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Governance of Beijing

Beijing occupies an important place in the government structure of the People’s Republic of China. The city is managed by the City Mayor, the highest-ranking official in the People’s Government of Beijing. Beijing enjoys the status of being centrally administered, so the Mayor of Beijing has the same influence as a provincial governor. However, because of the dual party-government system, the Mayor reports to the Beijing Municipal Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

Beijing’s massive size and role as the national capital elevate its status and importance. Over 21 million people live in Beijing and the city spans over 6,400 square miles. Its administration falls upon multiple municipal bureaus, commissions, and vice mayors of the city.

Background

The municipal government has specially assembled to discuss and review its policies regarding viral outbreaks. It has been eight years since the swine flu caused havoc in Asia. After the 2009-2010 swine flu scare, the city government mandated its policies and procedure be periodically reviewed and updated.

The pandemic response plan was developed in 2009 with the outbreak of a strain of the H1N1 influenza virus, which appeared to be a combination of an earlier influenza strain with a Eurasian pig flu, which led to the adoption of the popular term “swine flu”.

The virus was first confirmed to be observed in April 2009 in Veracruz, Mexico. By June, World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with the U.S.’s Centers for Disease Control declared the H1N1 outbreak a pandemic. The rate of infection started to taper off by November, and in August 2010, the WHO Director-General declared that the 2009 H1N1 outbreak to be in the post-pandemic period. Confirmed deaths were reported to be approximately 18,000, although experts believed the number was undoubtedly higher (with extreme estimates ranging as high as 579,000, although the most widely accepted estimate stood at 284,000) due to lack of access to health facilities in the developing world. The global infection rate was estimated at 11% to 21%, lower than expected.

As a result of the lower than expected impact of the H1N1 outbreak, many were criticized for exaggerating the danger of the outbreak. Consequently, several governments launched investigations into whether actions had “frightened people unnecessarily.” A follow-up study found that with the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, the risk of the most serious complications was not elevated in adults and children. However, another model study conducted in 2013 concluded that 80% of the respiratory and cardiovascular deaths occurred in people younger than 65, and 51% occurred in Africa and Southeast Asia

China is not only the biggest country of pigs and pork production but also has the largest market for the consumption of pork in the world. Pigs are afflicted with Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) along with other mutations. SIV starts by first reducing the affected pig’s immunity which makes the pig prone to secondary and mixed infection before passing it onto humans. Many factors affected the occurrence of swine influenza including temperature, environment and breeding mode. The seasonality is one of the key features of swine influenza.

The possibility of new flu strains and infections keeps city health officials on edge. In 1918, the Spanish Flu epidemic caused about 50 million deaths worldwide. While science has advanced and overall conditions have improved since 1918, the possibility of a viral mutation is ever present.

Questions to Consider

  1. How should the city government react to any new viral or bacteria outbreaks?
  2. What plans should be set up now before an emergency situation?
  3. What will communication plans be if an outbreak were to occur?
  4. Who will the city work with to combat an outbreak?

Simulation Instructions

The Beijing Flu Outbreak will run as a crisis committee. The city government will assemble and pass directives by consensus, as is tradition in the Communist Party of China. Directives will have loose formatting requirements, as speed will be important for the committee. Delegates will be allowed to have portfolio control over their commission or bureau if specified.

Committee Positions

Mr. Lu Yan, Vice Mayor
Commissioner of Urban-Rural Development
Chief of the Bureau of Public Security
City Planning Commissioner
Mr.Yang Bin, Vice Mayor
Ms. Wang Hong, Vice Mayor
Civil Affairs Commissioner
Mr. Yin Yong, Vice Mayor
Commissioner of Ethnic Affairs
Mr. Zhang Jiandong, Vice Mayor
Mr.Sui Zhenjiang, Vice Mayor
Mr. Jin Wei, Secretary General of The People’s Government of Beijing Municipality
Water Commissioner
Transportation Commissioner
Mr. Wang Ning, Vice Mayor
Chief of the Bureau of Supervision

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