China was in chaos when the coronavirus emerged in public at the beginning of 2020, but instead of a drama, president Xi Jinping was able to turn the events into a global win for the country, says London-based journalist Zhang Lijia, author of Lotus, a novel on prostitution in China, to Barbara Demick of the New York Review of Books.
NY Review of Books:
I’ve heard this from other overseas Chinese. Lijia Zhang, a writer who lives in London, told me, “In the beginning, it was a mess. People were thinking this could be Xi Jinping’s downfall. Now they are saying China is in a much better position to deal with a crisis, with its authoritarian system. The West is too chaotic.’’ The respective failures of the United States, Italy, and the United Kingdom clearly bolstered China’s confidence. But the turnaround couldn’t have happened without an almost textbook propaganda operation, involving coercion, misinformation, and manipulation.
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