Another Round of Bird Flu

Published on Author paulsen

This year’s strain of bird flu, H7N9, claimed its sixth life, engendering widespread fear in the megalopolis of Shanghai. In response the city has slaughtered 20,000 birds and has begun inspecting chicken farms countrywide. In uncharacteristic fashion the Chinese government appears substantially more open regarding the crisis. This comes in contrast to the outbreak of SARS ten years ago, in which the Chinese government deliberately prevented WHO from intervening, worsening the outbreak and allowing it to spread worldwide. This new openness perhaps comes in response to growing frustration among Chinese with government stonewalling tactics. The government still seems unable to determine the source of 16,000 dead pigs in the Shanghai city water supply. And more generally, air pollution has hit record levels. While WHO officials and other researchers appear deeply troubled at the possibility of mutation by the new H7N9, the Chinese government is again being pressured to open up, something generally opposed by the CCP. This microcosm represents the broader question faced by the party, whether to open China’s notoriously closed government structures, or continue down the same authoritarian path. It is likely however, that the off-putting nature of Chinese authoritarianism will continue to isolate the masses from the government, as it has Zhang Minyu, who said “They say it’s O.K. to eat cooked chicken, but I’d rather not take the chance.

One Response to Another Round of Bird Flu