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China in front of the world

It would be dangerous and irresponsible to ostracize China over the coronavirus pandemic

Benoit Vermander, Shanghai

Benoit Vermander, Shanghai

Published: May 13, 2020 06:18 AM GMT

Updated: May 13, 2020 06:19 AM GMT

China in front of the world

Tributes to whistleblower Chinese doctor Li Wenliang after his death on Feb. 7. (Photo: AFP)

China, the first country hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, is also the first nation to try to return to a certain normality. It is therefore, and doubly so, a laboratory, and what happens there is of primary interest to the entire planet.

Moreover, the specificities of its political and social system raise many questions about how the pandemic affects and will continue to affect its internal equilibrium and its international position. All of these factors will determine how global society negotiates its exit from the pandemic, the long-term management of the risks it will continue to confront, and also the relations between national actors, which are likely to be even more difficult than before.

If China maintains an attitude that makes attack the best form of defense, the dialogue that needs to begin may not go very far. Some questions will not easily disappear: those concerning the origin of the virus and its management in the first few days; those regarding the truthfulness of the estimates provided during the Wuhan confinement period; those on the way China faces the consequences of the pandemic in order to engage on a country-by-country basis in the management of its own interests, or perhaps decides to take a more global and generous path. China must understand that the way it deals with these issues will radically influence its relations with Europe and the rest of the world.

Yet it would be dangerous and irresponsible to try to ostracize China. The search for any points of convergence and cooperation is absolutely essential, just as one must not give up on telling the truth.

Click here to read the full article in La Civilta Cattolica

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