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C3S Issue Brief V: China and the COVID-19 Pandemic ; By Sravanthi Vempalli

Updated: Sep 1, 2022

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia Commons

C3S Issue Brief: 005/2020

C3S launches its Issue Brief initiative. An Issue Brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarises the issue giving clear, concise and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.

Issue Briefs are available for download as PDFs.


During the SARS outbreak, which originated in China in 2002, limited information about the virus was made available to the public and the necessary organizations. With the government containing the information and the numbers that were made available to the stakeholders, it caused the SARS outbreak to play out worse than what it could have been. The severity of the virus was downplayed in order to build the narrative that the situation was controlled and that the protective procedures were adequate and successful.

With the Coronavirus outbreak, labelled as a global pandemic by the WHO, the lack of information about the virus and its effects has caused catastrophic events to play in out in various countries. Initially, when the outbreak was not contained within China, the WHO had acknowledged that China was being transparent with their numbers and being very cooperative. The measures that China took to contain the virus were applauded, and many other countries have followed similar suit hoping to see a decrease in the number of cases reported.

As the pandemic extends, new reports and findings are being made public by various new outlets which state that the timeline as to when the virus was first discovered, and the actual extent of how the virus affected China has been debated upon. With information not being shared as quickly as needed and withholding certain aspects for political reasons, it has caused a ripple effect in how countries around the world are battling the virus.

The paper aims to analyse the various steps that the government of China had taken in order to curb the virus initially. It looks at these steps in light of the more recent reports that state that has emerged during and after the lockdown in Wuhan. The pandemic, alongside the actions that Xi Jinping is taking, has caused political strain between China and other countries. It aims to analyse what these events would mean for the future of China, politically.

Read the full PDF at this link:

Download PDF • 306KB

About the Author

Sravanthi Vempalli is a research intern at the Chennai Centre for China Studies. She is a student from FLAME University, Pune pursuing her BA in Economics with a minor in Public Policy.  Her areas of interest include Social Policy, International Economics and Labour Economics. Views expressed are personal.

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