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Fri May 15, 2020, 12:12 PM

David Corn: A New Report Shows What Really Happened With China's Coronavirus Response

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/05/a-new-report-shows-what-really-happened-with-chinas-coronavirus-response/


5 hours ago
A New Report Shows What Really Happened With China’s Coronavirus Response
It’s not good for the regime—or for Trump.
David Corn
Washington, DC, Bureau ChiefBio | Follow

snip//

Moreover, Chinese officials intimidated and censored doctors and others who sought to share with the public information about the epidemic. One example from the CRS report: “The day after the team of scientists led by Prof. Yong-zhen Zhang of Fudan University in Shanghai became the first to share the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the world, Shanghai authorities closed down Professor Zhang’s laboratory for ‘rectification,’ implying it is being investigated for unspecified wrongdoing.” And in January, China turned down offers from the US government to send a team of experts from the Centers for Disease Control to Wuhan.

“It remains unclear who was responsible for decisions to withhold information in the early weeks,” the CRS report says. But things did get better.

As the report puts it:

The Chinese leadership’s approach to the epidemic changed dramatically on January 20. On that day, a medical expert lauded for his role in the SARS epidemic, Zhong Nanshan, officially confirmed human-to-human transmission and medical worker infections. China’s National Health Commission declared novel coronavirus-caused pneumonia a statutory notifiable infectious disease under the PRC Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases. China also amended the PRC Health and Quarantine Law, opening the way for mandatory quarantines and lock-downs. The day ended with General Secretary Xi issuing an “important instruction,” carried in all major media, to prioritize novel coronavirus prevention and control work.


After three weeks of not assiduously reporting and sharing information on this new killer threat, the Chinese government finally moved in the right direction. It certainly deserves criticism for sitting on important data—and Trump defenders can latch onto this. But in some ways, the Chinese story, as told by the CRS timeline, highlights Trump’s own inadequate response. It notes that Trump was first briefed on the epidemic on January 18 by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and that on January 23 National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien informed Trump about the potential pandemic threat posed by the coronavirus. Yet Trump did not take immediate action. He issued tweets praising China’s management of the crisis and hailed its “transparency.” On January 30, he did create a White House task force and the next day he ordered the travel ban blocking entry into the United States of foreigners who had been in China (a ban of limited effectiveness). But he spent much of January and February discounting the coronavirus threat and taking few concrete steps to prepare for a possible pandemic.

China, in the opening weeks of this pandemic, did not sufficiently share with its people and the world important information about the coronavirus crisis, and that might have impeded the global response. Yet Trump took longer than the Chinese government to acknowledge the threat and adopt serious measures. (Months later, he still has not done enough to create a testing and tracing regimen or to provide protective equipment to health care workers.) So Trump and his henchmen, searching for a distraction, can try to scapegoat the Chinese government as the number-one culprit, but as Confucius said, “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof when your own doorstep is unclean.”

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Reply David Corn: A New Report Shows What Really Happened With China's Coronavirus Response (Original post)
babylonsister May 15 OP
Voltaire2 May 15 #1
judeling May 15 #2
duforsure May 15 #3

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:22 PM

1. On the other hand China, with its huge densely populated cities, has successfully contained the

virus.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:44 PM

2. You also have to understand how authority works in China also

Within the party line regional authorities have great power and leeway. However if a problem trickles up to the central government the consequences can be severe and actually deadly.

Much of the problem with transparency we hear about China derives from that.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri May 15, 2020, 12:58 PM

3. I've been thinking about what happened there,

It would not be surprising if they were scared to inform people in their government because of political intimidation for doing so, and personal harm. Trumps almost that way here. People in China have gone missing from this too, and Putin has had 3 who fell out of windows killing 2 of them. They may have feared for theirs and their family's lives.

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