astounding, unprecedented, and medieval

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NewAmerica

Banned
Mandarin
Our dictionary defines "medieval" as "of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or in the style of the Middle Ages." Be frank, the Middle Ages is characteristic of ignorance, backwardness and despotism. Is this what the author tends to express?

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Yet China’s domestic restrictions have come at a huge cost to individuals, says Lawrence Gostin, who specializes in global health policy at Georgetown University Law Center. He calls the policies “astounding, unprecedented, and medieval,” and says he is particularly concerned about the physical and mental well-being of people in Hubei who are housebound, under intensive surveillance, and facing shortages of health services. “This would be unthinkable in probably any country in the world but China,” he says.

Source: Science Feb. 25, 2020
The coronavirus seems unstoppable. What should the world do now?
 
  • reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    medieval (here) = backward, uncivilized, barbaric

    better words would have been: primitive or feudal
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes. Referring to the conditions mentioned: "housebound, under intensive surveillance and facing shortages of health services" - they remind him of how things were back then.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think it refers to the amount of power the authorities have over the people. I don't think it refers to the specific conditions as medieval. People in the Middle Ages weren't housebound, etc. But people in the Middle Ages were at the mercy of whatever lord or baron or king they lived under. He had full authority over their lives. I think capricious and therefore (perhaps unintentionally) cruel would be a good synonym here for medieval. The rulers could do whatever they wanted.

    And it is because of that ability the Chinese leaders have to make decisions without consulting those being affected that Gostin is worried about the people's physical and mental well-being. He's implying that wasn't factored into the decision as directly as it would be in a democratic system. The full extent of the deprivation and its effects might not be known by those making the decisions.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think it refers to the amount of power the authorities have over the people. I don't think it refers to the specific conditions as medieval. People in the Middle Ages weren't housebound, etc. But people in the Middle Ages were at the mercy of whatever lord or baron or king they lived under. He had full authority over their lives. I think capricious and therefore (perhaps unintentionally) cruel would be a good synonym here for medieval. The rulers could do whatever they wanted.

    And it is because of that ability the Chinese leaders have to make decisions without consulting those being affected that Gostin is worried about the people's physical and mental well-being. He's implying that wasn't factored into the decision as directly as it would be in a democratic system. The full extent of the deprivation and its effects might not be known by those making the decisions.
    :thumbsup:
    In medieval times, the king/emperor/shogun etc and his subordinates had the power to control the movement of the serfs/peasants and would also have had the power to enforce an emergency law that people remain in their homes for two weeks. Some feel that power is still there in China today
     
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