Xi Jinping’s Coronavirus Challenge

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Chinese people wearing surgical mask sitting in subway

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist, including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, with the U.S. Dept. of State from 2002-2016.  He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. 

OPINION — In 2000, Xi Jinping, a relatively unknown Governor of Fujian, gave a rare interview to a Chinese newspaper.  The interview provided a window into aspects of Xi Jinping’s leadership qualities and psychological sensibility.  In the interview, he stated, “do not try to do the impossible, do not strive for the unobtainable, do not rest on the transient, do not do what cannot be repeated.”  In the same interview, Xi, cautious to a fault, described his economic philosophy as, “to light a small fire to warm up the water, keep the fire burning and now and again pour some more cold water in, so that the kettle did not boil over.”  Such comments have an eerie prescience, as the kettle now threatens to boil over, given the recent outbreak of Coronavirus, which represents the most serious challenge that Xi and the Chinese Communist Party face as China begins a new decade.

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