While the numbers of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus are accelerating and the peak of the crisis is projected to still be a few weeks away (1), the question of whether China’s centralized governmental system has been helping or hurting outbreak control remains.
A Financial Times article provides an interesting angle on this discussion by describing how the mechanics of China’s centralized system have worsened its ability to quickly contain the coronavirus epidemic.
The article quotes Wu Qiang, a former lecturer of politics at Tsinghua University in Beijing: “It is during a public health emergency like this that we really see the flaws of China’s political system and how the bureaucracy has weakened [under Xi],” said Mr Wu. “Everyone – from the central government to the local government to the bureaucracy to the party to the military – was waiting for orders from the ‘supreme leader’ before acting.”
You can read more here:
“Coronavirus poses challenge for China’s centralised system”, Financial Times, January 30, 2020, by Christian Shepherd in Beijing and Sue-Lin Wong in Shenzhen
(1) “Coronavirus May Infect Up to 500,000 in Wuhan Before It Peaks”, Bloomberg, February 8, 2020 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-08/virus-outbreak-in-wuhan-may-soon-peak-with-more-than-5-infected