CCP and Mr. Xi’s Learning Disability

Two full months into the Covid-19 crisis, we see where Mr. Xi’s crackdown on communication and openness has taken him.  He is himself in no danger, but CCP runs into a conceptual wall with free flow of information. That is a disability – a learning disability – for CCP and China now.

CCP has always shown itself to be flexible and adaptable.  That has been a strength.  But with a modern middle class society, and an arteriosclerotic governing structure, the crisis points out two things - limits of CCP tolerance for free flow of information in the Xi era and people’s anger, anxiety, and disgust at censorship of their heartfelt emotions. 

For leaders, information does not want to be free - in US or China

(Note: update at February 13 - Hubei has changed the manner of identifying virus infections, and the new system overnight adds about 15,000 people to the total.  The number of deaths is also changed, but obviously the government will not go back and change death certificates from the last month.  I have no access to the statistics, only reports from Chinese of illnesses and deaths, but an increase in the total of cases seems necessary.  There were just too many stories, too close to home.  The new count coincides with the change of the Wuhan and Hubei CCP leaders.  Politically, it will now be possible to identify the crisis with the former leaders, and the end of the crisis with changes made by Mr. Xi.  This is the China wechat meme of the moment.)

We should not waste the coronavirus crisis.

Whether or not it turns into a full-fledged pandemic, surprises and lessons already have emerged that demand attention and need to be learned by Chinese -- also by America and the rest of the world.

Masks of the Red (Cross) Death

You remember the Edgar Allan Poe story - The Masque of the Red Death

Prospero and 1,000 other nobles have taken refuge in this walled abbey to escape the Red Death, a terrible plague with gruesome symptoms that has swept over the land. Victims are overcome by "sharp pains", "sudden dizziness", and "profuse bleeding at the pores", and die within half an hour. Prospero and his court are indifferent to the sufferings of the population at large; they intend to await the end of the plague in luxury and safety behind the walls of their secure refuge, having welded the doors shut.

Update at January 30 - regarding the doctor who was disciplined for sharing information on the virus with his wechat group - there are now eight doctors in Wuhan who have been so disciplined.  In at least one case, the information sharing was among a wechat group of doctors involved in treating the infection.  You know the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished."  No doubt these doctors -involved as they were in fighting this disease, without break for days - forgot the cardinal rule I mentioned below in the original post - "no one should comment without knowing all the facts."  Only the government can know all the facts. 

Breaking – Coronavirus information now under control   Tuesday, January 28  10:00 AM

 From three days ago -

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/25/c_138733715.htm

According to the meeting, Xi has been paying very close attention to the outbreak as he held multiple meetings, heard many reports and made important instructions on the matter, demanding Party committees and governments at all levels and related departments to put people's life and health as the top priority.

From yesterday -

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/27/c_138737735.htm

… Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of a leading group of the CPC Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak, extended regards to the medical workers at the frontline on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.