24/10/2020
24 Oct 2020

Xi’s world

24 Oct 2020

Xi’s world

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Features
Rana Mitter
Xi’s world: Covid has accelerated China’s rise

Back in February, the Chinese state appeared to be in trouble. A terrifying virus had infected thousands of people and the country’s social media exploded in anger against the authorities faster than Chinese censors could scrub away the critical comments. Like governments elsewhere, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turned to the emergency analogy of choice, the second world war. Channelling Mao Zedong’s guerrilla campaign against the Japanese in the 1930s, state media declared that China was fighting a ‘people’s war’ against the virus.

Xi’s world: Covid has accelerated China’s rise
Kate Andrews
Europe’s long Covid: things aren’t getting better any time soon

China is now suffering only mild symptoms from the global pandemic. It is Europe that is stuck with the dreaded long Covid. The Chinese economy has rebounded and its exports are going through the roof, as it sells medical equipment to a world devastated by the pandemic it covered up. The virus originated in Wuhan, yet China has avoided much of the pain, despite how slow Beijing was to admit to the initial outbreak. But eurozone economies were a tenth smaller this spring than at the start of the year.

Europe’s long Covid: things aren’t getting better any time soon
Fraser Nelson
Kemi Badenoch: ‘Being black is not just about victimhood’

Even now, months after the event, Labour MPs have not forgiven Kemi Badenoch for saying that Britain is one of the best countries in the world in which to be black. It was during the Black Lives Matter protests and many politicians — including Sir Keir Starmer — were ‘taking the knee’ to show fealty to its cause. Badenoch took a different view, seeing within all this a pernicious ideology that portrays blackness as victimhood and whiteness as oppression.

Kemi Badenoch: ‘Being black is not just about victimhood’
Richard Dobbs
Test and Trace was doomed right from the start

The NHS Test, Trace and Isolate programme — which was meant to be one of our main weapons in the fight against a second Covid-19 peak — has not had a good few weeks. First, when schools went back last month, an inevitable rush for tests was not met with sufficient supply. It then emerged that 16,000 people who had tested positive had failed to be transferred to the tracing system. Not a great start. Then, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), for long an advocate, quietly disowned the programme, saying it is having marginal impact.

Test and Trace was doomed right from the start
Guy Walters
The National Archives are making historians history

The next time you settle down in the evening to enjoy the latest work by your favourite historian, treasure it, because it may be their last for a while. This is for the simple reason that historians are effectively being denied access to one of the most essential tools of their trade — the National Archives. For many, this non-ministerial government department may just be an ugly slab of 1970s concrete that sits on the Thames in Kew, but it is actually nothing less than the nation’s memory — for it is here that millions of documents produced by the British state during the past thousand years are held.

The National Archives are making historians history
Harry Mount
Covid has become the go-to excuse for shoddy service

When we were hit by Britain’s biggest crisis since the war, some people behaved like heroes, laying their lives down to fight coronavirus. Others made their excuses, put their feet up and had a good long six-month snooze. My favourite Covid excuse came from Eurostar, which declared in August that, ‘As a result of coronavirus, we are only able to offer wifi in our Standard Premier and Business Premier carriages’. Wireless broadband was duly disabled in its standard-class coaches — until, besieged by complaints, the company conducted a full reverse--ferret operation and turned the wifi back on.

Covid has become the go-to excuse for shoddy service
Griff Rhys Jones
London’s war on motorists isn’t helping anybody

Late one evening in Yangon in Myanmar a few years ago, I noticed a grey Morris Minor van patrolling the streets. It had an old-fashioned double--ended trumpet loudspeaker on its roof blaring out an amplified voice. ‘What’s it saying?’ I asked my guide. ‘It tells the people “It’s late! Stop drinking and go to bed! You have a busy day tomorrow!”’ That’s the spirit. We should get some of that in London. ‘Stop eating! Get on your bike! Pedal faster!’ Why has Covid brought out a rash of virtuous bullying? I have lost count of the number of times that Radio 4 has asserted that this plague needs to create a better, more caring, more aware, lovelier human race.

London’s war on motorists isn’t helping anybody
Carlo Rovelli
Winston Churchill’s remarkable love of science

Churchill was the first British prime minister to appoint a scientific adviser, as early as the 1940s. He had regular meetings with scientists such as Bernard Lovell, the father of radioastronomy, and loved talking with them. He promoted, with public funds research, telescopes and the laboratories where some of the most significant developments of the postwar period first came to light, from molecular genetics to crystallography using X-rays.

Winston Churchill’s remarkable love of science
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