2 years after Mao’s death, a reform-minded official wrote a critique of Mao's ideology: “Practice Is the Sole Criterion for Judging Truth.' Mao had prioritized obedience: Whatever worked, China should do.
Deng promoted the empirical approach: “Seek truth from facts.” China remained repressive but practical: opening economy to investment and competition.
I thought of this reading the heart-rending story of Wuhan doctor who warned about the coronavirus, Li Wenliang; party officials muzzled and criticized him. After contracting the virus from one of his patients he died earlier today (photo of him wearing an oxygen mask).
China has moved from Deng’s empirical approach back to Mao’s rigid ideology. Coronavirus as example, China is a powerful, globally integrated country, which means that its tragedies can easily become global tragedies.