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chāo zuòyè 抄作业


//Simple, one-sentence definition.// In late January 2020, as the novel coronavirus started to move from Wuhan to other parts of China, netizens criticized provinces that failed to "copy" the epicenter's "homework," i.e. that were slow to impose lockdowns and other restrictions that may have mitigated the spread of the disease. It was not long before netizens redirected their derision abroad. //QUOTES//

State media picked up the terminology, including a February 25 report in Beijing Daily titled "Multinational Call to Copy China's Homework: Three Trends Welcomed by the Situation" (多国喊话向中国抄作业,形势迎来3个新变化). The third trend listed in the article: that "WHO experts have confirmed that China's efforts have succeeded." Wrapped into the "copying homework" analogy is the idea of China's superiority as a pupil whose work ought to be copied. As journalist Chang Ping commented at Deutsche Welle Chinese on March 6 (translated by China Change):

...I can hardly celebrate the way many are doing across the strictly controlled social media environment, because the fact remains that there were nevertheless 119 people confirmed infected, 143 suspected of having the virus, and 38 people who succumbed to it. It’s difficult for me to accept this jubilation. More incredible is how the propaganda these days is patting China on the back for supposedly being the “class star” [in fighting the epidemic]. It beckons foreign countries to learn from China’s example like slow-witted students copying “homework” from the bright ones, ridiculing foreigners for “not even knowing how to copy our work.” [Source]

//ANALYSIS///As @hannah0905 writes on Matters: