Post COVID 19 Political trends
5 trends to keep in mind:
The Emergency Totalitarianism
As the crisis became more global, both governments and business started to legitimize surveillance as a mean to ensure safety.
Amidst of the crisis, both the United States and China seems to reinforce their control on their national economies. Moreover, the coronavirus has nurtured negative opinions about chinese citizens in China but also outside of China.
The Mask Diplomacy
The Mask Diplomacy defines any process or political decision that use the crisis as a way to broaden one’s soft power. As some comments define the COVID-19 as a new war, mask diplomacy may redefine alliances and international cooperations.
The Blame Game
The Blame Game nuances the impact of mask diplomacy as governments tend to accuse international culprits : China accuses now western countries for bringing back the virus, the USA blame China and the UN, and so on. The Blame Game allows governments to reenforce their control and legitimity an a national scope but it may have deep impacts on international cooperation.
The New Taboo
As the coronavirus seems to be in check according to officials, opposing discourses in mainland China may be prevented. Few games have been banished because of discourses within.
State of play
The Emergency Totalitarism
- As the lockdown progress, many governments have been pinned by the United Nations as they develop what we may name a “toxic lockdown culture”. In order to make people respecting social distancing, curfews and others, some countries do not hesitate to not respect people’s rights and freedom. Theses restrictions and violations come with many forms : heavy-handed actions in response to curfew violations, While countries rely on contact tracing
- China’s use of the social credit system to manage the Covid-19 epidemic. The government has also integrated the social credit system in its strategy of quarantining and managing the spread of the virus. Individuals who hide their travel or medical history – and thus their potential exposure to the coronavirus – can have their personal social credit scores deducted or be put on a blacklist. Some cities have also included behaviors such as the spreading of rumors and hoarding products as social credit infringements.
- China uses latest tech for tracking. In China, telecoms companies have been tracking the movements of their users. On top of that, artificial intelligence and security camera companies had developed a new way to spot and identify people with fevers. Some of the facial recognition systems today recognize people wearing face masks in China.
- In a global level, Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology. Starting from May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores. Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.
- “Techno-nationalism” refers to mercantilist-like policies, such as export controls, that link a nation’s tech innovation and enterprises directly to its economic prosperity, national security, and social stability. Going forward, the US government could take a much tougher stance on export controls, which could have high costs for many firms. Chinese companies will accelerate their efforts to de-Americanize their supply chains, no matter what happens to US export control policies.
- U.S. views of China increasingly became negative amid Coronavirus Outbreak. A recent survey from the Pew Institute unveiled that 2 out of 3 american citizens have an unfavorable opinion of China. Moreover, a growing majority of americans see the Chinese influence as a major threat. At the same time, The coronavirus crisis has exposed China’s racism, local government in Guangzhou implementing surveillance, conducting compulsory testing and enforcing a 14-day quarantine for all African nationals. In a broader way, discourses in China and eastern asian countries illustrate ressentful emotions toward western countries as they did not prepare well enough. The scarcity of masks in european countries is an example of reproaches eastern countries adress to western’s.
The Mask Diplomacy
- The various international policy actions on the part of China have been grouped together under the portmanteau word of mask diplomacy. This term now extends to any action to enhance the value of oneself in the eyes of public opinion, whether it is a company like LVMH that produces masks or cleaning gel, donations from many millionaires and billionaires, or donations from one country to another directly. Foundations Jack Ma sent medical equipment, including masks and coronavirus tests, to a couple of different countries including Russia, India, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam etc. to help it fight an outbreak. United Nations and Tencent announced March 30th a global partnership for UN 75th anniversary. With Coronavirus pandemic, Tencent will provide the #UN75 campaign with videoconferencing and digital dialogue tools to boost the online outreach and promotion.
- Xi Jinping’s China seems to be particularly ahead of this recovery from the health crisis in favor of a political agenda, as some analysts see these actions as a way to maintain and strengthen economic ties between China and the rest of the world.
- It is indeed interesting to see that mask diplomacy is fuelling some speculation around the market for the installation of 5G in Europe. Of course, this in no way precludes some spikes in crisis management, a feature that is particularly mediatized as a mark of a government’s leadership : China “understands the current difficult situation the United States is facing,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Blame Game
- Several journalists studied different approaches to crisis management and correlated these approaches to mortality rates well below national averages. In Europe, it is particularly Angela Merkel and her past as a researcher who is praised for her management of the crisis. In the United States, California is one of the states with the best management of covid-19, including a March containment. London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, applied containment and social distancing as early as March. Ultimately, Jacinda Arden, Prime Minister of New Zealand is considered one of the leaders who best managed the crisis, particularly for her communication and empathy.
- Opposite these leaders, Boris Johnson (for his Malthusian management), Jair Bolsonaro (for his negationism), Donald Trump (for his focus on the economy rather than on health) and the government of Emmanuel Macron (for his inconsistencies in communication) are among the bad students. Trump, among all, particularly blamed China and played on words in order to murture blame. For example, he spoke about the “chinese virus” instead of the coronavirus. Paradoxically, Donald Trump’s government is suspending funding to the WHO. The political context is one of accusations, with governments looking for the culprit. The USA accuses the WHO of not having taken into account China’s recommendations, France accuses China of mismanagement, etc. The US is accusing the WHO of not having taken into account China’s recommendations, France is accusing China of mismanagement, etc.
- Our understanding of the blame game is that governments blame other countries in order to maintain themselve on a national level. The blame game may damage international cooperation while creating splits between population with different cultures.
- As national culture tends to overlap company’s culture, it may be interesting to keep in mind that the blame game may deteriorate relationships among ubisoftees.
Political sensitiveness on the rise : impact on culture
- China tightened the control over games amid COVID19 crisis. The game has content or user generated content that is deemed to be too offensive or violent or politically incorrect etc are banned in China.
- A coronavirus-themed game has been blocked on Steam in China because of its politically motivated content. Chinese players reported the game for using the same colour scheme as the Chinese flag, with virus-shaped animations in place of its stars.
- Hugely popular simulation game Plague Inc. was blacklisted in March as the Covid-19 outbreak worsened.
- The game has content or user generated content that is deemed to be too offensive or violent etc.