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Under fire, Xi recasts himself as early coronavirus fighter

Critics blame party's authoritarian approach for spreading outbreak

Chinese President Xi Jinping is working to allay criticism of Beijing's initial response to the coronavirus.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- As criticism mounts over China's initial response to the new coronavirus, President Xi Jinping is aggressively pushing a narrative that the leadership was taking action weeks before previously reported.

Xi is also sending his close aides to Hubei Province -- home to the city of Wuhan at the center of the outbreak -- boosting his direct involvement in the response as the country's leadership works to contain public discontent over the situation.

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