Yuen Yuen Ang on COVID-19 and centralized power

WIDER Webinar Series

Yuen Yuen Ang on COVID-19 and centralized power

Professor Yuen Yuen Ang joins the WIDER Webinar Series to discuss her article on China’s response to the pandemic. 

When COVID-19 meets centralized, personalized power

As COVID-19 has escalated into a pandemic, a political debate is raging about whether autocracies or democracies are better at fighting epidemics. In her presentation Ang explains why this debate is misguided – in fact, the administration under President Xi Jinping has both succeeded and failed at handling the COVID-19 crisis. While it effectively curbed infections within China after the virus had spread, it failed to stem the outbreak before it went global.

In the current contentious geopolitical climate, where narratives about the pandemic are deeply politicized, it is all the more necessary to deliver balanced accounts of how China has handled the COVID-19 outbreak. She argues that we should also distinguish the impact of regime types from other factors on governments' responses to the crisis. 

UNU-WIDER Senior Research Fellow, Rachel Gisselquist will chair the event.

About the speaker

Yuen Yuen Ang is a professor of politics at the University of Michigan, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, specializing in China and emerging economies. On economic and political development, her scholarship focuses distinctly on adaptation and innovation in the face of twenty-first century disruptions.

As a scholar of China, Ang studies both China’s political economy and the impact of the country's rise on international development. She is the author of the books ‘How China Escaped the Poverty Trap’ and ‘China’s Gilded Age: the Paradox of Economic Boom & Vast Corruption’. In addition to China, she has conducted field research in Cambodia, India, Malaysia, and Nigeria. Drawing on her research, Ang has advised the UN, UNDP, and governments on innovation, inclusive development, China’s development and its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

WIDER Webinar series

The WIDER Webinar Series provides a platform to discuss COVID-19 and its effect on development and impact on the Global South. The webinars feature speakers renowned for their work on development issues, presenting new research on the implications they foresee of COVID-19.