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Mon Jan 11, 2021, 07:39 AM

Liberal voices in China fall silent after coronavirus


Apart from government crackdown and state censorship, liberal-leaning dissidents and intellectuals faced an unprecedented dilemma as many felt their voices were being lost as the Western models they advocate seem to have failed the pandemic stress test in the eyes of the Chinese public.

Byron Chen Chun, a Shenzhen-based political scholar who recently published the book Political Affect and the Rebirth of Liberalism, said it was a “low-tide” for China’s liberalism and liberal-leaning groups.

“I have repeatedly thought of what a breakthrough might look like for the liberals in China but the more I thought about it, the more pessimistic I got. So much that I have dialled back from writing the past year,” he said.

“China has become more confident from its successful handling of the coronavirus and this is especially so when compared to the rapid decline seen in the majority of Western nations. Even though China is still recovering from the pandemic, it is still progressing when other Western countries are still struggling to contain coronavirus chaos.

“Liberalism that promotes Western democratic institutions has therefore become increasingly unconvincing or irrelevant for the Chinese people at a time like this.”


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