By Wang Wen Source: Valdai Club Published: 2020-05-20
The novel coronavirus once allows us again to see the fragility of human beings. It is not a shame to admit we are still so weak and still struggle for survival in the earth. But it is unthinkable that human beings so easily forget history lessons why we need to work together to defeat our common threat, writes Wang Wen, Executive Dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY), Deputy Dean of Silk Road School, Renmin University of China.
COVID-19 seems to change everything in the world. It is not surprising that some western countries so urgently need external reasons to prove the high death and infection rates of their people are not their fault. The truth is, as we all knew, if we cannot stop the plague spreading, the world crisis will come out, and no one can become the winner even though you have thousands of reasons to prove you are right. China has stopped the COVID-19 outbreak successfully. The Chinese experiences are also simple and easy to learn: we trust each other, we help each other, and we follow the doctor’s instructions.
1. The death numbers surging and the global economy falling
As of May 20, the number of confirmed cases in the world has approached five million. The worldwide panic also shocked the world economy.
Firstly, the global shipping and tourism industry has been in the “shock.” According to data released by the WHO, the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) has reached a record low for several consecutive days, and the global marine industry insurance has been “disastrous.” The Russian Association of Tour Operators reported that if the COVID-19 outbreak cannot end before the peak of summer tourism, the Russian tourism industry’s losses (excluding Chinese tourists’ spending during the tour) may exceed 30 billion rubles from May to September.
Secondly, the global industrial chain has also fallen into the “shock.” The European Chamber of Commerce in China released survey data, and 90% of its members were moderately or highly affected by the epidemic. Business revenues will show a double-digit decline. 94% of the Fortune 1000 companies face disruptions of the supply chain, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Besides, global trade is basically in the “shock.” According to data released by the World Trade Organization, the real-time measure of trade trends now reads 95.5, and well below the index’s baseline value of 100, The cross-border trade in imports and exports had negative growth of about 10%.
2. The conspiracy theorists try to use COVID-19 for splitting our world
Politicians begin to shirk responsibility for defeating the epidemic; some absurd accusations have further misled the people and incited hatred. It is hard to imagine that some countries rejected the Russian rescue aircraft in a life-saving race, and countless people missed the treatments because of the politician’s selfishness and ruthlessness. The absurd request of “compensation from China” can only make one sigh: even if hundreds of years have passed, the bloodthirsty characteristics of imperialism have not completely subsided, and human civilization is once again humiliated by “imperialism.”
Secondly, the Western media’s voice of slandering and demonizing China and Russia has never stopped. In an interview, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin openly accused China and Russia’s foreign aid of being “political propaganda.” Finally, considering the abnormal behaviours of US President Donald Trump during the COVID-19 outbreak in his homeland, we have to admit that the “American century” is coming to an end. Facing the common threat of epidemic, the United States, which claims to be the world leader, cannot help other countries; instead, it keeps lying, accusing China and the WHO. However, every accusation, every insult, every politicization of epidemic bears the price of “blooding,” and countless people lose the opportunity of treatment in the quarrels of politicians. Human beings can only save more lives if we unite.
3. Survival is still the first principle of human beings, and cooperation is the only choice
Judging from the evolutionary history of the earth, the human beings of earth are young and fragile. Our planet has existed for 4.6 billion years, and human beings only appeared 2.6 million years ago, and the history of civilization is less than 10,000 years. As the bacteriologist Hans Zinsser said, in the 10,000 years, the core work that human beings have done is to fight nationalism on the earth with different species. On the surface, human beings have experienced significant social developments, advancing in sacrifice.
Even the mighty Athens, Roman Empire, the Aztec Empire, and the Inca Empire have become very weak in the face of infectious diseases. The novel coronavirus once allows us again to see the fragility of human beings. It is not a shame to admit we are still so weak and still struggle for survival in the earth. But it is unthinkable that human beings so easily forget history lessons why we need to work together to defeat our common threat.
4. The COVID-19 challenge proves China’s economy has robust resilience
There are three reasons why China’s economy so robust. Firstly, China has developed a dynamic COVID-19 alert and prevention system to prevent the epidemic from counterattack again, and this means Chinese people can back to ordinal life safely. At present, China continues to adopt strict prevention. Communities and all kinds of institutions continue to screen patients in the whole society through measuring body temperature and green health codes.
Secondly, the Chinese government plays an essential role in economic recovery. The government guides enterprises to resume production under the premise of proper protections, and to provide supplies for fighting the epidemic of other countries in the world. According to information released by the Ministry of Commerce of China, from March 1 to April 4, China exported medical supplies worth more than the US $10 billion, providing great supports to the world.
Thirdly, the recovery of the Chinese economy is also driving the restoration of the world’s economy, and the world markets also have positive effects of pushing China’s economy moving forward. According to the information released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, as of March 29, the resumption rate of Chinese SMEs has reached 76.8%. Among them, as of April 7, the resumption rate of industrial enterprises in Wuhan has exceeded 97%. The Chinese government encourages enterprises to adopt innovative forms and actively expand business overseas through “Cloud Merchants” and “online negotiations.” According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, cross-border e-commerce has released great potential, at the period of epidemic. From January to February, China’s cross-border e-commerce retail imports and exports reached 17.4 billion yuan, an increase of 36.7% year-on-year.
5. China’s experiences: trust each other, help each other, and follow the doctor’s instructions
During the past two months, 1.4 billion Chinese people choose to stay at home orderly and decide to trust their government will handle all danger issues successfully. So, China’s government can focus all resources to trace virus carriers, cut off the virus’s transmission chain, and isolate and treat patients immediately.
Chinese people not only help each other but also try the best to help the world. The novel coronavirus is a new challenge to human beings. After confirming the human-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in early January, China notified the international community immediately. Twenty days later, China directly shut down Wuhan and declared a state of emergency throughout the country. Everyone must wear a mask. Three weeks later, the epidemic reached its peak. More than 50,000 medical staff choose to rush to Wuhan to fight with COVID-19 from all over the country; 1.4 billion people hands in hands to prevent all challenges aroused by COVID-19. During this time, 1.4 billion people follow doctor’s suggestions strictly, no one gatherings, no one traveling, and no large-scale people-intensive activities. At the end of February, China successfully controlled the spread of the virus.
China has done everything to fight the epidemic. In addition to trying to control the epidemic situation and strictly preventing the second outbreak in China, China and Russia have worked hard to assist the international community. On the one hand, like Russia, China has sent medical rescue teams to many countries; on the other hand, China has worked hard to resume production and has provided medical supplies to more than 100 countries, including Russia. What’s China’s most significant experience? The most crucial keyword is “TRUST.”
6. China and Russia can do more to save the world
Both China and Russia are responsible countries in the world. At present, the two countries have set an excellent example for the world. The two countries need to strengthen cooperation further and jointly respond to the common threats of the epidemic. The Chinese government will do its utmost to take care of Russian compatriots in China. I believe the Russian government will also take good care of Chinese compatriots. At the beginning of the epidemic, Russia gave China great assistance. As a return, China also aided Russia with a large number of medical supplies. The Chinese government is also actively coordinating to ensure that Russia can purchase all kinds of pharmaceutical materials and different types of hospital equipment.
China and Russia friendship has beyond western rumours and also will defeat COVID-19 challenges. Some unscrupulous western media have made controversial remarks; they try so hard to arouse hatred between the people of the two countries but failed again and again. The epidemic is a common enemy for China and Russia. The two countries demonstrate an excellent example to the world how to work together to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak.
In short, China and Russia have once again proved that the epidemic is a common enemy of human beings. Only by uniting against the plague, focusing on the virus, and working hard to save people, can more lives and property be saved!
The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, and executive director of China-US People-to-People Exchange Research Center.