In Depth

Instant Opinion: Xi Jinping faces China’s ‘Chernobyl moment’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 11 February

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Jamil Anderlini in the Financial Times

on the coronavirus crisis

Xi Jinping faces China’s Chernobyl moment“If the virus can be contained in the coming weeks, then it is still possible Mr Xi could emerge relatively unscathed after blaming provincial officials for the crisis. Having shut down swaths of the economy to contain the outbreak, he may even be able to argue for greater surveillance and control of Chinese society. But if the virus cannot be contained quickly, this could turn out to be China’s Chernobyl moment, when the lies and absurdities of autocracy are laid bare for all to see.”

2. Rachel Diamond Hunter in The Guardian

on queer life

What’s it like when your dad comes out? I found out at age five“As a kid, having a gay dad felt like a superpower. I was proud of my dad, I wanted my friends to meet him and I loved being around him. I always felt grateful that he told me when I was young. It meant I had the joy of truly seeing him for who he was. And it gave me a very early lesson in injustice, power and privilege that I continue to carry with me. I credit my dad for the ease and confidence I felt about him being gay.”

3. Walter Chaw in The New York Times

on the victory for Parasite at the Oscars

Parasite won, but Asian-Americans are still losing“The victory of Parasite is a stunning moment that may not also be a watershed moment. It’s certainly cause for celebration that an organization with notoriously questionable taste seems to have gotten it right this year, and it’s unquestionably huge for the South Korean film industry. But despite the initial euphoric reaction from many Asian-Americans, the Parasite victory has nothing to do with Asian-American representation.”

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4. Rachel Sylvester in The Times

on the return of Sinn Fein as a significant political force

Sinn Fein success is a shock for Britain too“The make-up of the government is still uncertain as the coalition horse-trading begins, but this was clearly a vote for change. [Party president Mary Lou] McDonald is insisting she should become taoiseach, and even if she does not manage to get the top job she will be highly influential. It is only 30 years since the voices of Sinn Fein spokesmen were banned on the BBC (meaning their words had to be spoken by actors) but now the party with historical links to the IRA is a significant political force.”

5. George Grylls in the New Statesman

on the emerging narrative of grands projets

Boris Johnson has approved HS2. But can the government afford it?“Yesterday, along with HS2, No 10 floated a proposal to build a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Clearly the Johnsonian mayoralty – the buses, the cable car and, yes, the garden bridge – should be taken as a template for his premiership. The only problem is that big infrastructure comes with a big price tag, and Johnson has very little wriggle room.”

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