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This is not the time to play the blame game

By Zhang Jinling | China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-05 07:18
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China has been making its utmost efforts to fight the COVID-19 outbreak, and the strict measures it has taken to rein in the epidemic are gradually yielding results, except perhaps in Hubei province.

But since an epidemic is a common threat to humankind as a whole, the international community should help China tide over the difficulties by sharing their experiences and advanced methods to prevent and control the epidemic, because by so doing they would be helping the entire humankind.

But many Western politicians and media outlets have spared no efforts to vilify China's political system, especially the leadership of the Communist Party of China at a time when China has been using all the resources at its disposal to fight the epidemic. For instance, US Senator Marco Rubio, over the weekend, once again claimed China has failed to "share necessary information" that could have contained the spread of the novel coronavirus and blamed it for putting the world at risk as more countries reported their first deaths from the virus.

Indeed, the local authorities in Wuhan, Hubei province, didn't handle the epidemic properly in the initial days of the outbreak. But later, the central authorities mobilized resources nationwide to fight the disease and closely coordinated with the World Health Organization to take measures to control the disease.

China did share its experience with the rest of the world as it imposed strict quarantine measures on the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei province. Strict and effective quarantine and lock-down measures in certain places are a scientific way of preventing cross-infection and containing the spread of the epidemic. However, some Western media outlets see the Chinese government's community quarantine measures as a manifestation of "high-handed" rule.

Such distorted, malicious reports are an apt example of irresponsible behavior. Such reports and comments from Western politicians and media outlets have not only hurt the feelings of Chinese people, but also misled the international community, which undermine international cooperation and solidarity in the face of a global medical emergency.

It is true that China's political, economic, social and cultural systems are different from those of many other countries, but they are the choice of the Chinese people, and the inevitable outcome of China's historical development that suits its national conditions. The prevention and control of the epidemic is not only medical and health problem but also a comprehensive crisis management problem. In this unprecedented war against the novel coronavirus, the Chinese system has fully displayed its advantages in terms of decision-making, mobilization and execution abilities, and its ability to correct mistakes.

The Chinese government mobilized the social mechanism within a very short time despite the COVID-19 outbreak affecting Wuhan, a densely populated city, during the Spring Festival travel rush season. From locking down the epicenter, sending medical aid teams and completing emergency construction of medical facilities to organizing the supply of emergency medical products and coordinating efforts to prevent and control the epidemic are all a reflection of China's institutional advantages.

The authorities have taken prompt measures to correct the mistakes of some officials who didn't perform their duties properly in the initial stages in some regions, punished relevant personnel according to Party disciplines and the law, and have thus ensured that the measures to control the spread of the novel coronavirus are implemented strictly and effectively.

The novel coronavirus, as the name indicates, is a new type of virus, which is still to be properly understood by the scientific community. Yet, despite being hit by the epidemic, China has been resilient enough to try to bring production back to normal. More important, people in Hubei province have been making great sacrifices to enable the nation to win the battle against the epidemic.

As such, this is not the time for people to play the blame game. Instead, members of the international community should coordinate their efforts to contain the rising cases outside China. As for China, it too has the responsibility and obligation to promote international cooperation in preventing and controlling epidemics and conducting scientific research to find cures for viruses.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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