Xi Jinping’s public appearance after the Coronavirus update
Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, who is usually ubiquitous in the public eye has been noticeably absent as one of the biggest crises hit China. He finally made an appearance on the 10th of February, 2020.
The state media reported that Jinping went to Beijing’s Chaoyang district. (Link in Chinese: http://www.xinhuanet.com//2020-02/10/c_1125554384.htm ). He visited a residential community there to understand more about their attempts in fighting Coronavirus. Photos show him wearing a mask and his temperature being recorded. However, this was the first time that Xi Jinping’s public appearance after the Coronavirus update.
First Appearance after visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen
This is Jinping’s first public appearance since his meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Beijing on the 5th of February, 2020. Prior to this meeting, Jinping met the World Health Organization’s director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the 28th January 2020 in Beijing.
In a speech marking the Lunar New Year on 23rd January 2020, days after the authorities had mentioned that human – to – human transmission of the virus had occurred, Jinping did not mention the virus in his speech. On 24th January 2020 Jinping attended a banquet celebrating the new year. This triggered nostalgic displays from the Chinese citizens who compared his speech to that of his predecessor Hu Jintao during the SARS outbreak in 2003. Jintao had tortured hospitals in Guangdong province where the disease discovered.
Jinping has not made any visits to the Wuhan province. His deputy, Li Keqiang, visited the central Chinese city on 27th January 2020. Keqiang visited the hospitals and spoke directly with the front line doctors and nurses. Sun Chunlan, also toured the city recently.
Jinping, however, has been entirely absent from the state media’s narrative. This, however, paints Jinping as a sort of central commander of the government’s efforts against the coronavirus war.
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Sam Crane is an expert on Chinese politics at Williams College in Massachusetts. He said that Jinping’s absence from the limelight implies a strategy of blaming the local cadres instead of the core leadership of the Communist Party. Until now, only officials in Wuhan have been punished or fired for their handling of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The death of a 34-year-old doctor, Li Wenliang, who first sounded the alarm on Coronavirus and was reprimanded by Wuhan authorities on doing so, has changed the leadership’s concretion likely. The government faced massive outpour of grief and anger from the citizens and tried censoring the news of Li’s death. The government even tried to rewrite the facts surrounding his death, which only fueled people’s anger and many demanded greater freedom of speech.
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The situation looks potentially like the biggest crisis in years. The party is now trying to seize back control of the narrative. As predicted, it is trying to shift blame regarding Li’s death to local officials. While the local officials are messing up the management of the crisis, the people’s leader is meeting the people except in Wuhan.