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Same for the decision to go ahead with the first round of local elections, only to hastily cancel the second round sine die. Decisions are taken at the last minute with little anticipation, because until recently, the priority was the health of the economy over the health of the public. Neoliberalism in action.

The Chinese leadership may be taking a similar gamble:

Life after lockdown: has China really beaten coronavirus?

Others say it is a balancing act for the leadership. Since the beginning of this month, leaders in Beijing, including Xi, have emphasised the need to meet economic and development targets, in a year where the Chinese economy was already expected to struggle. A taskforce has been touring the country to make sure local authorities, bound by competing demands of restarting production but preventing new infections, are following orders.

"Now the leadership has put a very heavy emphasis on resuming economic activity," said Victor Shih, a politics professor at the University of California, San Diego.

"One way to resume economic activity without panic is to cover up cases while still doing the government's best to trace and contain them," he said. "There is a risk it will lead to another outbreak but for now that seems like a risk the government is willing to take."

by Bernard on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 at 07:09:59 PM EST
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