DW: What might be the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Chinese government? Zhang Lifan: The epidemic exposes the flaws in the modernization of governance that the Chinese government has been boasting about. It is clear that China hasn’t truly modernized its governance system, and 17 years after the SARS epidemic, it also hasn’t established a public epidemic prevention system. In a way, this epidemic exposes another kind of virus in China, which is the “virus of bureaucracy.” China’s governance system remains totalitarian and hierarchical rather than modernized. That’s why when Beijing has to deal with a large-scale epidemic, its governance style remains fragile. Beijing has been trying to control the narrative about the coronavirus epidemic, including censoring relevant conversations online. How do you assess the motivation and impact of Beijing’s tight control over freedom of speech? The Chinese government’s mishandling of the epidemic has a lot to do with its censorship. However, in order to maintain the stability of the regime, they have no bandwidth for actually containing the virus outbreak. The most important thing to the Chinese Communist Party is to safeguard its regime. Read more: From bats to pangolins, how do viruses reach us? If we take… Read full this story
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