China’s initial fumbling response to the COVID-19 outbreak directly leads to the uncontrollable spread of this devastating pandemic. However, only a few years ago, China won worldwide praises for handling the H7N9 epidemic from 2013 to 2017. Is COVID-19 an unlucky accident caused by ignorant political elites? By accessing the government’s seemingly successful responses to the H7N9 epidemic, this article traces the problems of preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic to the time of H7N9. The paper finds that a pattern of the government’s responses happened in both H7N9 and COVID-19. Understanding the handling of the H7N9 epidemic and its similarities with the COVID-19 pandemic would help understand how China manages and responds to infectious disease outbreaks.