Amy Cheng

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Wuhan's public health authorities say they are in a "state of war" as they quarantine the Chinese city in an attempt to halt the spread of a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus.

"Strictly implement emergency response requirements, enter into a state of war and implement wartime measures to resolutely curb the spread of this epidemic," urged a committee of Wuhan's top officials. "Homes must be segregated, neighbors must be watched."

It wasn't just the fact that one of China's best universities had changed its charter last December to emphasize loyalty to the ruling Communist Party that raised eyebrows. Shanghai's Fudan University also deleted principles like freedom of thought, and did so publicly, as if expecting praise.

Furious students staged a rare and risky protest in the school cafeteria in December. They sang the school's anthem, which praises academic freedom.

When Liu, a 31-year-old Chinese insurance firm manager, learned she was pregnant in 2017, she resolved to keep her baby.

She tried to hide the fact that she was unmarried and pregnant from her colleagues at the private insurance firm where she works in Shanghai. She paid her own hospital bills rather than rely on public insurance and risk exposing her secret to the hospital and her employer.

Late one Saturday night in August, young men and women crowded into a pop-up pub deep in a narrow Beijing alley. They were gathered to talk about an unlikely topic in China: sexual consent.

When the White House decided to levy tariffs on goods from China, U.S. leaders were divided on whether a prolonged trade dispute was a wise course of action.

Now, so is Beijing.