How China’s Coronavirus Crisis, Like the SARS Epidemic, Was Worsened by the Communist Party’s Penchant for Secrecy
An outbreak of a new coronavirus that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan has already infected over 6,000 people – mostly in China, but also in several other countries, from Thailand to France to the United States – and killed more than 100. Given China’s history of disease outbreaks – including of severe acute respiratory syndrome and African swine fever – and officials’ apparent awareness of the need to strengthen their capacity to address “major risks”, how could this happen?
It should be no surprise that history is repeating itself in China. To maintain its authority, the Communist Party of China must keep the public convinced that everything is going according to plan. That means carrying out systemic cover-ups of scandals and deficiencies that may reflect poorly upon the party’s leadership, instead of doing what is necessary to respond.