Speaking Friday, Wang Zhonglin, party chief of Wuhan, the virus-hit capital of Hubei province, said that people in the city -- much of which remains on lockdown -- were not appreciative enough.
It is necessary, Wang reportedly said, "to carry out gratitude education among the citizens of the whole city, so that they thank (President Xi Jinping), thank the Chinese Communist Party, heed the party, walk with the party, and create strong positive energy." His comments attracted widespread criticism online, and have since been mostly scrubbed by the censors, though some state media reports including the quote remain accessible. Yet while Wang appears to have gone too far in the eyes of many -- creating a public relations headache the propaganda apparatus had to clean up -- the sentiment he was expressing is nevertheless widely shared.
As the coronavirus spreads around the world, China has been increasingly vocal about what it appears to feel is a lack of appreciation from the global community for its efforts to contain the outbreak, and preventing the crisis from being even worse than it may turn out to be.