The value of Chinese voices grows with each connection we sever between our countries.
By late August the first wave of UK coronavirus was waning but none of us knew (or yet know) where this goes. I’d hoped to get a lot of things from this book: a better account of the early days of the virus, clarity on the chinese policy response, perhaps a view into our future. Mostly I didn’t find out too much new, many of her points had been well summarised in the better news coverage of the summer.
Instead I found far more that was familiar than new. I found my fears, my hunger for information, my burning impatience with authorities, all reflected back from a world away. It would be crass to take this as a simple sign of human unity in the face of the virus. I believe the virus has revealed more entrenched division, than it has brought us together.
In short I enjoyed hearing directly from someone in the midst of world events, especially as my chances to hear Chinese voices seems to be shrinking. Sincia did great coverage in conversation with Micheal Berry, at this point there may be as much to be learned from those interviews as the book itself (it was a series of in-situ blog posts after all!).
I shall have to learn to read more Chinese blogs, then perhaps I can be more proactive about hearing the voices I’m missing these days.