China and the corona virus – about current skepticism and support

07:53 by Hubert Fromlet, Kalmar

I have written before that China in recent weeks had low numbers of new corona cases, currently around 50-75 people on a daily basis – extremely low compared to other strongly affected countries. Consequently, the question shows up regularly whether China really has been successful in combatting the corona virus, i.e. whether the curve for corona infections really has been flattening out or even has started to go down.

My own long-lasting experience from application of Chinese statistical numbers is not really positive because of obvious qualitative shortcomings and lagging transparency. This is a historical burden for China also these days. It takes such a long time to create, improve or restore credibility in these respects. And if improvements finally really occur, they may not reach or convince previously doubtful (foreign) analysts.

Some weeks ago, I suggested in this blog that China unexpectedly could achieve  quite some gain in credibility once statistics on corona developments appear more reliable. However, doubts still seem to be motivated if such a change already has  happened yet or is intended to happen any time soon. As mentioned above, current numbers from China on new corona cases look by far too low compared to other countries (but I am no virologist). For example, it seems to have a negative impact on corona numbers that local authorities so far were not obliged to register those infections publicly that had no obvious symptoms of the disease. One can imagine that such organizational problems or downsizing attitudes also exist in other countries.

Things do not look encouraging either when watching the Chinese press and their positive reports on international recognition of Chinese corona efforts. However, I certainly would refrain from recommending Western virologists and other researchers to stop listening to Chinese experts about their fight against the corona virus. However, foreign analysts should be careful about directly using Chinese numbers in their studies. Learning about non-numerical Chinese corona experience may be very useful all the same.

And why shouldn’t strongly affected countries in Europe and other parts of the world resist to accept Chinese deliveries of corona-protective equipment to their hospitals? Even if China tries to use such support for gathering sympathy points from abroad?

We all live in a global community. All countries should assist and help each other whenever possible when human touch is needed.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
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