Americans need to know a lot more about China than they do at present. Not knowing much about the realities of daily life in important countries like China, Russia, and Iran, is a huge weakness. Probably most of us think that life in these places is close to being like life in prison. Not so. There is dissent and ferment and disagreement in all of these countries, despite all their governments can do to squash it.
To see what I mean, look at this survey of the “Chinese twitter”, Weibo, which is, like everything in China, censored by the government, is covered by a site in the West, called What’s On Weibo. Here’s a report on how the Corona Virus is being reported and talked about on Weibo, which is really interesting:
A friend of mine speculated about the virus and the government’s initial clumsy response to it perhaps being “China’s Chernobyl”, the Chernobyl event being credited with putting the final nail in the Soviet coffin. I think she’s a bit optimistic – we probably have another one of two generations to go in China before we have an internationally-aware, self-confident, population which demands to be treated as adults. But we’ll get there. (Same for Iran, same for Russia.)