I see people across the spectrum mocking the new coronavirus numbers coming out of China, which minimize new coronavirus cases. Everyone assumes the Chinese Communist Party is circulating false data.
To me, that’s not even a useful observation. All the CCP ever does is churn out false information. I don’t think your average American comes even close to realizing the true scale of China’s propaganda machine and how much of it they themselves are consuming on a daily basis.
A more interesting question is what the CCP derives from their divergence with the western world at this moment.
Many western democracies are hell-bent on catastrophically sabotaging their economies over the coronavirus. What their leaders (and citizens) want from the CCP is data supporting their own panic and extreme response. They are upset that the CCP is not willing to supply it.
The CCP has pretty much opted out of a new world order where policymakers try to universalize their own freak-outs. Of course China has a lot of new cases. But they are seemingly past the point of allowing that to cripple the country economically. They are not going to allow themselves to be bullied into a specific response.
China noticed the virus earlier than everyone else, and they’ve likely reached the “it’s not worth it” phase earlier than everyone else. They are ramping up their economy despite the coronavirus, as western democracies do the exact opposite.
If China does experience a pronounced divergence in economic capacity with the rest of the world, it’s positioning itself to be the top dog in the world in a matter of months. While Trump continues to listen to Dr. Doom and the US enters the Second Great Depression. All because they are more utilitarian in how they manage illness.
The silliest thing Americans ever do is assume that China is an inferior adversary for having an authoritarian government. They want to live in a world where this sort of behavior is punished, but in reality it’s often rewarded. It’s our own political dysfunction that is drawing-and-quartering the country ideologically and practically that isn’t going to be rewarded.