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Opinion

EDITORIAL - What China can learn from Western nations

The Freeman
EDITORIAL - What China can learn from Western nations

Many countries continue to struggle against COVID-19, but it seems that China, where the coronavirus came from, is getting the worst of it. Just the other day alone some 40,000 new cases of infections were reported.

To deal with this threat, China has imposed a series of “snap” lockdowns that can be called down upon any city or region at any time, with very little allowance for people to adjust.

Now people in different parts of that country are protesting against what they call extreme policies. We aren’t talking about angry words on their version of social media, we are talking about them marching in the streets and scuffling with policemen, with many of them calling for the ouster of President Xi Jinping and the stepping down of the Communist Party.

However, this isn’t about politics. For this editorial we would like to talk about how China could have avoided this scenario in the first place.

China can learn from Western countries when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, specifically how to listen and how to talk to its people.

For one thing, it should learn to listen to its experts in science and diseases. We must not forget that China had the chance to nip this pandemic in the bud if it had listened to one of its own instead of just silencing him.

If Chinese authorities had heeded Dr. Li Wenliang’s warning in December of 2019 that a SARS-like virus was about to get out of control, it would have been an entirely different 2020 for the world. However the government chose to silence him instead, in effect allowing the virus to spread throughout China and later throughout the world where it is wreaking havoc until now.

For another thing, China should learn how to talk to its people instead of always going for the truncheon when they gather in protest.

This is the problem with authoritarian nations; they cannot afford to look bad. They seek to always project an image of normalcy even if all is not normal, they need to prove that they are always right even if they aren’t.

And when the smallest display of dissent surfaces, they immediately become paranoid and treat it with violence.

China has a good history of medical expertise. However, it’s more likely that the voices of their experts are being eclipsed by those who are more concerned with protecting their hold on power than getting rid of the pandemic.

If China doesn’t listen to those who really know how to deal with the situation or talk to those who are getting the worst of it it risks an endless cycle of reopenings, lockdowns, and protests.

COVID-19

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