by H E Dr Zhao Yongchen, Chinese Ambassador to Grenada
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, the Chinese people have united as one, fully brought to bear the strengths of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, through tenacious efforts and enormous sacrifice, we achieved the initial stage victory against the epidemic. This not only effectively protects the safety and health of the Chinese people, but also greatly boosts the confidence of people around the world in overcoming the epidemic. China has played an indispensable and unparalleled role in safeguarding the lives and health of people around the world.
However, out of different motives and purposes, some Western politicians and media turn blind to the facts and constantly propagate false and irresponsible allegations. Not only schadenfreude at Chinese misfortunes, and portray China’s quarantine as a violation of human rights and freedoms. After China basically controlled the epidemic, Western politicians and media put forward unreasonable accusations and appeals. For example, some blamed China for concealing the early outbreak, which led to the miscalculation of the situation in the United States and Europe thus causing the epidemic to spread around the world. Some claimed that China should be held accountable, and even should compensate with purchased US Treasury bonds. Some accused China of hoarding medical resources and monopolizing relief supplies, resulting in the inability to meet the needs of the United States in fighting against the epidemic. Some American lawyers even initiated legal proceedings, absurdly asking China to pay massive compensation. Some speculated that China would use its aid to increase international influence and promote the Chinese model. Some rebuked that China’s aid had hidden motives and aimed to seize geopolitical interests. Different kinds of grotesque and absurd allegations emerge one after another. The only purpose is to shift the blame on their governments’negligence to China. This political trick is full of insidious and ugly purposes, reflects some persons’ Extreme Populism and Racism, which must be firmly refuted and exposed.
1. China has made tremendous sacrifices and contribution to the fight against the epidemic. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, in order to control the spread of the epidemic and protect the safety and health of the people, the Chinese government has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures, and quickly established the Central Leading Group on Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Disease Outbreak. The central government mobilized tens of thousands of doctors and nurses from all parts of the country to rush to Wuhan, Hubei Province to treat patients and save lives, and invested a huge amount of manpower and material resources, built two hospitals with thousands of beds and a large number of Makeshift hospitals in just 10 days. China made the momentous decision to suspend outbound travels from the city of Wuhan, and all citizens must be quarantined at home.
In accordance with the Emergency Response Law of the People’s Republic of China and the rules of the national emergency management, all schools, factories, shops, hotels, restaurants and public areas are required to shut down unconditionally to prevent and control the epidemic. Within just 2 months, China has taken a series of extraordinary and strict prevention and control measures to suspend business activities, and spared no effort to save lives. This directly caused hundreds of millions of economic losses. With the spirit of self-sacrifice, China has not only effectively protected the lives and health of the Chinese people, but also provided valuable experience and time window for other countries to prevent and combat epidemics. More importantly, China has severely controlled the flow of people, effectively reduced the spread of Covid-19 around the world, made a great contribution to the prevention of pandemic worldwide. While continuing to control epidemic at home, China has shared its experience in epidemic prevention and control with other countries, and sent medical experts to some severely affected countries. So far, the Chinese government has provided over billions RMB worth of anti-epidemic supplies to 127 countries and some international organizations, including surgical masks, protective gears and testing reagents. The Chinese charities, enterprises, civil groups and even individuals donated medical supplies to countries in need. After the epidemic was basically controlled, the Chinese government urgently organized and coordinated enterprises to restart business activities, and mass-produced medical supplies such as masks, protective suits, ventilators, and medical instruments to provide various anti-epidemic materials to the international community, saved hundreds of millions of people’s lives. Upholding the vision of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, China gives selfless assistance and support within its capacity, even to those countries which used to slander China. This is how China respects and protects human life, and concrete demonstration of China’s humanitarian spirit. The sacrifices and contributions of China has been widely recognized and highly praised by the international community. Those who accuse China of being nontransparent are unjust and insulting to the great sacrifices and contribution made by the Chinese people. The piratical act of treating a rescuer as an enemy is not only absurd, also ruthlessness. Neither Chinese people nor kind people around the world will agree.
2. China acts in accordance with the rules of reporting new virus in a reasonable and legal way. The so-called fallacy of China concealing the epidemic is a hot topic for some Western politicians and media. In fact, this is very nonobjective. According to the general rules of medical research, at the beginning of the discovery of any unknown virus, the novel coronavirus is a novel virus, which means it takes time for us to research and draw conclusions accordingly. The scientists have to research its pathology, nature, virulence, characteristics, virus formation mechanism, transmission forms, risk and harm before releasing relevant information to the public. This is a science-based process. Before reaching a scientific and accurate conclusion, no one can release information at will, so as not to cause panic among the public, cause social chaos, and impact the social and economic order. China’s early handling of this new virus was in full compliance with the world’s normal practice. On 27 December 2019, after the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in central China’s Hubei Province detected cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. The National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NHC) made arrangements in the wee hours, sending a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to guide epidemic response and conduct on-site investigations. In a very short period of time, Chinese medical experts isolated the virus strains and determined its gene sequence after rigorous scientific analysis. On 2 January 2020, The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences received the first batch of samples of four patients from Hubei Province and began pathogen identification. The NHC came up with a set of guidelines of early discovery, early diagnosis and early quarantine for the prevention and control of the viral pneumonia of unknown cause. As of 3 January, China has been regularly informing the WHO, relevant countries and regions and China’s Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan about the pneumonia outbreak. China began to inform the United States of the pneumonia outbreak and response measures on a regular basis. On 5 January, WHO released its first briefing on cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan China. Since then, in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations, China has briefed the epidemic information to WHO every day, and notified the United States more than 30 times, also shared its experience in prevention and treatment with other countries without reservation. On 22 January, Chinese President Xi Jinping talked over the phone with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel respectively, informed the epidemic situation and proposed to work with the international community to effectively tackle the spread of the disease. The closure of Wuhan on 24 January was the most comprehensive and strict measure to warn the international community, COVID-19 virus is of great danger, if we do not take the strictest measures, it is not enough to control the spread of the virus or the outbreak. To control the epidemic. The information released by China is transparent, objective and comprehensive, what China has done is in full compliance with international law and domestic law in China, in line with the rule of law, many of which are well beyond what is required by the International Health Regulations and Recommendations of the WHO and set a good example for the world to handle the major epidemic. China has neither subjective intentions to conceal the epidemic situation nor any fault to conceal the epidemic situation. No fault is no responsibility, which is the principle of the old Roman law. It is not China’s fault that the epidemic spread around the world, so there is no reason for China to be liable for damages.
3. China’s assistance to other countries in epidemic prevention and control is absolutely sincere. The Chinese people will never forget that the international community gave us valuable support and assistance since the epidemic breakout. The Chinese nation is grateful and always reciprocates other’s kindness. While guarding the domestic defence against the pandemic, we are also doing our best to provide assistance to other countries in need. When people’s lives are at stake, nothing matters more than saving lives. Covid-19 epidemic is posing a grave threat to people’s safety and health. It is useless to argue over the merits of different social systems or models. Some Western politicians and media view China’s actions from the selfish perspective, ignore China’s sincere humanitarian assistance, and accuse China of using aid to make “political propaganda” and seek geopolitical interests. In fact, these politicians worried too much. China does have that many motives. It is very simple for us to do our very best to help countries and people in need, and work with the international community to save lives and safeguard public health.
4. Incitement to hatred and racial discrimination violated basic human rights values. US leaders stigmatized China by calling the novel coronavirus “China virus” or “Wuhan virus”. A few Western politicians have directly accused China of being the source of the novel coronavirus, openly stirring up a wave of hatred against China. Chinese Americans and expatriates from other Asian countries have been beaten, attacked and insulted from time to time. Racism and white supremacy populism around the world were detonated. Since the anti-colonialism and human rights protection movement in the 1960ssuch evil behaviours that incite hatred and racial discrimination were quite rare. Some Western politicians talk all the time about protecting human rights, accuse the so-called human rights abuses in China, but now they engage in racial discrimination and hatred against China. Not mentioned they ignored the lives of their people, seized various excuses to disapprove, delay or hinder China’s aid or export of medical supplies. This is against humanity and should be held accountable and punished by law. As early as 1965, the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which explicitly requires States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to the Convention, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination. The Chinese people reserve the right to pursue prosecutive actions and seek fair compensation for incitement to racial discrimination by some politicians in accordance with international law.
The Covid-19 epidemic is a global public health crisis, the critical task for all countries is to unite, fight and defeat it together. We urge those politicians to get rid of the ideological and racist prejudices, view objectively the selfless contribution made by the Chinese people. Smear and stigmatization can never cover up the truth and blame-shifting will never cover up the truth that the spread of the virus is due to inaction, every minute wasted on smearing would be better spent on enhancing domestic response. Only with solidarity, coordination and cooperation can the international community defeat the outbreak, safeguard the health and safety of all mankind, as well as save the world economy.