The pandemic also sharpens the United States and China’s battle for global political influence. Notable is the return of a battle over domestic political and economic systems: China’s model of authoritarian state capitalism stands against the US model of open-market democracy. The US model faces skepticism entering the post-COVID-19 era, both as a result of the global financial crisis of 2008 and concerns about a US withdrawal from the world stage. The Chinese model, on the other hand, appears to some to offer political stability and steady growth. The current crisis gives both countries a chance to show their respective systems’ resilience and capacity to lead a global recovery.

China’s image was tarnished during the early stages of the pandemic when it mismanaged its response and suppressed information, thereby allowing the virus to spiral out of control into a global disaster. In response, China launched a propaganda…

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