Nation shows strength in pandemic battle


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Nation shows strength in pandemic battle


Source:    Published: 2020-03-21

Beijing's approach in fighting illness, advantages in governance, win praise

The strength of China's system, which enables it to pool all available resources to solve major problems, has helped the country address the health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, observers said.

The all-of-government and all-of-society approach that China has adopted in combating COVID-19 has won international acclaim as it has proved effective and efficient in curbing the spread of the virus, they said.

As China battles the novel coronavirus, its model of central leadership and regional partnerships has functioned well.

Since the start of the outbreak, President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, has acted as commander-in-chief in the people's war on the epidemic.

During his inspection tour last week in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and also the hardest-hit city in China, Xi said epidemic prevention and control is "a major test of China's system and capacity for governance".

He urged officials to gain experience and draw lessons from the epidemic response and strengthen the weaknesses in governance systems to protect people's lives, safety and health.

Xi said on various occasions that the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, the advantages of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the country's strong mobilization capabilities are factors that would lead China to prevail over the epidemic and maintain good momentum for socioeconomic development.

Behind Xi's strong confidence in securing full victory in the battle is his commitment to mobilizing the people of the whole country, Party and army.

After Hubei province, particularly its capital Wuhan, was hit by the contagion, more than 340 medical teams consisting of over 42,600 medical workers from across the country rushed to the area, answering the call of the central government. That number included at least 4,000 medical staff members deployed by the People's Liberation Army.

China's large corporations, especially State-owned enterprises, contributed to containment logistics, and Chinese scientists rapidly sequenced the virus genome and shared the data globally.

Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said in an online video message that the Chinese government's strong organizing and mobilizing capabilities, which it demonstrated in epidemic control, were impressive, and such capabilities were exactly China's institutional advantages.

With transprovincial help, two prefab hospitals-each with more than 1,000 beds-were built in Wuhan in around 10 days to treat patients in serious condition. Sixteen temporary hospitals were established in the city's exhibition halls and sports auditoriums to admit more infected people.

Nineteen provinces formed partnerships with 16 Hubei cities and counties to help them when medical resources were overstretched-a customary practice that China follows in mobilizing nationwide resources for disaster relief.

Zhou Wen, a professor of economics at Fudan University in Shanghai, said that China's all-out efforts to "fulfill the various missions seemingly impossible" in a short time have boosted the confidence of the international community in the country's triumph over the epidemic.

With experts recommending quarantine measures to help reduce the population movements, in turn helping to stem the spread of the virus, the CPC Central Committee made the decision on Jan 22 to ask Hubei province to take comprehensive and rigorous measures to stop outbound travel to prevent the disease from rapidly spreading in other regions.

Xi said at a meeting in February that making such a decision demands tremendous political courage, but "times call for resolute action; otherwise, we would be in trouble".

On Jan 23, authorities in Wuhan announced the lockdown of the city. All public transportation was suspended and citizens were required to stay indoors to avoid neighborhood transmission of the virus.

Robert Lawrence Kuhn, an international corporate strategist and investment banker from the United States, said China's commitment to fighting the epidemic is exemplified by the country's astonishing mobilization to contain the virus and its unremitting implementation of its commitment.

In an article published on the website of the China Global Television Network, Kuhn said China's mobilization is unprecedented in global health history, and the reason it works relates to how the Party system works. He added that it is the same kind of commitment and mobilization that the Party has been using to win the battle against poverty.

Thanks to the united action and rigorous measures, the outbreak has been markedly contained across China. No new domestic cases of the novel coronavirus were reported for the second day in a row on Thursday. Thirty-nine new infections reported on Thursday were all imported cases. More than 71,000 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last week. The disease has swept into more than 160 countries and regions and killed more than 8,700 people. The WHO is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction" by the world's leaders in response to the outbreak, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pierre Mirochnikoff, a former board member of the French Chamber of Commerce in China and chairman and CEO of Asia Silk Road Group, said China, too often bashed in some Western countries, has shown in this health crisis something that the people of the West do not know.

He saw amazing unity from Xi to the people from the hutongs of Beijing and the streets of Wuhan, and men and women deserving respect in the corners of China who are fighting, exceeding their limits and reaching across societal divisions, Mirochnikoff said.

Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia and a nonresident senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said politicians around the world need to adjust their mindset to the need to act decisively and to lead the people in a manner that strengthens solidarity.

The experience of China should help them to make the right decisions in a timely fashion and avoid mistakes that usually happen in the early phases of an emergency, Turk said.

Saying that multilateral cooperation in fighting the coronavirus disease is an important test for the international community as a whole, he added that this is not about public health only but rather a critical test of multilateralism and of the ability of the world to move toward a shared future-a better future for all.

Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia and a nonresident senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.