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Chinese netizens flip from anger to praise for virus response

Party restores image as opinion morphs and blame shifts away from Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, takes precautions against the coronavirus. Infections have topped 80,000 in China and 100,000 worldwide.   © Xinhua/Kyodo

TOKYO -- Chinese public opinion of Beijing's response to the new coronavirus has undergone a wild reversal in the weeks since the epidemic began, with online comments turning from bitter criticism into loud applause.

Many online posts during the early stages of the outbreak argued that the government had bungled efforts to control the spread of the virus, as the number of infections nationwide soared into the thousands. But in recent weeks, as cases climb in other countries, more internet comments laud Beijing's "effective" policy actions to rein in the epidemic.

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