|As the world frets over pandemic health concerns, tumbling stock markets and falling economic indicators that threaten future employment and life as we know it, it is amazing that Emperor Xi actually predicted the catastrophic event in his address to the Politburo in January 2019. The Nikkei Asia Review recently published an article entitled Xi's Prediction of a Cursed Year Came True. XI warned his Chinese Communist Party cadres in late January 2019 to be prepared for unforeseen incidents (black swans) and highly probable, but uncontrollable, rampages (gray rhinos) in the year to come. As the official name COVID-19 suggests, the coronavirus disease now spreading over the world came to life in 2019.
Despite the efforts of Xi to suppress the news of the disease and his apparent control of his friend, Tedros Adhanon, head of the World Health Organization, he was finally forced to succumb to WHO pressure and acknowledge the disease one month later. During that time, some five million residents of Wuhan, the source of the virus, had already left for their holidays abroad surrounding the lunar new year on January 25. As a result, countless people were exposed to one of the most virulent viral infections ever.
Chinese history supports the fear of the swan concept in that many dramatic events happened in the year of the "9" as the People's Republic of China was formed in 1949, a losing war broke out between China and Vietnam in 1979, and the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred in 1989. The year of the gray rhinos followed with vast economic impact worldwide. Xi probably thought the US/China trade issues and the turmoil in Hong Kong represented the black swan effect but the year was not over.
There have been numerous reactions by world leaders to the virus ranging from the more extreme Kim Jung Un and his position that North Korea has no cases of the virus despite the massive trade and political relations with China. Nonetheless, numerous accounts of medical execution firing squads do represent one approach to effectively put the disease in the ground.
Elsewhere, the focus has been on the massive losses in the stock market, an inevitable drop in economic growth, coupled with an unknown fear of how to come to grips with this apparent pandemic. There have been attempts to allay these fears with unfounded assurance that the disease will disappear in warmer weather and to preclude competent disease control experts from communicating directly with the population rather than political mouthpieces. One leader offers weather forecasts attached to the spread of the virus and another gives instructions on washing hands while singing "Happy Birthday" twice.
While that "chubby, unusual hair political club" goes one direction, a gaunt World Health Organization Assistant Director, General Bruce Aylward, shown below, faces the issues directly with facts and clear communication. Gunmen and conmen are not the appropriate communicators for life and death medical issues - leave it to the directors of their respective country medical resources.
As the 2020 National Party Congress represents an event where 5,000 people gather in Beijing from all over China, it has been postponed to a time when it does not present the opportunity to become a viral petri dish for all of China. Nonetheless, when that does happen, one can only wonder might happen to the political stability of Emperor Xi.
Another member of the "chubby, unusual hair political club" might give it some thought as he comes up for re-election in the fall and despot leaders have fallen in the past when the people realize the iron man has feet of clay.