By James Kynge
HONG KONG: The “year of the pig” has gone from bad to worse for the Chinese Communist party and China’s President Xi Jinping.
Months of vituperative protests in Hong Kong and a landslide election in Taiwan have been followed by the scourge of a deadly SARS-like virus.
So far, there is little cause to expect the year of the rat, which starts on Saturday (Jan 25), will turn out any better.
The outbreak of viral pneumonia, which has spread from mainland China to Japan, Macau, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the US, might seem like mere bad luck.
But allegations of official incompetence and cover-ups are threatening to besmirch the Communist party’s image.