The Dystopia Society Under COVD 19

Life in a Dystopia

 Find an event, movement, or social situation in our current world that connects to brainwashing/human rights/overpopulation/population control/sexism/or world crisis and write about it in conjunction with a specific characteristic of either utopia or dystopia. MLA format (add works cited page). Paraphrased passage, two direct quotes from “The Futurological Congress” by Lem, two outside sources required. 5 essay pages, 1 works cited page



People from a long time in history have told each other that one should hope for the best
and expect the worst. The world has been changing radically in a way that many human beings
have not been able to comprehend, and every day, people live in the hope of a better tomorrow.
However, the challenges the world was facing several decades ago have transformed or grown
into bigger ones. As the world struggles with the already existing problems, it scrambles to
prevent new ones, but still, some problems seem inevitable. New problems are always
developing, and the world's scope to solve them seems to be overstretched (Hegarty). Critically
looking at the world's situation, it would be easy to predict the future of the world is dystopian.
Or maybe parts of the eras that people are going through are dystopian. A dystopian community
is one that is both dehumanizing and frightening. One situation that fits the definition of a
dystopian society is the current COVID 19 pandemics. A terrible disease that has led the world's
population into hiding in their homes without enough food and sanitation, this could be a real-
world exemplification of a dystopian. One of the key characteristics that the COVID 19 situation
and Lem’s dystopian future share is propaganda to control society. Governments and other
administrative authorities use propaganda to control the population to believe in hope for a better
tomorrow where it does not exist. Even though the plot of Lem’s story does not read through the

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lives of people who are suffering under the Corona Virus, the use of propaganda makes one think
that Lem could have been foreshadowing the COVID 19 situation in his story.
The Corona Virus is thought to have started in Wuhan, China, where the Chinese
authorities first disputed claims of the deadly Virus. When the Virus broke out, the medical
practitioners were the first to see some gaps after several reported pneumonia cases that did not
have an obvious cause. These medical practitioners shared their fears and information on
this pneumonia that they feared was a strain of a deadly SARS virus that had struck China again
in the past. However, medical practitioners did not know that their communication was under
constant surveillance by the police (Hegarty). Dr. Li Wenliang, the physician who was the first to
observe a trend of the new infection at an alarming rate and shared the information with his
fellow medics as the culture among medical practitioners, was visited by the police three days
after his whistleblowing messages and told to stop. In his message, he alleged that he had warned
his fellow medics to put on protective clothing to avoid catching the disease. However, days
after, Dr. Li Wenliang was summoned by the Public Security Bureau of China and forced to sign
a letter that said that he and other medics had made force comments that disturbed social order in
a big way. Under these words were warnings that if he continues to be stubborn and continue
with the "illegal" activities, the authorities would take strict measures against him. “A man can
control only what he comprehends and comprehend only what he can put into words” (Lem 19).
These words were true with the Chinese Authorities and other governments, which handled the
COVID 19 situation. In line with Lem’s statement, the authorities could only comprehend a
normal pneumonia situation, not a cause of alarm. However, this only indicated that the need for
order in a society blinded the government. Even though they could have detected an unusual
situation, they would only act normal, not to cause alarm among the public members. This way,

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they could only respond to what they could tell the public about the pandemic, which led to
insufficient response to the pandemic spreading to other parts of the country and the world. With
the government denying the worsening situation, Dr. Li went back to work and could not wear
protective clothing to not be causing a false alarm as the authorities saw it. Thus, he contracted
the Virus from a patient (Hegarty). He was admitted to the hospital that he was working in, and
in January 2020, when Dr. Li was in a critical condition, he published the warning letter on
Weibo, but it was too late. The Virus had gone past the Chinese borders, and the Chinese
authorities were now asking for help from the World Health Organization, and Dr. Li's life was
fading away from the face of the world. He later passed on a hero to many, but the government
propaganda blocked his heroic actions until it was too late.
Even though the authorities had admitted to the world that the situation was out of hand,
it was not ready to show its people and the world that it had lost control over the situation. The
Chinese Communist Party has invested in the state media outlets that communicated in English;
it was ripe for them to do their intended purpose of public diplomacy. In January 2020, more
than 33% of all posts made by Chinese state media on social media and their websites were on
the Corona Virus (Khrushcheva). Among these posts was propaganda used by the state to
persuade, influence, and distract the audience's attention. With the broadcast nature of social
media, the state media targeted information to certain people with the interest of making them
see a “Simulant – something that doesn't exist but pretends to.” (Lem 50). In this case, the
Simulant that the media was putting false on targeted people makes them feel like the situation is
not that bad as they thought. The stories spread in these media channels were positive, and this
was meant to turn the deteriorating situation in China into a positive story. The state media also
wisely turned the narrative to divert the blame of the pandemic from the government to other

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shady, powerful outside forces. Despite the use of white propaganda by the state media to fool
the people that the government's actions were fully transparent, numbers did not lie
(Khrushcheva). Despite the government's effort to alter the numbers of new infections and deaths
caused by the disease, the number of people getting infected was too high to hide that people
started collapsing on the streets, and videos of hospitals flooding with sickly patients started
The propaganda train did not stop in Beijing. It took its voyage to Europe and largely in
America. The French president was quoted saying "we are at war," which are words that were
also echoed by his American counterpart Donald Trump who instilled hope in the American
people saying “the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy.” Turning this into a war
called for a patriotic gaze at the situation that required the citizens to look at the situation as a
“we against the Pandemic” situation (Khrushcheva). However, no matter how this perspective
may be true, it is meant to cover the government's unpreparedness over the situation's corona
Virus. It may be a war, as the world leaders put it, but war requires prior preparation, and they
missed out on this stage. Medical doctors were said to have lacked enough protective clothing,
and hospitals did not have enough beds for COVID 19 patients. Trump has ignored several
warnings from the CDC and the FBI about the severity of the situation, arguing that the
Coronavirus could not survive in warm weather. Thus it could die naturally when the country
entered summer (Hegarty). He ignored the measures set to protect the people against the
pandemic, such as putting on a face mask in public passing a false message to the people that
there was nothing to worry about as all was under control. Soon after realizing that the situation
was out of control, Trump changed the narrative from “there is nothing to worry about” to “we
all need to be patriotic and fight this war together, or we will lose it as a country" (Khrushcheva).

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To drive the idea of war even further, the US government borrowed some world war II
propagandas such as “telling a friend could mean telling an enemy” and transformed it into
"seeing a friend could mean spreading the virus," which meant that citizens were to become
active soldiers in the battle against the Virus (Khrushcheva). He also tried to turn a pointing
finger into China for failing to control the Virus back in Wuhan. What happened in China
happened, and mistakes were made, but that does not excuse Trump's mistakes as it's not the
Chinese government’s responsibility to protect the US citizens against such a threat. It is the US
government's responsibility to do so, and it had failed.
In a nutshell, Lem’s dystonia society is characterized by propaganda, which is evidenced
in the COVID 19 situation. All governments are using propaganda as a way of mind control to
relieve the frightened minds of the citizens and thus replace the fears they have with hope. The
intentions of using the propaganda of the already bad situation to make it look better before the
citizens, which boosts their confidence in the government's ability to handle the situation. As a
person can only control what he can comprehend in Lem’s dystopian world, world leaders have
responded with a knife to a situation that calls for the use of a gun, which has exposed citizen’s
lives. Noticing that their secret cannot be hidden anymore, governments have tried to make the
situation look like war and not a pandemic calling on all citizens to join on the patriotic duty.
Various authorities have pointed fingers with the US blaming the deaths and infections on China
and the World Health Organization. However, as these blame games continue, the pandemic
continues to spread, and the health situation continues to deteriorate. People are dying, and
others go hungry without food while governments try to prove their innocence.

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Works Cited

Hegarty, Stephanie. "The Chinese Doctor Who Tried to Warn Others About Coronavirus." BBC
News, 6 Feb. 2020,
Khrushcheva, Nina L. "The Fog of COVID-19 War Propaganda." The Japan Times,
29 Apr. 2020,
Lem, Stanislaw. The Futurological Congress. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985.