(p. A1) The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the jarring absence in China of a vibrant civil society — the civic associations like business groups, nonprofit organizations, charities and churches that bring people together without involving the government.
. . .
(p. A10) “The traditional management mechanism of ‘big government’ is no longer efficient, and is even failing,” Duan Zhanjiang, a management consultant, wrote in an article about managing the epidemic. “The government is very busy but not effective.
. . .
The Communist Party has never liked or trusted civil society. It is suspicious of any organization that could potentially pose challenge to its rule, including big private enterprises. It has cracked down on nongovernment organizations like rights groups and charities as well as churches and mosques. The party wants nothing to stand between its government and China’s 1.4 billion people.
Big Chinese corporations and wealthy individuals have been donating, many generously. But they also try to keep low profiles for fear of offending a government that is eager to take credit for any success and quick to suspect outside groups of challenging it.
Those gaps are evident on the front lines of the outbreak, where workers have lacked the proper equipment to keep themselves safe. Doctors and nurses wear disposable raincoats instead of protective gowns. They wear ordinary, and inadequate, surgical masks while conducting dangerous throat swab tests. They wear adult diapers because, once they take off their one-piece protective suits, the suits will have to be thrown away. They get only one per day.
For the full commentary, see:
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date April 5, 2020, and has the same title “THE NEW NEW WORLD; In Coronavirus Fight, China Sidelines an Ally: Its Own People.”)