Sunday, October 2

China is striving for victories in defeating the coronavirus and achieving economic growth

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Volunteers spray disinfectant using a robot at a residental area in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. — AFP photos

More than 40 days have passed since the lock down of Wuhan city on Jan 23, which marked the beginning of the nation-wide ‘People’s war’ against Covid-19 in China.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Covid-19 outbreak is the most fast-spreading, the most widely spread and the most challenging public health emergency that occurred. It’s a crisis and a huge test for China.

 

1. China is in the final battle against the Covid-19 outbreak

Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, China is taking a holistic approach with clearly defined priorities, and adopt category-based, region-specific measures with concerted efforts and confidence to win this all-out war against the epidemic.

Hubei Province is the key area in this fight, especially its capital, the epicentre Wuhan city. Unified efforts have been enhanced to help Hubei Province.

To facilitate the medical support and supplies to the affected areas, two prefab hospitals, Huoshenshan hospital and Leishenshan hospital, and more than 10 make-shift hospitals have been built within a short time.

Coordination in other provinces and regions, and cooperation with the international community to fight against Covid-19 were also enhanced.

After days of hard work, China’s fight against the outbreak has achieved concrete results.

The number of newly confirmed cases nationwide has dropped from thousands to dozens per day, and the disease spreading from Wuhan and Hubei Province to other parts of China and beyond the boarder has been controlled effectively.

The Diagnosis and Treatment Protocols for Covid-19 patients have been improved continuously, more than 55,000 people have been cured and discharged from hospital, and the mortality rate has reduced significantly.

Hubei will win the fight only if Wuhan wins, and then the whole country wins when Hubei wins.

At this moment, China is working hard to secure the success and meanwhile prevent the epidemic’s rebound after the resumption of works and production.

On the other hand, we will spare no efforts in fighting against Covid-19 in Wuhan city, ensuring that the epidemic is fully overcome.

Now it is still too early to say we have achieved ultimate victory at the moment, however, it is no doubt that the final victory will come very soon.

Among the major epidemics in the history of China and other countries, comparatively speaking, the efficiency of China’s fight against the Covid-19 outbreak is higher and the death rate is lower.

In between 1347 to 1351, 75 million people all around the world died because of the ‘Black Death’ that struck Europe. Some 100 thousand people died during the ‘Great Plague’ from London from 1665 to 1666.

The Ebola virus killed more than 11,000 people between 2013 and 2016.

Influenza B has so far infected more than 32 million people and killed nearly 18,000 in the United States from 2019 to 2020.

In 1910, the Plaque in Northeast China lasted more than six months and killed more than 60,000 people.

 

A medical staff member (left) collects sample from a girl for a nucleic acid test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a residental area in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province.

2. Valuable Experiences and lessons learned from China’s fight against Covid-19

The main reasons why China managed to achieve remarkable results to control Covid-19 within a short period of time are: strong leadership, institutional advantage, scientific method, teamwork, support from nationwide and around the world.

After the outbreak, Central Committee of CPC and the State Council attached great importance to the fight against the epidemic and seeing the fight as the most important and urgent task for China at present.

President Xi Jinping chaired an executive meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee on Jan 25, the first day of the lunar New Year, setting up a central leading group for epidemic response led by Premier Li Keqiang, and sent a central steering group to Hubei Province and other severely affected areas.

Since then, President Xi Jinping has presided over many meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and Premier Li Keqiang has called many meetings of the central leading group for epidemic response, focusing on strategies, priorities, treatment plans, material support and critical problems.

China’s fight against the epidemic is a race against time, and its progress is solid and effective.

China has the institutional advantage of pooling resources to address major tasks.

The whole nation worked like one big family; when a city or province is in danger, help came from all sides.

In addition to dispatching 42,000 medical personnel from all over the country to support Hubei and Wuhan, 19 provinces have also been mobilised to support 16 cities in Hubei Province, besides Wuhan.

More than 4,000 PLA medical personnel were sent to Hubei Province.

Millions of protective clothing, masks and other medical equipment as well as a large number of medicines have been sent to Hubei Province.

This fully demonstrated China’s strong institutional advantages in terms of resilience, cohesion, mobilisation and coordination.

China’s fight against the epidemic has always been featured as comprehensive, precise, scientific, law-based and cooperative prevention and treatment.

Comprehensive prevention and treatment means to initiate all-around ‘People’s war’ through comprehensive mobilisation and coordination between related parties.

Precise prevention and treatment means accuracy up to community, village, family and each confirmed and suspected patient.

Scientific prevention and treatment is to use medical method as the backbone to fight the epidemic, through the method of ‘four early’ – early detection, early reporting, early quarantine and early treatment, and ‘four assemble’ – assemble the patients, assemble the medical experts, assemble the resources and finally assemble the medical treatment.

The treatment scheme is to continuously improve and make good use of technology to speed up the virus detection and to identify the virus genome.

Law-based prevention and treatment is to strike illegal activities such as hiding illness, rectify inappropriate behaviors such as excessive enforcement, and ensuring that the fight against the epidemic is always running on the track of the rule-of-law.

Prevention and treatment through cooperation is to maintain close communication and cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organisations and countries, to reduce the spread of the epidemic abroad, and also work with the international community to resolve critical medical issues.

Leaders of more than 170 countries and heads of more than 140 international and regional organisations have expressed their sympathies and supports to China in various ways.

China’s fight against the epidemic has provided the international community with China’s strength, solutions and experiences, which has been praised by many countries.

Some countries which are also having serious epidemic outbreak are beginning to learn from China’s experience.

China has a strong team made up of various departments.

A vast number of medical workers, the ‘guardian angels in white’ show the noble spirit of healing the wounded and saving the dying.

More than 2,000 of the medical personnel were infected and some lost their lives.

The people army also demonstrated their loyalty to their motherland and the people.

Police, civil servants, community workers and volunteers served on the front lines, and dozens of people have sacrificed because of illness caused by over-fatigue.

A vast majority of the public chose to stay at home, helping each other, and showing the spirit of sacrificing their own interest to achieve the goals of the whole society.

During the fight against the epidemic, President Xi Jinping also led the team to conclude and learn from the lessons and experience.

Some improvement measures to the public health are already in progress.

This epidemic makes us realise that: first, we must apply the principle of ‘bottom line thinking’ when managing the public health emergency.

The Chinese nation has never been defeated by disaster in history, one of the most important reasons is that China is always prepared for unexpected crises.

As an old Chinese saying goes, ‘life springs from sorrow and calamity, death comes from ease and pleasure’, ‘everything can be overcome if we are prepared, otherwise we will be defeated’.

Stressing the principle of ‘bottom line thinking’ is one of the arts of China’s leadership and President Xi Jinping’s distinctive styles.

He once mentioned that the current situation of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is like ‘a ship sailing to the midstream of a river or a man climbing halfway up a mountain’; success cannot be easily achieved through beating drum and gong.

In January 2018 and January 2019, President Xi Jinping at a seminar listed 16 risks in eight aspects that China is facing and particularly stressed that “we should always be vigilant and take strict precaution with major infectious diseases, such as SARS.”

Secondly, to improve the national public health emergency management system.

The main task is to strengthen the laws and regulations of public health, improve the prevention and treatment system for major outbreaks, improve the medical insurance and relief system for major diseases, improve the emergency material support system, implement the health care policy focusing on prevention, and strengthen the capability of prevention and control at community level and enhance the building of public health personnel.

Thirdly, change and improve diet habits.

China has come out with regulations to ban illegal wildlife trading and eradicate the abuse of wildlife.

Fourthly, accelerate high-quality economic development.

The relationship between economical development, environmental protection and social development have to be properly managed, to make our home a green and peaceful place.

 

3. China is working hard to promote economic recovery and development

The epidemic has made an impact on food, tourism, transportation, foreign trade and other industries in China, some of which are relatively serious, but the overall impact on the economy is still regional, limited and temporary.

China’s industrialisation has yet to be completed, and the urbanisation is still on the way.

The transition of manufacturing industry in China has just begun to switch from traditional manufacturing to smart manufacturing.

China’s modernisation is still a long way to go due to limitations in health, education, retirement and other social aspects have to be improved.

These factors that support the long-term and healthy development of China’s economy will not affected by the outbreak, therefore, the long-term and healthy development of China’s economy will not change.

Currently, China is fighting the epidemic and pursuing economic development at the same time. Why must China focus on economic growth while fighting the epidemic?

This is because economy cannot be shut down for too long; it’s related to the reliability of material support for epidemic prevention; it’s related to people’s livelihood; it’s related to the economic task and social development for the year 2020; it’s related to the completion of the 13th five-year plan and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects; and also it’s related to China’s opening up to the outside world and the stability of the world economy.

Some would think that China’s efforts to ensure economy development and to prevent the rebound of the epidemic is just like ‘walking on a steel wire’.

However, the Chinese government and Chinese people are confident and have the ability to accomplish the two major tasks: fighting the epidemic and maintaining economic development.

In terms of development, first of all, we will ensure that industry is resumed in different regions and at different levels, that the industry at low and medium-risk areas will be resumed as soon as possible in an orderly manner, while high-risk areas will continue to focus on the fight against the epidemic.

Secondly, to enhance the macro-control and adjustment through more proactive fiscal and monetary policies, to increase discounts on fiscal interest, reduce taxes and fees, increase the efforts to address issues in investment and financing for enterprises, and increase the support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Thirdly, strengthen and stabilise employment comprehensively.

Fourthly, focus on poverty alleviation, enterprise production, spring cultivation, and stabilising foreign investment and trade.

 

4. China’s target on two major victories – fighting the epidemic and continuing to develop the economy –  cannot be achieved without cooperation with the rest of the world

More and more studies suggests that Wuhan is the first large-scale outbreak of Covid-19, but it might not be the origin of Covid-19.

Now that China has made significant progress in the fight against the outbreak, however, the epidemic is getting worse in many parts of the world, and China has reported more than a dozen confirmed cases ‘imported’ from other countries.

The spread of the epidemic is a major issue in today’s world and a common enemy of mankind.

It will be difficult for China to achieve comprehensive victory without the elimination of Covid-19 around the world.

The world’s travel, trade and production chain has been cut off in many places due to the Covid-19 outbreak, causing difficulties to virtuous circulation of world economics, and the new economic and financial crisis is following closely under this situation.

If the world economy is not on the normal track of development, China’s efforts to develop the economy will be greatly compromised.

In terms of economic development, China cannot succeed without the world, and the world also needs China.

The fight against epidemics and development are two major tasks of the world today.

These two major tasks make the people of all countries more like the villagers in a small global village, and a community of shared destiny.

We must join our hands together in a more concerted way to achieve success in fighting the epidemic and maintaining economic growth.

As a Chinese saying goes, ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’.

In China’s fight against the epidemic, the Malaysian government and Malaysian people, including Sarawak, have supported China in many ways, fully demonstrates China and Malaysia are good neighbors, good friends and good partners with broad, deep, and high bilateral cooperation.

China and Malaysia will strengthen the cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and to overcome difficulties together, to promote the economic development and the health of the people of the two countries in a better way.

 

Cheng Guangzhong

Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kuching