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How Chinese citizens view their government’s coronavirus response

How Chinese citizens view their government’s coronavirus response



A security officer wearing a face mask to protect against COVID-19 stands guard as plainclothes personnel march in formation outside the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing on May 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Outside China, opinions about China’s performance during the COVID-19 pandemic is divided between praise and blame. But little is known about how Chinese citizens themselves view their government’s response.

I recently received a rapid response grant on the COVID-19 pandemic from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to study public responses and social relations in times of crisis. I have brought together front-line researchers from China, including those at the centre of the outbreak — Wuhan City — as well as political culture and public health scholars in Canada and Sweden.

We are studying how governments within and across countries have been responding to the global pandemic and what might explain the varying responses. We are also considering how people perceive government performance during the crisis and how that, in turn, might affect public trust in government after the pandemic.

In the case of China, some have worried that China’s handling of the crisis since the outbreak may have undermined Chinese citizens’ longstanding support for their government.

A man pulls a child along as they wear masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 on the streets of Beijing on May 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Major news media such as the New York Times and Time magazine have reported that the COVID-19 crisis shows China’s governance failure, which could derail President Xi Jinping’s China dream.

But how satisfied are Chinese citizens with their government performance during the crisis? In collaboration with 17 Chinese academics, I conducted a large-scale survey in late April 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the reopening of Wuhan. In total, 613 university students from 53 universities across China joined our team. This served to ensure that the survey was widely distributed across all regions.

Each interviewer reached out to their contacts and ask their permission first before sending them the link that would enable them to fill out the survey. The purpose of this approach was to ensure meaningful engagement with the survey, similar to a face-to-face situation. Respondents were assured their responses would be anonymous.

We obtained data from 19,816 people in 31 provinces or provincial-level administrative regions across China.

Opinion divided

Outside China, opinions of China’s performance are split. On one hand, the Chinese government has been openly criticized for allegedly suppressing vital information about the outbreak in its early stages and downplaying its severity.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said the virus could have been contained by China. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, have also called for an investigation into how China handled the initial outbreak in Wuhan.

On the other hand, the Chinese government has also been praised for its efforts to contain the virus and the help it offered to other countries as they fought the pandemic. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said in a statement:

“The Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact those measures are having on the Chinese people.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic praised China, saying it was the only country that helped Serbia fight the outbreak. He even kissed the Chinese flag in a show of gratitude.

In this April 2020, photo, a woman wearing a face mask drives her car by a Chinese flag placed on a street in Belgrade, Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Citizen satisfaction high in China

In our survey, we asked Chinese people how satisfied they are with information dissemination during the pandemic from various levels of government including national, provincial, city, county and township or village governments.

We also asked their satisfaction with the delivery of daily necessities and protective equipment, like masks, from each level of government. Responses were originally coded on a 1-5 scale with 1 corresponding to “not at all satisfied,” 2 to “not satisfied,” 3 to “OK,” 4 to “satisfied” and 5 to “very satisfied.”

I created an overall satisfaction index that combines all levels of government on both questions for each individual.

The satisfaction index ranges from 10 (unsatisfied with all levels of government on both questions) to 50 (satisfied with all levels of government on both questions). On this 10-50 scale, Chinese citizens indicated an overall satisfaction score of 39.2 (38.8 in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located). This suggests that Chinese citizens’ satisfaction with government performance during the pandemic is very high.

To better present the findings, I recoded each item from the 1-5 scale into a binary measure, designating 4 and 5 as satisfied (1) and other categories as unsatisfied (0). On this binary scale, about 75 per cent of China’s citizens indicated they were satisfied with government’s information dissemination, while 67 per cent were satisfied with the government’s delivery of daily necessities and protection materials during the pandemic. See below:

Chinese citizens’ overall satisfaction with government performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next, I considered how citizen satisfaction varies across provinces. I have found that in provinces with a small number of confirmed cases such as Xinjiang, Hunan, Qinghai, Tibet and Liaoning, citizens are more satisfied.

However, in Jiangxi, Guangdong, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Hebei, where more people were infected, citizens are less satisfied. This suggests that citizen satisfaction might reflect actual government performance. Still, citizens in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, were ranked in the middle in terms of their satisfaction.

Chinese citizens’ overall satisfaction with government performance during the COVID-19 pandemic across provinces.

Critical citizens are less satisfied

A large body of literature, including my own research, suggests that critical citizens — empirically, usually those who are young and highly educated — are often more critical in their assessment of government performance.

Accordingly, I looked into how education (measured by degree) and age (in years) might predict citizen satisfaction on the 10-50 scale. In my assessment, I also controlled for other demographics, including gender, household income and urban or rural residency.

Younger, more highly educated citizens were less satisfied with government performance.

Both education and age show a non-linear effect on citizen satisfaction. Lower levels of satisfaction were found among those who are highly educated with university degrees and under 30 years old. This suggests that China’s critical citizens were indeed less satisfied with government performance during the pandemic.

Hierarchical citizen satisfaction

My previous research on political trust has shown that Chinese citizens are often more critical toward the government at the local level when evaluating government performance. In terms of citizen satisfaction, Chinese citizens often express hierarchical citizen satisfaction: they express lower levels of satisfaction for levels of government closer to the people.

Do Chinese citizens continue to hold hierarchical citizen satisfaction in assessing the performance of various levels of government during the COVID-19 crisis?

To find out, I broke down citizen satisfaction according to the level of government.

The results confirm the hierarchical citizen satisfaction pattern. Whereas 89 per cent of Chinese citizens expressed their satisfaction toward the national government on information dissemination during the pandemic, the number fell to 77 per cent for the provincial level government, 74 per cent for the city level, 70 per cent for the county level and 67 per cent for the community or village level of government.

Consistently, in evaluating government deliveries of daily necessities and protective supplies, 81 per cent were satisfied with the national government, but the number fell with each lower level of government. Only 58 per cent were satisfied with their community or village level government, even though this is the level of government that actually delivers essential services during the pandemic.

Hierarchical citizen satisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taken together, it’s evident that Chinese citizens hold very high levels of satisfaction with the performance of their national government during the pandemic.

When citizens have high levels of satisfaction with how government works, they also become more trusting of government. This suggests that China’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic might have enhanced the legitimacy of its government.

Cary Wu receives funding from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

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Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition

Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and…



Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and in today’s interview, The Dales Report’s Nicole Hodges talks with CEOs Dr. Roger McIntyre and Warren Gumpel of Braxia Scientific and KetaMD respectively.

For some background information, KetaMD is a U.S. based, privately-held, innovative telemedicine company, with a mission to address mental health challenges via access to technology-facilitated ketamine-based treatments. Braxia Scientific is Canada’s first clinic specializing in ketamine treatments for mood disorders. They recorded revenue of $1.49m for 2022 fiscal year, ended March 31. On a year-over-year basis, revenue increased 47.5%.

Here’s some highlights from the interview.

KetaMD gives Braxia a presence in the US

Dr. McIntyre says that KetaMD gives Braxia what they’ve had as their vision from the beginning: a US presence. KetaMD is a living program. It’s already running, has infrastructure, and patients. McIntyre believes that a program like KetaMD is something Braxia’s needed to scale and obtain commercial success.

With telemedicine, Braxia has a potential to serve a gap in access. The zeitgeist of “patient going to medicine” has flipped, McIntyre says. “Now it’s medicine goes to the patient, and that is long overdue.”

COVID speeding a trend that was already happening

In 2020, 80% of physicians indicated they had virtual visits. That’s a number up from 22% the year before. But this is something that many doctors, McIntyre included, believe always should have happened. The pandemic only was the catalyst for innovation and making the option viable.

While some treatments will always need a clinic or a hospital, McIntyre believes some treatments can be done safely at home. And they are, for many chronic diseases. He feels implementing ketamine and psychedelics would be among these treatments where service could be expanded into the home. It would require careful SOPs in place, best practices, and surveillance. But he believes Braxia Scientific could deliver this with KetaMD.

Gumpel to stay as CEO of KetaMD

Gumpel says that KetaMD benefits in this acquisition from being part of the world’s most prominent researchers in depression, psychedelics, and ketamine. In the acquisition, he’ll stay on as CEO. He admits that Dr. McIntyre has been a huge part of collecting the data on the safety of ketamine treatment, and has a strong motivation to “see this thing through until most of society can access that – or at least the people that need it and want it.”

Gumpel admits he has a personal connection to ketamine treatment. As a person who has experienced bouts of depression for years, it saved his life, he says. He is grateful he was living within walking distance of ketamine treatment in Manhattan. It made him extremely aware of the accessibility gap, which in part inspired KetaMD.

Be sure to tune in for the full interview regarding Braxia and KetaMD, right here on The Dales Report!

The post Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition appeared first on The Dales Report.

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Spread & Containment

How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock

Investors Alley
How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock
When we talk about tech stock investing, we hear discussions of all sorts about different…



Investors Alley
How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock

When we talk about tech stock investing, we hear discussions of all sorts about different measures used for picking stocks.

For example, some tech investors use year-over-year revenue growth. Others subscribe to a theory that has been floating around for many years, that the secret to picking tech stocks was looking at the percentage of cash flows spent on research and development.

All too often, tech stock analysis consists of storytelling and searching for ideas that will change the world, something I’ve heard thousands of times during my career. The number of companies that actually did change the world probably totals up to a few dozen over three decades.

Some of those beat the market. Others did not.

I have found a variable that can help tech investors spot promising opportunities to identify technology companies that have higher probabilities of providing market-beating returns: dividends.

Note a stock’s dividend yield: investors who want higher dividends with an overall total return would be smart to look into high-yield tech stocks as part of their income strategy. The key to using dividends to find market-beating tech stocks is to look at the rate of their dividend growth. It doesn’t matter how high the dividend is at any given time. We want to see companies that are consistently growing their dividends.

A tech company that pays a dividend is making a statement. It tells the world: “We are generating enough cash to pay the bills, hire great people, and fund our future growth plans as well as R&D. In fact, we are generating so much cash we have some left over to pay out to our investors.”

Ideally, we want to limit our universe of companies to those who are increasing their payout by at least 20% annually. Growing a dividend at that high a rate says that things are just continuing to get better.

Once we have a universe of tech companies that are growing their payouts at high levels, we want to make sure we only own those that really do have a wonderful business that just keeps getting better. We want to use a financial checklist to make sure our companies are in excellent financial shape and have what it takes to keep growing the business.

I prefer the nine-point checklist developed by Professor Joseph Piotroski when he was at the University of Chicago – known as the “Piotroski F-Score”. This is a list of nine criteria of profitability, leverage, and efficiency. On each criterion, a firm can either get one or zero points – pass or fail.

I limit my universe of tech stocks with paid dividend growth to just two to three with the highest scores on the Piotroski checklist.

Using this simple method for picking tech stock winners has crushed the S&P 500 over the past decade and even edged at the tech-heavy NASDAQ 100.

Texas Instruments (TXN) makes the current list of technology companies with high dividend growth and outstanding fundamentals and prospects. The company makes most of its revenues from semiconductors, but it does still have some revenues from its calculators and other business machines. (I have had one of these, a Texas BAII calculator, within arm’s reach for most of my career.)

Texas Instruments had a solid second quarter and increased its guidance for the third quarter. The company has not suffered the China slowdown problems that have plagued some of their competitors so far. The brightest spot in the recent report was semiconductors being sold to the automobile industry, which were up 20%.

Although we have seen some slowdown in semiconductors due to the supply chain issues created by the pandemic, Texas Instruments has powerful tailwinds from all the developments we see in technology over the next decade.

Every one of the hottest trends in the economy—from renewable energy to artificial intelligence and everything in between—is going to increase demand for semiconductor chips. There are thousands of semiconductors in every electric vehicle, which will be another massive source of demand for the industry.

Texas Instruments has a yield of 2.5% right now, and has been growing that payout by 20.5% annually.

Another semiconductor company, Broadcom (AVGO) has the fastest-growing payout on our list right now. The company makes chips for smartphones, networking, broadband, and wireless connectivity. Broadcom’s recent purchase of Symantec’s Enterprise Business also puts it in the cybersecurity business.

Broadcom’s shares currently yield 2.97% and the payment has risen by an average of 49% annually for the past five years.

Most investors will never think of using dividends as part of the stock selection process. Rigorous testing shows that dividend growth is actually an important part of identifying companies with the potential to be huge winners.

My favorite way to invest in those companies isn’t to buy their stock, though. Instead, I like to use a special, little-known investment that lets me invest in these companies for up to 18% less than what others pay…

While collecting twice or more the dividend yield!

All without any more risk. I’m tracking 5 opportunities like that right now, and I lay them all out right here.

Only 3% of investors even know these funds exist

But using them, I can beat the market 2-to-1 while collecting 2-10X MORE yield from regular dividend stocks.

I learned this trick while I was rubbing elbows with some of the biggest fund managers in US history.

They too are buying these little known funds, cashing in huge discounts and collecting income while they do it.

Click here to learn the secret yourself.


How to Use Dividends to Find the Best Tech Stock
Tim Melvin

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Where Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean Sit on Covid Vaccines

Do You still need to be vaccinated to go on a Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Norwegian Cruise?



Do You still need to be vaccinated to go on a Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or Norwegian Cruise?

Cruise line covid-19 vaccination and testing rules, which were imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the beginning of the pandemic, have been stricter than most. After the pandemic started in early 2020, the CDC signed a No Sail Order on March 14, 2020, which was finally lifted after nearly eight months on Oct. 30, 2020.

After the No Sail Order was lifted, the CDC enacted extremely restrictive rules and regulations to help keep passengers safe with the covid pandemic still raging throughout the world. The rules and regulations were set forth to begin to return cruise lines to operational status.

The cruise lines first had to be staffed accordingly and set up with the ability to test, treat and quarantine for covid medical emergencies. Testing for crew and passengers before embarkment and before dis-embarkment was required. The testing at pre-embarkment was a measure to protect those boarding, while the post-trip testing was for determining if an infection started on the cruise line itself. Being able to track the virus was very important in the prevention of spreading the virus and protecting patrons.

Image source: Shutterstock

Vaccination Still Not a Free Pass to Board

Once the vaccination was developed and approved, it became part of the CDC guidelines for cruise line adult passengers to have their vaccination before boarding. Even with a vaccination, guests still needed to test before they boarded the cruise lines. As the vaccine was approved for younger age groups, those age groups were then also required to have the vaccine to travel. Passengers were required to be fully vaccinated unless they are exempt by some status.

Before boarding, cruise line passengers who tested positive, as well as their travel companions, were not allowed to board, depending on the cruise line and how long the cruise may be. Some passengers were allowed to board and then isolate, others would have to reschedule their trip. Trip insurance is a good buy these days.

Cruise Lines Letting Loose on Vaccine Policies

Carnival Cruise Line  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report has now removed pre-cruise testing for vaccinated guests and also welcomes unvaccinated guests to travel. Fully vaccinated guests traveling less than 16 nights with the cruise line will no longer be subjected to testing, but still must provide proof of their vaccination status. Unvaccinated travelers will only need to provide a negative covid test result to board the ships. All rules and regulations are still subject to the destination country’s guidelines.

According to the Healthy Sail Center for Royal Caribbean  (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report, the cruise line has updated its covid vaccination protocol. The cruise line will now allow passengers regardless of vaccination status to board in some ports if the travelers meet the testing requirements. Testing requirements vary by cruise departure and destination. Check the cruise lines port departure for updated information on requirements.

There is, however, a major exception, at least for now, which is obvious when you look at the specific wording shared by the cruise line:

"Starting with September 5 departures, all travelers regardless of vaccination status can cruise on the following itineraries, as long as they meet any testing requirements to board.

  • Cruises from Los Angeles, California.
  • Cruises from Galveston, Texas.
  • Cruises from New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Cruises from a European homeport.

Notice that Florida, a major port for the cruise line, is not currently on the list.

In the U.S. aside from Florida, any guest with a valid negative covid test within the last three days will be able to board. These guests will also not be required to take a second test at the boarding terminal. Fully vaccinated guests do not need to provide proof of a negative covid test for shorter cruises. See the cruise line website for all updated information as it is subject to change.

Beginning Sept. 3, Norwegian Cruise Line  (NCLH) - Get Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Report is dropping its covid vaccine requirements for all its cruises. The cruise line stated that it is continuing to follow requirements for all destination countries, so guests traveling will want to check on destination vaccine and testing requirements. All guests 12 and older regardless of vaccination need to show proof of a negative test within 72 hours. Check NCL online for further instructions prior to travel.

The CDC has taken the stance that travelers are now well informed enough to make their own decisions when it comes to traveling on cruise lines. The travelers are taking their own assumed risk for their health and well-being. Cruise lines are now welcoming this new freedom for their passengers. 

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