Opinion Pieces Discuss Chinese Governance Issues Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Bloomberg: WHO Needs to Quit Being Polite With China
Adam Minter, Bloomberg opinion columnist and author

“…[T]oo much political deference in a health emergency is a global risk in its own right. The WHO is uniquely positioned to demand more from China. It needs to do so now. … [I]t’s understandable that the WHO and Director-General Tedros have trodden carefully in their public statements about China’s response to the crisis — even when they know better. The WHO is undoubtedly frustrated by China’s well-documented efforts to cover up the early stages of the outbreak, but the agency realizes that airing such grievances will most likely only inhibit cooperation. Yet the WHO has gone beyond just keeping quiet. … Politics has its place in global health. But ultimately, the WHO must serve the interests of a global community at risk. Since early December, the WHO and its leadership have politely deferred to China. That should end now” (2/18).

Financial Times: What the coronavirus crisis tells us about Chinese governance
Charles Parton, senior associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute

“…It is right to look at the [Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP)] governance, what it means for President Xi Jinping and China, not least because the answers affect — and may infect — us all. … So far the CCP has played it by the textbook. Blaming local officials, exonerating the top leaders … censoring the media, threatening ‘rumor mongers.’ All of that breeds distrust and cynicism, both with the people and among officials. None of which is likely to threaten Mr. Xi’s hold on power. What might could arrive later: a collapsed economy, bankruptcies on a large scale, unemployment, unpaid wages and inflation … and agricultural failure … Those depend on successfully containing the virus and on how quickly China can return to work without causing a secondary surge of infections. … If Mr. Xi judges this incorrectly, he will face considerable turbulence. … The CCP’s governance system got off to a slow start in tackling the coronavirus crisis. As a result, it faces bigger challenges. … If Mr. Xi’s world is to end, it will not be with a bang or a whimper. But it might be with a broken economy” (2/18).

Houston Chronicle: U.S. Rep. Will Hurd: Coronavirus response reflects China’s lack of transparency
U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas)

“…Addressing [the coronavirus outbreak] must be a global effort, but China’s record of opacity has hindered efforts aimed at understanding its origins and mitigating its effect. … The [Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP)] lack of transparency and openness threatens both the health and economic security of the U.S. and the international community. To force China to change its behavior, maybe it’s time to impose restrictions on Chinese firms operating in the U.S. service sector or sanction Chinese officials and enterprises that target American firms to create more economic reciprocity. The United States and China are intertwined and both countries can coexist, but this will only become a reality if the CCP starts being transparent not just with the United States and the global community but with its own citizens. Hopefully, the chaos created by the Chinese government’s disastrous response to this latest global health threat is the wake-up call the CCP needs to realize they have to change their way” (2/19).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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