In 2003, it was SARS. Last year, it was bird flu in birds. Now, China has confirmed its first case of bird flu in humans.
The Chinese government was harshly criticized for its handling of earlier health threats, so the world health community is watching very closely how the Chinese respond to reports of bird flu on the mainland, which has already killed at least one person.
While new to China, bird flu has infected at least 126 people across Asia and killed at least 64 of them, two-thirds of them in Vietnam.
The stakes are high, and with the disease now in the world's most populous nation, medical experts all over the globe say they could be getting higher as fears of a worldwide flu pandemic increase.
Surprisingly, the Chinese government has responded with unusual candor about its massive campaign to contain the virus. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the government has also been candid about its vulnerabilities, warning its people of the dangers posed by poultry and birds.
AP Beijing Bureau Chief Joe McDonald took time away from covering the response to the bird flu reports to speak with asap about the mood in China, both in the streets and within the halls of power.