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Crisis tests China’s system of governance

17 1 0

HONG KONG – China’s decision to lock down the central city of Wuhan — with more people than London or New York — in a dramatic attempt to halt the spread of the deadly new coronavirus now rampaging across the country shocked even the World Health Organization, whose representative said a move to “contain a city of 11 million people is new to science.”

Other decisive acts followed and, by Sunday more than 56 million people in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, were quarantined, with many other cities taking their own steps to isolate the virus.

While such actions show determination, they may have come too late. Chinese President Xi Jinping himself acknowledged this, saying on Jan. 25, the first day of the year of the rat, that the spread of the deadly new virus was “accelerating.”

If taken weeks earlier, the virus could conceivably have been contained, but just four days after the Wuhan lockdown the number of cases had risen from 571 to more than 2,762 and the number of deaths had more than soared from 17 to 80. Now, every province in the country has been infected except Tibet.

Internationally, those affected include not only neighbors such as Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, but........

© The Japan Times