What took historic despots like Mao and Stalin decades to accomplish, China has achieved in mere weeks. Using the threat of a virus of unknown origin, according to officials, while ignoring the country's multifaceted environmental and technological hazards to human health, China is in free fall.
Residential lockdowns, checkpoints, neighbors turning in neighbors, mandatory isolation and quarantine stations now cover at least 760 million people in China, or more than half the country's population, according to a New York Times analysis of government announcements in provinces and major cities.
Lauded by the World Health Organization and even President Trump, China's next-level authoritarian lock-down should be seen as a humanitarian issue, rather than a commonsense precaution to protect public health. Adding supply-chain disruptions, clean water issues, medical supply shortages and empty grocery store shelves to the mix, have all the makings of another Tiananmen Square-like eruption at any moment from discontent communities.