Anyone who has worked in Chiner knows that 'face' is everything. Not only your 'face' but the 'face' of those that work for you or above you. The preservation of 'face' within an organization can be mind-boggling for Americans working here, because our tendency is to find those responsible for problems and point the finger.
Well, from the Health Minister comes this quote:
"I'm not worried about local governments hiding outbreaks, but I'm worried about our grassroots health and disease-prevention personnel not being able to find and confirm cases in a timely manner due to the low-level of competency and poor technical expertise,"
Quite an admission from the government...and a much more open attitude from the top. This is the first thing that has given me a bit of confidence in their ability to communicate the issues of bird flu through the media.
The problem isn't at the top (as was seen with SARS), the problem lies in the provincial and village level where the preservation of 'face' is even greater (see Harbin disaster).