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In the face of the coronavirus, the unexpected dilemma between openness and closeness, free choice, and the need for unconditional obedience raises many questions. These are issues that have always been extremely sensitive: historically, we have really, really painful examples of where such dilemmas have taken us. 

However, in recent decades, at least Europe seems to have answered this question, and we have trusted that answer: we have opted for openness and freedom instead of closeness. Now again we are dealing with that dilemma, and the word “isolate” is no longer a metaphor, but a real physical act. How do you think this situation will change the way we understand freedom and responsibility?

Yes, Europe has responded to this question by imposing restrictions transparently – as a temporary and science-based means to save lives – but China has not responded to it, and so we have a pandemic now. It is a country where human rights are violated, freedom of expression is restricted and there is total censorship.

For these reasons, we will not know the true statistics of China, nor when exactly the epidemic started, nor how effectively it is being dealt with. We only have information that is officially omitted by their authorities, and that is the problem that has directly affected us.

It is a well-known fact that Chinese officials silenced Doctor Ai Fen, back in December, after receiving the first laboratory tests to alert people about the danger of coronavirus. 

The epidemic was caused by nothing more than China’s seclusion and its demands for unconditional obedience to the people. Under the conditions of democracy, the free exchange of information, publicity, the search for common solutions, alarms and initial restrictions would have come much earlier and, I believe, the consequences would have been less.

© Fortune, 2020

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