China’s Citizens and the Coronavirus

China's Citizens and the Coronavirus

Gabrielle Ott, Editor

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe and scientists’ race to stop it, the people of China are beginning to rebel against their government through social media. The Communist Party of China is the sole ruling party of Mainland China, and in the new threat of the coronavirus has begun to spread propaganda that their citizens deem to be untruthful and not respectful of the sacrifices made by those attempting to combat the virus. For example, just about everyone in China has heard about Li Wenliang, the doctor who tried to warn his colleagues and close friends to be prepared for the outbreak. He was detained by Chinese authorities and held for spreading this potentially life-saving information. Unfortunately, Wenliang contracted the virus and died from its complications. This sparked fury into China’s citizens, and they began to speak out. 

Weibo is a popular social media site in China that users have taken to in order to share their opinions. Users have posted everything from their concerns for healthcare workers to anger about how unprepared their country was. One user wrote, “Their sacrifices should be remembered. We should make sure that the tragedies won’t happen again, not highlighting ‘Sacrifice is glorious.'” This ‘Sacrifice is glorious mentality is also being questioned by citizens. State media accounts have posted pictures of female medical workers that had their head shaved. Questions were raised about if the women had been pressured into doing it and why men hadn’t done this as well. The hospital said that the women had chosen to do it on their own, but the public remained skeptical. 

Another thing that has become sources of anger are the many stories that have been shared of people asking for medical help from their apartments, only for no one from an overwhelmed healthcare system to come. Citizens say this shows that officials didn’t take the threat of the virus seriously enough when it first came and didn’t take precautionary measures they should have. This led to the possible exposure of many more people meaning more deaths and critical hospital beds taken up. 

The skepticism is what is causing the faith to be lost in the leaders of China. Overall, their citizens just want the truth when it comes to the effect and numbers of the virus. They want to be prepared for themselves and their families so they can get through this crisis. Xiao, a teacher in Wuhan told The Guardian, “Before, I always believed what the government said. Now I don’t know who to believe.” 

Yuan, Li. “Coronavirus Weakens China’s Powerful Propaganda Machine.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 26 Feb. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/business/china-coronavirus-propaganda.html. 

Kuo, Lily. “Coronavirus Shakes Citizens’ Faith in Chinese Government.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 24 Jan. 2020, www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/24/coronavirus-shakes-citizens-faith-in-chinese-government.