SIGN UP FOR INSIGHTS

AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control

Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, in ThePrint (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Sumit Saraswat / Shutterstock.com)

Divided by a Virus: Why the Pandemic Makes it Look Like Nobody is in Control

The fight against the pandemic has been so chaotic the world over, and now, in India. What began as a firm, total lockdown that everybody participated in is now degenerating into political name-calling between the ruling party and opposition, the center and the states run by non-BJP parties.

More disappointingly, this also bedevils most public discourse on an issue so life-and-death that our focus should have been on dealing with it rather than employing it to pour out partisan emotions, whether of blind loyalty, deepest dislike, fear or fantasy.

The debate on the pandemic, from lockdowns to clinical treatments to prognoses to infection and death counts, is all divided by ideology. If you love Narendra Modi, Donald Trump or Boris Johnson, they’ve done nothing wrong. If you detest them, they are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.

For sure, the pandemic cares two hoots for ideology as long as it’s armed with this still-indestructible virus. But it has done something we couldn’t imagine: Divide epidemiologists on ideological lines. Epidemiology, we understand, is a very well-established science with a centuries-old tradition. It is now another casualty of 2020.

Politics never goes into a freeze, but you can put partisanship in suspended animation for a bit and leave it to the specialists and soldiers.

When BJP leaders, including Modi’s number two, Amit Shah, use the pandemic to launch an assault on state governments run by opposition parties, or to topple them, they are exploiting a grave crisis in cynical political self-interest. The result of this conflict, working at cross-purposes and name-calling, is now showing. The Covid situation, at this moment, looks as though nobody is really in control.


Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse

Kim Hye-ryoung, author and psychologist, in Hankook Ilbo (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: B Negin)

Fostering a Community Feeling Can Prevent Child Abuse

Recent news of a boy who died after his stepmother locked him in a suitcase and of another whose finger was rubbed against a hot frying pan has put a spotlight on inherent social problems that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Child abuse cases have risen by 13.8 percent. The young do not know how to protect themselves; some do not have the ability to report an abuse, let alone ask for help. Sadly, too many are cases could have been prevented, had only some people cared to notice and act.

Psychologist Alfred Adler included community feeling as an important factor that contributes to happiness. According to his theory, people are happier when they care not only for themselves but for others. Although Korea is well known for its group mentality, too often this “group” only extends to one’s immediate family. This is shown by Korea’s low adoption rate compared to other developed countries. The Korean mentality often means that parents are obsessed by their offspring, regarding them as possessions and are unable to love and care for other children who are just as vulnerable as their own.

More people should break free from this narrow-mindedness and adopt a feeling of community. Even just noticing whether a child on the street has a scar, is underweight or seems excessively intimidated may help prevent another death from child abuse. Watching out for all children as one’s own may be the best way to save our children and should be a basic duty that adults have to the vulnerable in society.


A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple

Ploenpote Atthakor, Editorial Page Editor, in Bangkok Post (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Krishnagopi06)

A “Thais-Only” Policy is Racism, Pure and Simple

“This cannot be serious" was my initial reaction to reports saying The Transport Company (Thailand’s long-distance bus operator) is imposing a ban on foreign travelers to curb the spread of Covid-19. Absurd, isn't it? Don't they know the country has been locked down for months? No foreign visitors or tourists are allowed in, so where would a travel-related virus come from?

If that were not absurd enough, there are reports that at least one temple in Bangkok – Wat Pho – has also adopted a "Thais-only" policy, which is blatant discrimination and has been met with widespread criticism.

But we cannot blame the temple and The Transport Company – not entirely. For nearly three months, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has put forward the idea that foreigners or Thais abroad are a health threat.

The notion that "if they are allowed in, the country would be at risk of more infections" led to a ban on foreign visitors and stringent measures against Thais wishing to return home. The state came up with ways to make it tough to return, which means stranded Thais are unfairly exposed to Covid-19.

Air travel and borders are expected to remain closed until at least July. In fact, the "Thais only" gate was there at the temple long before Covid-19 hit the country. When Thais visit a temple, they don't have to pay or buy tickets. This is because it is presumed Thais are there to make merit. I don't agree with this policy, but I recognize the idea behind it: Thais pay taxes, so they don't need to get a ticket.

Discrimination will persist as long as the state does not learn about the problem. Several state-run recreational sites, national parks, museums and others condone discrimination by adopting two-tier tickets or prices.


Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?
Monday, June 15, 2020
Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?

Leila De Lima, lawyer, human-rights activist and Senator, in Rappler (June 13, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Philippine News Agency)

Anti-Terror Law – Or Anti-Filipino Law?

Is the anti-terror bill protecting us from terror and fear? Or normalizing them? If this bill passes, no part of any person’s life is secure anymore, as it gives the government the power to track down or follow anyone, and to tap, listen, intercept or record any message, conversation, discussion, spoken or written words, including computer and network surveillance, and other communications of persons.

The government says that there are safeguards in place, including judicial authorization. Yet the law allows so much discretion on the executive, including in the determination of what constitutes terrorist attacks and who are terrorists and terrorist organizations, that it is easy to imagine a scenario where even the courts might not be willing, able, or prepared to stand as safeguards against abuse.

So, what is the danger? First, this is a criminal statute. It puts people in danger of losing their liberty, possibly for the rest of their life. People have the constitutional right to know what acts are being punished before they are penalized from doing them. Second, given the vague definitions, it could be weaponized as a tool of harassment against those that government wants to silence.

History has taught us that repressive regimes can and will abuse any power they can get, even to the point of using it against persons who are merely exercising their legitimate rights and freedoms.

Of course, we need to improve our response to terrorism. I applaud those who wish to amend the bill to protect the people. But the government cannot protect the people by perpetually and absolutely placing their lives under threat. Otherwise, the government will be doing a better job than the terrorists.


Islamophobia in Europe – Muslims Should Mobilize
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Islamophobia in Europe – Muslims Should Mobilize

Yuri Octavian Thamrin, Indonesian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, in Republika (June 10, 2020)

Summary by Keith Loveard (Photo credit: Pete Souza/The White House, 2015)

Islamophobia in Europe – Muslims Should Mobilize

Despite Europe’s high level of development and culture, Muslims there have suffered many horrific experiences. Georgetown University Islamic Studies professor John Esposito sees Islamophobia in the West as a phenomenon related to terrorism such as the 9/11 attacks in the US and the ones in Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016. But Islamophobia cannot be accepted with any excuse, not least because it endangers Europe’s own interests.

As a “social cancer”, Islamophobia is destructive to the democratic values, pluralism and tolerance of the people of Europe. It needs to be uniformly opposed. But it looks to be strengthening in the EU, especially since right-wing populist political parties continue to advance. Their electoral support has grown from 10.6 percent in 1980 to 18.4 percent in 2017. They continue to play the politics of identity and stir up fear.

The number of Muslims in Europe is sufficient to play a role in the mainstream, and they should no longer remain on the periphery. They must become professionals and entrepreneurs who deserve to be respected by the public. They need to organize to defend their rights and create a good relationship with the media, parliaments, governments and other institutions. 


Dissenting Against the Anti-Terrorism Bill
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Dissenting Against the Anti-Terrorism Bill

Jovito V Cariño, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, University of Santo Tomas, in Rappler (June 11, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: NDFP-ST)

Dissenting Against the Anti-Terrorism Bill

There are different kinds of critiques of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill. The ones I call “popular” emerge organically, riding the wave of public uproar against the bill with a little push from influencers and social media. The rejection of the bill at this level is almost knee-jerk but thanks to its popular base, it spreads like wildfire and generates public interest.

The next kind of critique, which I call “legal”, calls for amendment of the infirm provisions of the bill but does not reject it outright. For those who espouse this critique, the problems found in the bill are purely legal and are best left to legal minds to resolve.

The third kind of critique, the one I label “academic”, opposes the bill but does not call into question the political culture that gave shaped it. Proponents of this critique are ambivalent about whether or not to reject the political and ideological foundations from which the bill has derived its notorious chilling effect.

The fourth kind of critique I call “political”. Advocates read the texts as mere flexing of power by those who hold the reins of government, which both local and global observers have described as authoritarian.

Some would say that fear of the bill is hypothetical or imaginary. There is nothing hypothetical or imaginary with what we have seen the last four years: the culture of impunity, selective justice, summary killings, perversion of sovereignty, incompetence, and vindictive politics. They are all on record, documented by reports of media organizations and various watchdogs. These are the tales of the change that was promised but not delivered. They make the Anti-Terrorism Bill such a scary specter. I do hope I am wrong but until proven otherwise, I prefer to dissent.


What Should Black Lives Matter Mean to Non-Americans?
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
What Should Black Lives Matter Mean to Non-Americans?

Surekha A Yadav, columnist, in Malay Mail (June 7, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Anthony Quintano)

What Should Black Lives Matter Mean to Non-Americans?

The world watched as protests erupted following the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white policeman. As Americans took to the streets, people everywhere took to social media to show solidarity. Many Singaporean friends did too, some going so far as to donate funds to help protesters in the US pay legal costs.

The extent that the #blacklivesmatter cause found resonance in Singapore was heartening. It is good when people recognize injustice in other parts of the world, and I applaud their generosity.

I hope it is part of a larger commitment to fighting injustice everywhere because it is notable that so many of us seem far less concerned about injustice at home or in our local region. This is not a competition; this is about solidarity.

For example, the obvious matter of foreign workers. They are in this country legally performing vital services, but their living conditions, wages and general treatment are markedly inferior to what the local population enjoys.

As non-citizens, it can be argued they should not expect equal pay. But even then, these workers have a Covid-19 infection rate that seems to be over 100 times higher than that for the general population.

Yet support for foreign workers in Singapore has been less visible than support for #blacklivesmatter. Part of this is just the cultural power of the USA. What happens in America seems to be happening to us and so hopefully the lessons learned there will resonate and come to be applied here.

This would be the best outcome. The worst case would be that many of us are simply “virtue signaling” with little thought given to the underlying lessons and situations at home. I hope the outpouring of activism we are seeing will bring positive change at home too.


Regulations Out of Touch with Reality
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Regulations Out of Touch with Reality

Hurr Hee-young, Professor, School of Business, Korea Aerospace University, in The Korea Economic Daily (May 27, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: PxHere)

Regulations Out of Touch with Reality

There are two department stores standing side by side in Mok-dong ward in Seoul. The first sells products from small and medium enterprises (SMEs). When a bigger Hyundai Department Store (run by chaebol) opened next door, the revenue of the former unexpectedly tripled as the area saw increase in foot traffic. The two co-exist more in symbiosis rather than as competitors.

The newly elected Korean government promised favorable policies towards SMEs. The proposals include further regulating operating hours of big shopping complexes by increasing mandatory closure from the current twice a month to four times. However, whether such market regulations would really result in boosting the traditional markets and protecting local businesses is questionable.

First, the proposed regulations fail to understand that with the increasing dominance of online commerce, offline revenue has been in decline, chaebol-led or not. Second, restricting the operation of distribution chains will only further decrease foot traffic in the offline economy. According to the Korea Employers Federation, online shopping revenue increase by as much as 37 percent on Sundays with mandatory closures of big retail chains. Third, increasing market regulation decreases consumer benefit as demonstrated by Starfield chain of shopping malls which had a project blocked to protect local business but which over 70 percent of residents favored.

The regulation on operating hours of big retail corporations back in 2012 was aimed at protecting the SMEs and local businesses. Despite this, consumers only turned more to online shopping instead of increasing local spending. The biggest losers of the regulations were the farmers whose sales declined due to the mandatory curbs on the operations of their distributors.

The decisive force in the market is consumers’ choice, not more regulations. The key for survival in the marketplace is to understand better what consumers want and then adapt.


Britain’s role in the “East Berlinization” of Hong Kong
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Britain’s role in the “East Berlinization” of Hong Kong

Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations and Director of the Comparative Governance and Public Policy Research Centre at Hong Kong Baptist University, in Ming Pao (June 1, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Jules Cahn)

Britain’s role in the “East Berlinization” of Hong Kong

In 1996, then-British prime minister John Major stated that “if in the future there were any suggestion of a breach of the [Sino-British] Joint Declaration, we would mobilize the international community and pursue every legal or other avenue open to us.” To examine how seriously the United Kingdom has remained committed to Hong Kong, we must look at its actions rather than words.

Over the years, the China policy of British governments has focused on economic and trade relations. When they were prime minister, David Cameron and Theresa May happily talked about how London and Beijing would push bilateral relations into a "golden age" through collaboration in the high-speed rail, energy technology or higher education sectors and Belt and Road Initiative projects. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also takes a friendly attitude toward China and places economic interests first. While the US and EU are taking a stronger stance on China, the UK has maintained cooperation and dialogue. But these interactions have not helped improve the governance of Hong Kong.

In the post-Brexit era, the UK is unable to exert influence in EU decision-making. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, however, the UK has applied pressure on China by raising the issue of Hong Kong. More can be done.

The British Parliament should give Hong Kong a greater voice in formulating policies and countermeasures to the situation, while MPs should demand accountability from the UK government. Finally, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office should conduct a more in-depth and detailed assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy and human-rights situation.

The UK should not unconditionally accept Hong Kong as a regular partner after its "East Berlinization" by China takes place. Instead, the UK should provide ongoing support and impose sanctions on anyone who undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy and human rights.


Providing a Protective Umbrella for the People of Hong Kong
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Providing a Protective Umbrella for the People of Hong Kong

Wang Yao, columnist, in People’s Daily (May 28, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Providing a Protective Umbrella for the People of Hong Kong

On May 28, the National People's Congress (NPC) passed a vote to approve a National Security Law for Hong Kong. This will help to ensure the stability of "one country, two systems" and provide a “protective umbrella” for Hong Kong people to live and work in peace.

This law is a necessary step to plug the loopholes in Hong Kong's national security laws. It fully embodies the central government's strong will and determination to maintain national security and reflects the central government's overall interest in Hong Kong and its population. As such, the maintenance of national security is crucial and should not be delayed.

The legislation is both reasonable and legal, with national security legislation the purview of the central authority. As such, the decision has been made through comprehensive analysis, evaluation and judgment of various factors after fully communicating with relevant parties. Furthermore, the institutional arrangement conforms to the constitutional provisions and constitutional principles and is consistent with the relevant provisions of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.

Social stability is the prerequisite for addressing all problems including economic issues. If the situation in Hong Kong were to go unchecked, the well-being of Hong Kong’s population, the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong society and the strong rule of law and business environment in Hong Kong would all be lost.

Hong Kong has achieved remarkable results in its fight against Covid-19. All sectors of the society are eagerly expecting that Hong Kong can reunite and start again. Looking to the future, under the protection of national security legislation, Hong Kong can strengthen the system of the special administrative region and write a new chapter of economic prosperity and development for its citizens. Ultimately, Hong Kong will continue to make unique and important contributions to the great revival of the Chinese nation.


Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation
Monday, June 1, 2020
Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation

Hung Chi-chang, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (2007-08), in China Times (May 28, 2020)

(Photo credit: Yenyu Chen/Pixabay)

Taiwan is Not Hong Kong: We Must Deepen International Cooperation

China’s National People's Congress (NPC) declared that it will pass a national security law for Hong Kong. Beijing ’s tough handling of the Hong Kong issue can be understood this way:

First, Beijing’s priority is to maintain internal political, economic and social stability, as well as manage competition and cooperation between major powers and regional issues. Hong Kong's internal stability is linked to the internal stability of the country.

Second, Hong Kong is an important economic lifeline for China and for Chinese officials as it remains an offshore center and a renminbi-denominated bond-issuance hub and supports international fundraising for development of the Greater Bay Area.

Third, last year’s protests fueled support for the pro-democracy camp’s victory in the Hong Kong district council election. If the pan-democrats dominate the Legislative Council elections this year, it could generate a wave of support among the democratic forces within China and prompt further action by Beijing.

Fourth, while Beijing is well aware that its tough handling of Hong Kong will generate international criticism, they see Hong Kong as a domestic issue. Unlike with other geopolitical issues such as the South China Sea or the Taiwan Strait, with Hong Kong, international pressure is significantly less.

Taiwan is not Hong Kong. Taiwan’s foreign minister has warned that Beijing might soon use force against Taiwan. Taiwan cannot be so naïve as to expect the international community to provide unconditional support. To defend Taiwan’s way of life, Taiwan must continue to deepen cooperation with those in the international community that share our values. To protect Taiwan’s autonomy, Taiwan must continue to play a key role in regional security and the global industrial supply chain.


There is No Such Thing as Outdated Businesses, Just Outdated Thinking
Monday, June 1, 2020
There is No Such Thing as Outdated Businesses, Just Outdated Thinking

Koong Lin Loong, Chairman, SMEs Committee, The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, and Managing Partner, Reanda LLKG International Chartered Accountants, in Sin Chew Daily (May 30, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

There is No Such Thing as Outdated Businesses, Just Outdated Thinking

Malaysia is slowly reopening its economy. But after such trauma, how can companies recover?

While the central bank has announced a six-month grace period to help SMEs with loan repayments, by October their cashflow will tighten up. Even if the economy recovers, Malaysians should be prepared to maintain social distancing in the medium and long term. This would make it impossible for companies to return to where they were before Covid-19.

While the situation may appear bleak, there are four things companies should do to prepare:

First, companies should reformulate a one-year financial budget for after this crisis, considering how to reduce fixed costs such as rent and salaries, while trying to maintain their original income and develop more sources of revenue. Second, companies should try and change their working methods (to video conferencing, for example), re-examine their products and services, and optimize productivity. Third, companies should focus on whether their services and products are truly in demand now. Society may need new things. Finally, companies should conduct mid- to long-term analysis of the productivity of employees, machinery and operating models.

Companies should also make good use of the tax incentives and allowances granted by the state to protect cashflow during this difficult period. Furthermore, the government should use this crisis to reform completely the domestic business environment to be more pro-business by reducing bureaucratic procedures, eliminating corruption and attracting investment. This would build a good foundation in the event of another wave of the pandemic.

This crisis has affected many companies, and some will not survive. There is no need to be pessimistic, however. This will pass and normality will return. In the meantime, companies should focus on reducing costs and protecting cashflow. After all, there is there is no such thing as outdated businesses, just outdated thinking.


Be Considerate of the Situation of Migrant Workers
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Be Considerate of the Situation of Migrant Workers

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 199, in Lianhe Zaobao (May 27, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Rob O’Brien)

Be Considerate of the Situation of Migrant Workers

The Covid-19 outbreak among Singapore’s’ migrant worker community has become international news. The density of the living conditions of the 323,000 workers is one of the main reasons for the rapid spread of virus. This poses significant challenges for disease control.

Migrant workers in Singapore are fortunate due to the government’s generosity. The resources Singapore invested in controlling the outbreak is unrivalled, and many countries, including the US, are unable to take care of even their own citizens, let alone migrant workers.

Some citizens, however, cannot help but complain that some of Singapore's own poor people do not receive such good treatment. Such emotions are circulating online and generate a lot of negativity.

As the government is willing to bear the additional operating expenses of the migrant-worker accommodations, some are questioning whether this is a fair use taxpayer money. While dormitory operators should bear some of the responsibilities, they are also business owners and have the right to the assistance provided by the government for virus-control measures.

The most important question is, when will the virus be brought under control? Until now, more than 90 percent of the confirmed cases in Singapore are among migrant workers and the government has promised to test more than 300,000 guest workers in all. Therefore, to reduce uncertainty and its negative side effects, it is necessary to provide the public as much information as possible about the entire testing process and its progress.

Singaporeans, however, should be more considerate as this is an extremely complicated task, which involves preventing more migrant workers from being infected and the outbreak spreading within the community. Only in this way can we hope to resume normal economic and social activities in an orderly and gradual manner after the end of the circuit-breaker (lockdown) controls.


An Unconscionable Prisoner Policy
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
An Unconscionable Prisoner Policy

Usman Hamid, Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, and Veronica Koman, human rights lawyer, in The Jakarta Post (May 25, 2020)

Summary by Keith Loveard (Photo credit: Marcel Gnauk/Pixabay)

An Unconscionable Prisoner Policy

The United Nations is right: It is impossible to practice physical distancing and self-isolation in an overcrowded prison. We therefore applaud the decision by Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly to release almost 40,000 prisoners at risk from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet Minister Yasonna’s policy falls crucially short: Prisoners of conscience are excluded from the policy, despite the UN urging that “political prisoners should be among the first released”.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has detained 69 prisoners of conscience (PoCs) on treason charges, a record in recent times for Indonesia. The majority of them, 54, are indigenous Papuans. All are peaceful activists who have been detained for political expression -- simply carrying flags, organizing or participating in peaceful protests, or being members of political organizations. No one should ever be arrested or detained solely for exercising their human rights.

The majority of these PoCs were arrested during and in the immediate wake of the 2019 West Papua uprising that took place from August 19 to September 23 last year. These protests against racism and for self-determination, likened to an “earthquake” of anger and hope, took place in towns and villages throughout Papua.


Pandemics Accelerate the Rise and Fall of Great Powers
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Pandemics Accelerate the Rise and Fall of Great Powers

Xie Maosong, senior researcher at the China Institute for Innovation & Development Strategy, in Guancha (May 25, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Pandemics Accelerate the Rise and Fall of Great Powers

Throughout history, pandemics have accelerated the rise and fall of major powers and civilizations.

If a powerful country that is in a continuous decline suddenly encounters a pandemic, its ability to respond effectively could be completely disabled. Instead, the crisis will intensify internal struggles and further accelerate the country’s decline. Conversely, if a powerful country is on the rise, a pandemic could inspire the government to utilize their strong organizational mobilization capabilities for society. The challenges commonly associated with the rise of a country can be overcome faster during the crisis and social cohesion will subsequently strengthen.

There are several examples of this. The Roman Empire collapsed following repeated outbreaks of the Black Death, which killed 25 million people between 1347 to 1353. While the Empire had long been deteriorating, this disease accelerated the process. In the 20th century, the pandemic referred to as the “Spanish flu”, which emerged at the end of the First World War in 1918, accelerated the rise of the US.

We can see similar patterns in the history of Chinese civilization. During the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE), there were more than ten major plagues, which accelerated its decline of the dynasty.

Although dynasties have risen and fallen, Chinese civilization has always survived, unlike Western civilization. A new dynasty represents a historical force that can draw on the lessons of the demise of the previous one. The continuity of ancient and modern Chinese civilizations provides a deeper understanding of the various levels of organization that China has demonstrated in its successful handling of the pandemic. This crisis, meanwhile, has exposed the political incapacity of the US. By comparing the two situations, we can appreciate the significance of the pandemic in accelerating the rise and fall of great powers. China must prepare for this.