Crises bring out the best and worst of individuals and organizations. The COVID-19 outbreak highlights what some would say is a strength of the Chinese political system: the ability to make quick and bold policy adjustments, such as shutting down travel between large Chinese cities and enforcing restrictions on banned public activity.

But the health crisis also reminds us of an unpleasant truth about the Chinese Communist Party: For all the talk from Chinese officials and state-approved commentators about how the rise of China is good for the world, the overwhelming and driving objective of the CCP is its own survival.

The world increasingly understands that the Chinese government is bent on controlling the discussion of China-related issues not only within but also outside of China.