Epilogue and Reflection

Digital platforms like Weibo and Wechat are able to foster an effective and decentralized system for managing the coronavirus crisis. Yet the power and flexibility of such a system is limited and is restrained under censorship and a centralized political structure. The impact of this decentralized system over battling coronavirus is yet to be evaluated, but one thing reveals itself clearly to me is that the use of decentralized communication systems during this outbreak enables us to see individual sufferings, increases our empathy and feeling of responsibility to each other, and diversifies our narratives. Because of it, an individual’s dim SOS signal gets amplified and heard. As thousands of signals resonate with each other, filling our ears, and eventually silenced, we know that there is much more we need to fight for.

Coronavirus has been stirring up every single family in China. As I am sitting safely in my New York apartment writing this paragraph, my cousin’s family is still “locked” in Hubei, running out of food; my mom’s Wechat just got permanently banned for reasons we would never know; Several of my friends are facing unemployment because companies they work for are going into bankruptcy… I opened up Apples News, seeing Trump administration’s handling of Coronavirus has already become a new center of political battle ground, while US just confirmed its first deaths from Covid-19 in Washington. The virus continues to spread, stirring up more and more families all over the world, showing us how vulnerable we all are regardless of race, gender, culture, country and political boundaries.

So here I am, writing this article. This is a story about how people in China have been battling both coronavirus and censorship over the past month, but I do think a lot of human conditions reflected here are universal: injecting politics in a human crisis, unequal access to healthcare, human suffering and resilience, and impact of a globally connected digital network that allows me to tell the story here. As one individual, I am as small as dust. But the least I can do is to document, speak and tell stories, hoping the fighting and suffering of Wuhan people can be seen and remembered

Huiyi Chen