The SARs outbreak in 2002 – 2003 was a significant turning point in China’s development.  Initial attempts to cover-up the outbreak in southern China were partially blamed for the disease’s spread to the rest of the world via Hong Kong. Eventually, Beijing had to issue an embarrassing apology and change its methods of dealing with such health crises. During the outbreak though, SARs caused many people to leave the country, and indeed those of us in China in 2003 can vividly recall ubiquitous face-masks and an eerie lack of foreigners in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. READ MORE