TTIMES WORLD: Today's News Report

Thursday, October 21, 2021
Washington, DC, USA


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China's Negative Projection of US
Intending To Secure More Political Legitimacy at Home in China

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To watch the news broadcast inside China is to see the United States in chaos: police brutality against African Americans, the January 6th storming of the US Capitol, and people freezing to death during the Texas power shortages. When Chinese state councilor Yang Jiechi berated the United States, mentioning the Black Lives Matter movement as evidence of its human-rights abuses in a recent meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Anchorage, he was celebrated by the Chinese media for highlighting the hypocrisy of the American government. Anger at multinationals pledging to no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, in response to China’s treatment of the Uighur minority in the region, has led to an angry backlash, with Chinese consumers burning Nike shoes and denouncing Swedish clothing retailer H&M.

The onslaught of negative news about the United States is part of an effort to make the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) look capable in contrast to a floundering US administration, thereby convincing the Chinese people that they should be pleased with their current leadership. This is important, as China has ever fewer supporters abroad while US President Joe Biden works to strengthen alliances in Europe and Asia (though Beijing has announced its intention to boost ties with its old allies Russia and North Korea). A recent survey by Gallup revealed that American perceptions of China are at an all-time low, worse even than after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. The Chinese people have typically viewed other nations and particularly the United States showing respect for China as a source of legitimacy for the party and a demonstration of its growing global heft.

Serious challenges to China’s future economic growth make it doubly important to bolster popular support for the leadership. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.5 percent in the final quarter of last year—faster than almost any country—and policymakers expect to easily meet their target of over 6 percent growth for this year. But the impressive numbers mask problems. In order to keep their economies humming during the pandemic, China’s local governments built up a potentially destabilizing $2.3 trillion of hidden debt in 2020, according to a Bloomberg report citing a Chinese government-affiliated think tank.

Income inequality in China has gotten worse thanks to a lopsided recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that has mainly benefitted the wealthy and jeopardized the household consumption of the less well-off. Last year, China’s richest 20 percent had an average disposable income of over 80,000 yuan ($12,000), 10.2 times that of the poorest one-fifth. That surpassed the United States, where the multiple was about 8.4, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. As one study put it, “the pandemic has exacerbated [China’s] preexisting inequalities.”

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Investigating The Unusual Death of a Man
At a New York Hospital

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The New York State Department of Health opened an investigation into Ithaca, N.Y.-based Cayuga Medical Center following the death of an unnamed patient in the medical center's emergency department waiting room last month, according to the Ithaca Journal.

According to CMC officials, the 52-year-old man arrived at the ED at 6:07 p.m. Jan. 19 after a witness discovered him asleep on the floor of a convenience store. He was reportedly conscious and fully alert upon arrival at the medical center, according to the article. However, he was found dead in the waiting room at 8:32 p.m.

After conducting an internal investigation, officials discovered one of the contract nurses on duty at the time of the incident "falsified her triage documentation," David Evelyn, MD, CMC's vice president of medical affairs, told the Ithaca Journal. Dr. Evelyn said the medical center discovered video evidence that shows the nurse did not ask the patient routine questions and did not measure the patient's vital signs she later reported in her records.

"She said [triage] was done in the waiting room," Dr. Evelyn said. "We see [the patient] in the waiting room, but the two hours he's in the waiting room, the nurse doesn't approach him at all. Vital signs are logged when he's already in the room, and she was at a desk."

Dr. Evelyn said the nurse, a contract travel nurse who was not new to the hospital, was terminated after video review and interviews.

Following the incident, CMC officials contacted the DOH and the medical examiner. The results of the autopsy have not yet been disclosed, according to the article.

Officials said the medical center made several changes to protocol following the incident, including assigning a triage nurse to cover the waiting room at all times. CMC also instituted safety briefings for all shifts.

"Obviously this is a serious event, and we view it as a defining moment for us to say how do we look at our processes and how do we change processes so something like this will never happen again," Deb Raupers, RN, the hospital's vice president of patient services, told the Ithaca Journal.

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