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Unprecedented Challenges, Familiar Paradoxes: COVID-19 and Governance in a New Normal State of Risks


Author: Kaifeng Yang

Abstract: This Viewpoint essay understands China's COVID‐19 responses through the lens of six paradoxes, focusing on normal and non‐normal governance, competing values, expertise and politics, centralization and decentralization, public and private, and technology and institutions. Preliminary lessons are drawn regarding pandemic governance: embedding resilience into all aspects of governance; developing a public value framework for pandemic governance and improving individuals' ethical capacity; institutionalizing policy capacity on pandemic governance and requiring expertise in relevant positions; balancing centralized coordination and decentralized responses with a stable and ready‐to‐work commanding center; enabling businesses and nonprofits for pandemic governance but regulating them appropriately; and enacting technologies to revolutionize pandemic governance with proper institutional safeguards.