Tag Archives: Lanhee Chen

Lanhee Chen: China Steps Back on Promise to Hong Kong

China has now moved to exert more control over Hong Kong, ending the special treatment that was guaranteed to it when the former British colony was turned over to Beijing’s control in 1997. At the time, China promised Hong Kong would be governed for 50 years under the principle of “one country, two systems.” In other words, Hong Kong would retain its own legal system and police force through 2047.

But President Xi Jinping of China is now breaking that promise by imposing a sweeping new national security law on Hong Kong that would criminalize acts of protest against the Chinese government.

The American response was swift and appropriately strong—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally declared that the U.S. no longer considers Hong Kong autonomous from China.

It’s a move with numerous ramifications that will surely provoke Beijing, but sends the unmistakable signal that our support for the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong will not waver.

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Lanhee Chen: The World Health Organization Desperately Needs Reform

The World Health Organization botched its response to the novel coronavirus. It legitimized China’s early and misleading claims about the disease, which set back the initial response to the virus in other countries, including in the US.

What’s needed now is an independent investigation of the WHO’s reaction to the coronavirus crisis and an accounting of the interactions between the WHO’s leadership and China’s government.

We must also press for a new leader for the WHO. The current leader of the group, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has not been transparent in a number of critical decisions, all while showing allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party on critical matters. Sidelining him now would let us identify a successor we can support while empowering others at the organization who will emphasize values like accountability and openness in the WHO’s ongoing efforts.

These reforms are urgently needed. Because as long as the organization plays the role it does, lives are at stake.

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Lanhee Chen: The Key Piece for Recovery: School

College students should be returning to campus this fall.

For some colleges and universities, the decision to bring back in-person research and instruction is a matter of basic economic survival.

But even where it is not, the pandemic crisis threatens the essence of college life. Even the best distance-learning program cannot replace the normal interactions that take place on the college campus.

A return to in-person instruction should follow a strategy based on the latest science, balanced with efforts to restore campus life and protect the vulnerable.

It begins with a comprehensive testing and contact tracing plan. Colleges should also focus on residential environments where social distancing may be difficult.

Not all students or faculty will be able to come back at the same time.

Some combination of distance learning with in-person instruction will be needed.

It will be tough to bring students back to college campuses this fall, but it’s an effort well worth making.

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Lanhee Chen: The Schools: A Key to America’s Reopening

California’s governor recently floated the idea of reopening the state’s K-12 schools as early as July. It’s an idea that should be applauded and encouraged in other states. Reopening America’s schools is not only important for the future of our kids, but also for bringing our workplaces back online and jumpstarting the economy.

One of the few glimmers of hopeful news we’ve heard about the coronavirus is that it tends not to be as deadly or harmful for school-aged kids. Even so, reopening the schools has to be done carefully and with special attention paid to the students, parents, teachers and staff who might be at greater risk.

Classrooms and student interactions will need to account for social distancing norms to help prevent the spread of the virus, and not all schools can begin at the same time. But re-opening our schools should be a priority for policymakers as we try to bring America back from the depths of this horrible disease.

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Lanhee Chen: The World Health Organization Is in Need of Reform

President Trump should be applauded for his decision to halt funding to the World Health Organization while the administration reviews the group’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

You and I—the U.S. taxpayers—write a $400 million blank check to the WHO each year. It’s an organization that is broken and long overdue for fundamental reform.

In its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO has demonstrated that it puts politics over public health.

During the critical weeks and months when the virus began its spread in China and then around the world, the WHO seemed more interested in playing politics—deferring to China—rather than taking the actions that could have saved lives around the world.

We should not waste this opportunity to bring about the lasting, positive changes that will ultimately save lives and improve public health not just here, but around the world as well.

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Lanhee Chen: Approaching COVID-19 With Grace and Patience

The coronavirus crisis has already exacted a significant toll on our country, with lost lives and lost livelihoods. Our economy is basically shut down, with millions joining the ranks of the unemployed each week.

I know that all Americans, like me, are eager to get back to life as usual. But this coronavirus crisis is one that will not end on our own timing. And we will need both grace and patience to carry us through.

We will not be able to restart our economy until the worst of the public health crisis has passed. It will be hard to convince people to eat out, shop at the mall, attend a sporting event or take that trip to Europe until they believe it is safe to do so.

So that means—as hard as it is—we wait at home for this crisis to end. With the confidence that this, too, shall pass.

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Lanhee Chen: We Can Overcome This Crisis Together

There’s something important that all of us can do to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It’s not convenient, and it’s not necessarily fun. But it will save lives. What is it? Try your best to stay at home.

You can still take walks outside with others in your family, shop for essentials, or get take-out from a local restaurant.

And there’s also plenty we can do to stay connected to others: Check in on your loved ones and friends frequently, give to people in need in your community—supplies for food pantries, financial donations, personal hygiene items.

Buy online gift certificates to your favorite local stores and restaurants — and use them when this is over.

If you’re going to spread anything, spread help, compassion and humor. Above all, do not panic. Remember: Like all outbreaks, this too will eventually end.

Focused and united, we can avoid the worst possibilities. It’s up to all of us. As a country, we can overcome this crisis together.

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