China and Covid: How A Dictatorship Turns Crises Into Catastrophe

Barry Gander
12 min readDec 16, 2022

Nearly three years after the Covid virus first emerged in Wuhan, China is still whistling in the dark as it passes its graveyards. It is in denial, distracting itself with the management of unhelpful controls to quash Covid outbreaks. Meanwhile countries such as the U.S. have warily returned to normal life.

Jolting China awake right now are riots in the streets, forcing it to begin rolling back its Covid lock-down procedures.

This is not to say that China is to “blame” for Covid; a terrible infection happened to arise in that country, and the death on its citizens is a tragedy. But the tragedy that China inflicted on the world through its one-party system is even greater, and should be understood.

Any government today that is not democratic is a crises magnifier.

China’s one-Party system accelerated the spread of Covid around the world three ways:

- Through initial secrecy and denial, it let the virus loose without alerting its innocent citizens and an unknowing world;

- Imposing a top-down ineffective solution — lockdowns — that had no possibility of erasing the virus, kept the virus circulating; and

- Refusing to accept help or advice about vaccine effectiveness doomed its citizens to ongoing cycles of death, because accepting help would mean violating the social justification for one-party rule, namely that the Leadership is not all-wise.

In the beginning was the Communist Party denial.

It was over two years ago that flights started to leave Wuhan for destinations all over the world, carrying infected people with them.

China’s dysfunctional one-party state refused to act with honesty or speed and candor. If it had, the global pandemic might have been moderated.

The earliest Wuhan case was in December 2019, which expanded fast to 104 cases and fifteen deaths. Yet the Wuhan Health Commission (WHC) dragged its feet for an entire month.

Local doctors such as Zhang Jixian and Li Wenliang noticed something amiss but Li (who suggested on WeChat that the illness might be SARS) was admonished for spreading “false rumors” and forced to retract…



Barry Gander

A Canadian from Connecticut: 2 strikes against me! I'm a top writer, looking for the Meaning under the headlines. Follow me on Mastodon @Barry