PR Communication lessons from SARS 2003 – Sunday 26 january 2020 : The gouvernment
LESSONS FROM SARS 2003, XI JINPING, TRIPLE TRANSPARENCY ANNOUNCEMENT
The 1st communication on SARS was a disaster to HK and Vietnam. For HK, -1.8% of GDP. For Vietnam, 5 deaths over 6 weeks of quarantine cost 0.7% of GDP as the country was shut down by WHO and press announcement. Tourism fell -90% in the 1st half of 2003, compared to an average of 38 deaths by traffic accident daily (WHO, statistics 2018), was it fair by the Press or PR agencies?
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned of the “grave situation” posed by the deadly coronavirus outbreak….
“We’re sure to be able to win in this battle to beat the epidemic through prevention and control,” Mr. Xi said, according to an official summary delivered on Chinese television…
“Confronted with the grave situation of this accelerating spread of pneumonia from infections with the novel coronavirus, we must step up the centralized and united leadership under the party central” Xi said, according to The New York Times.
Those short sentences, by the NY Times, reveal 3 levels of transparency:
TRANSPARENCY of INFORMATION: China is a great nation
Back in 2003, lack of transparency in communication gave the lead to the WHO, UN, US press agencies, resulting in distrust and fear of the unknown. HK and China were shut down from the world map costing a -1.8% GDP per quarter as per ADB experts calculations. In today’s terms, it would amount to a staggering-$6.5Bn for HK and incredible -$240Bn for China should it happen.
Admitting ‘the situation is grave’ and ‘we will win this battle’ says it all. We are strong, we will do whatever it takes to win. No nation can take the lead in this battle.
Experience showed us leaving the leadership on information to other nations harmed China. But also, in a connected world it is useless -and naive- to hide anything. Here is the proof, We/China publish information live in streaming on what’s going on. (NB. you were condemning our facial recognition surveillance, now you can see the benefits of our IT) https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
TRANSPARENCY of POWER TO THE WORLD: Make China Great Again
‘We must step-up the centralized leadership’ reassess we are more sovereign than any nation in the world. The China-USA/Trump crisis showed our resilience. Now in front of great danger, we will decide -even more forcefully- what is best for us and our citizen survival. Foreign leaders, nations, embassies get ready to get some NO from us… starting by your request to repatriate your citizen from the Wuhan area.
We are building our own hospitals in 10-day. Beijing teams are out there monitoring and working at eradication.
Your help and advice are welcomed, but we don’t really count on it.
TRANSPARENCY of POWER TO CHINA PROVINCES: We are 1 and United.
‘We will beat the epidemic through prevention and control’, ‘centralized and United leadership’ is a message to the provinces and HK on how things are handled and will be sooner or later. Internal critics on centralized decisions, local social media buzz, attempts to use propaganda by political opponents to destabilize central government is no match with ‘central leadership to win’ over the nation’s supreme battle for the people of China life and well-being.
To be continued…
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