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Chinese paramilitary police stand guard near Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People Chinese paramilitary police stand guard near Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 20, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Are Tools of Repression Helping or Hindering the Response to COVID-19?

Thursday, June 4, 2020

One sweltering night some years ago, well after I had finished eating dinner, I received an urgent knock on my front door. I was spending a summer in Hanoi, and had just moved into an apartment in a quiet, residential area.

My late-night visitor turned out to be a young Vietnamese police officer in uniform. As I often did in such encounters, I tried to keep the interaction as brief as possible by acting confused and answering his questions in English. But then, a middle-aged woman, whom I recognized from the neighborhood, emerged from the shadows and said, “He speaks Vietnamese! I’ve heard him!” ...

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