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When Fear Goes Viral: Coronavirus and the Human Cost of Stigma

March 4 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

In the weeks since the first cases of coronavirus were reported in Wuhan, the situation has exploded into a global public health crisis that has claimed over 2600 lives. As the number of infected individuals continues to grow, the world’s gaze has turned to China – and to the Chinese people.

Nearly two decades after the outbreak of SARS in 2003, what lessons have been learned? Did early communication lapses exacerbate the health crisis, or has China’s unique system allowed the government to take unprecedented control? How should international governments react now that the virus is spreading elsewhere? And where is the public sympathy for Wuhan – global citizens who stood with Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, with Paris after the 2015 shooting, and with Australia during the 2019 wildfires, but who have been all but absent in today’s growing crisis.

Join China Institute on March 4, when we convene China and global health experts — and a Wuhan resident via Skype — to explore what to do when a virus not only threatens our health, but also our humanity.


Muyi Xiao is a producer at The New York Times specializing in Visual Investigations, a new form of accountability and explanatory journalism that combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics, such as collecting and parsing information from large volumes of videos, photos and audio, analysis of satellite imagery and 3-D reconstructions of crime scenes. Muyi is also a non-resident fellow at ChinaFile where she previously worked as its Visuals Editor from 2017 to 2020. In 2019, she cofounded Chinese Storytellers, a community of multi-lingual non-fiction content creators that publishes a newsletter every two weeks. Muyi grew up in China and worked there from 2012, first as a photo editor for Reuters then as a multimedia reporter for Tencent and more. Her bylines appear on The New York Times, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, TIME, BBC and more. In 2015, Muyi was awarded the Magnum Foundation/NYU Photography and Human Rights Fellowship. Later, she was admitted into the International Center of Photography’s New Media Narratives program with the Director’s Scholarship. Muyi was the executive producer of ‘Down from the Mountains’, a film that won the World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Long Form First Prize in 2018. The same year, she was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass. Muyi served as a jury member for Open Society Foundation’s Moving Walls 25 and the 2019 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest.

Dr. Wan Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Trained in engineering, computer science and infectious disease modeling, she uses mathematical models and computer simulations to study the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases and predict epidemics. Her work with colleagues has provided modeling support to outbreak response to seasonal influenza, the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the recent 2019 measles outbreak in the US. Dr. Yang is also working on modeling the current 2019 novel coronavirus epidemic.

Andrew Mao (Xuejun Mao) is the President of Wuhan University Alumni Association of Greater New York since October 2019. He and his team started the fund raising and support program for purchasing medical supplies and medical equipment to aid the fight against Covid-19 Coronavirus in Wuhan and Hubei Province in China on January 23, 2020. Professionally, Andrew Mao is Deputy General Manager of China Merchants Bank (“CMB”) New York Branch overseeing Risk Management of the Bank in the US since January 2020. Previously he was the Deputy General Manager overseeing corporate and investment banking, transaction banking, leverage finance, supply chain finance, and online and banking. Mr. Mao received BA and MA degrees in Economics from Wuhan University, China. He received Executive MBA degree from Columbia University, New York. He also received executive training at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department Of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


March 4
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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