún país está plenamente preparado para las epidemias o las pandemias, y todos los países tienen deficiencias importantes que resolver”. Hace apenas un par de meses, surgió un nuevo coronavirus en Wuhan, China –y rápidamente demostró la precisión de la evaluación del informe.

El virus, hoy llamado COVID-19, fue descubierto por primera vez en la municipalidad de Wuhan en China, pero no fue tomado lo suficientemente en serio por las autoridades en las primeras semanas.…  Seguir leyendo »