News ID: 266909
Published: 0327 GMT March 14, 2020

The Change of Chinese political culture in combating coronavirus

The Change of Chinese political culture in combating coronavirus

Yuwen Li *

The coronavirus epidemic in China has brought about great impact to Chinese society. It is a big test of the political leadership, state mobility, institutional accountability and social coordination. When the epidemic happened, Chinese government shifted its focus onto the prevention and curbing of the virus the first time it severity was reported. In the following weeks and months, the subsequent measures taken by the political bureau in Beijing exhibited the best deployment of Chinese power and adept management of risk-controlling. A specialized committee for the prevention and control of the coronavirus epidemic was established, some mediocre officials were quickly removed from office. Effective measures such as specialized infectious hospital and mobile cabin hospitals were built and opened in no longer than ten days, all suspect cases were taken care of and all confirmed cases were hospitalized free of charge. To be exact, the combating of coronavirus disease is nothing but a radical exercise of modern social crisis which happened in China. But till now, due to the effectiveness of the prevention measures, China is at the brink of winning the battle over this dreadful epidemic.

A striking change of the political culture is that formalism and bureaucracy are reduced to the minimum level. In combating the coronavirus epidemic, there is no room for formalism and bureaucracy in governmental practices any more. There is also no place for hesitation and dodging of the responsibilities in rescuing patience who is infected because everybody relegalizes that even minor chance of fake politics may bring uncountable lives in danger. When some number of over 2000 cadres are warned and over 500 are punished, it is indeed a heavy blow to the formalism and bureaucracy that ever existed before. With reducing the formalism and bureaucracy, a new look of the political “action culture” emerged in Chinese politics, local or general.

For years, the fast-growing internet accessibility enables individuals to speak up for-and thus protect-their own interests. At the same time, the internet convenience also educates and improves citizens by providing them with “hands on” experience of self-rule. In combating of coronavirus epidemic in China, what can be observed is the citizens are seemly getting better to know their rights and obligations, regarding of their health or otherwise. There are more respectful alas than complaints and curses, when observing the effort of the government to protect its people. Therefore, it may be judged that the coronavirus epidemic seemingly awake a more positive “participation culture” which fits better to the modernization of Chinese society.

In the combating of coronavirus epidemic, Public political understanding of the general public is changing. First, more and more people recognize the political cardinal principles of the CPC, which is to put the life, health and security of the mass as the top priority. Second, while paying attention to its own risks of being infected, more people than ever observes the political capabilities and political practice of the ruling party and the state government, hence getting a better view of how policies are actualized. Third, public attention is given to the severity of political disciplines and state laws, in case of violating unintentionally. Fourth, most people are involved in the combating of coronavirus, in whatever manners they adopt, thereto may feel the efficiency and power of the regime.

There are other changes worthy of attention in political culture in China. The national political faith was enhanced in combating the coronavirus disease, the pressure and fear of people was relieved and confidence was regained. The national political attitude has also changed. People unite to fight the virus, by the means of what each and every citizen can and should do, such as household sterilizing, community joint defense, which means a massive participation and a large mobilization. The social values are also exemplified and deeply rooted in the combating of coronavirus epidemic. It is easier to learn of the true values of a certain party, government or a society in actions than in words. Combating the coronavirus is seeming the best chance to show the real meaning of the values. Luckily enough, it is the combat itself tells the pursuit of life, the meaning of socialist values. (Project title: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Chinese ethos Item No. 18JDKDB013)


* Professor Yuwen Li is a scholar in modern ideological and political educational philosophy studies at Peking University, China, specializing in political thought history and Marxist educational philosophy. He has published books and articles on Chinese moral history and political education in the past 20 years and won national awards. 


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