Dan Blumenthal writes at Real Clear World about the impact of Chinese government policies on the coronavirus problem.

Despite holding more power, wealth and influence than ever before, China’s government is rotting from within. Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus makes that clear. Such an outbreak would have taxed the resources of any nation, but Xi Jinping’s China is not just another country. It is a high-tech authoritarian state experimenting with complete social control. To succeed it requires lies, intimidation and obfuscation. These very ingredients have exacerbated a public-health crisis and laid bare a government that fears the truth. Worse yet for the Chinese president, China’s people know it.

The telltale signs of a panic-driven cover-up are clear: Despite an outbreak that likely began before December 2019, the Chinese government allowed no hint of a problem until a month after that. It silenced whistleblowers who knew the extent of the problem and took its time trying to contain the outbreak. Worse still, Beijing worries that accepting Washington’s continuing offers to help would be to admit it has failed.

For those who noted Xi’s obsession with dictatorial control during the Hong Kong protests, his use of concentration camps to control the Uighur Muslims, and his Mao-like clamp down on intellectual, religious and cultural life, it is no surprise that the Chinese dictator has exacerbated the health crisis in his desire to exert absolute control. In the current climate of fear, Chinese healthcare and other professionals are afraid to communicate even basic facts. Indeed, those Chinese who did warn international media and their fellow citizens have been punished by the Communist Party of China.