Fighting coronavirus: China experience invaluable to the world
On March 14, President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone with the heads of state of Italy, Korea, Iran and Iraq. Expressing and assuring that China would share its experiential knowledge, medical supplies and technical expertise with each of these countries at their time of need. China has gotten control over coronavirus within just two months of its outbreak. China turned around immediately and responded to support other countries with its practical experiential knowledge.
When coronavirus struck China, the first nation to cut all flights with China was the United States. At China's moment of deepest challenge, the United States challenged China's territorial waters, labeled its journalists stationed in America as “foreign operatives,” and started placing pressure on China to buy more soybeans.
Washington think tanks underestimated China's ability to mobilize national support in unity to get control over and crush the coronavirus. Politicized American media outlets predicted the worst and belittled China's quarantine procedures. Nobody in America's politicized media outlets actually bothered to ask whether saving people's lives is an act of human rights protection. Instead they made all kinds of predictions about China's economy falling, its people not supporting the government quarantine and so on. But none of their predictions happened.
From following the American media, one would easily believe that China was in for the worst. America's politicized media condemned China for trying to contain the coronavirus. Its politicians were cheering that jobs would come back to America and wishing the worst as China sacrificed to battle the coronavirus not only for its own people, but for the world.
Somehow all of those negative predictions that China would lose its fight against coronavirus just didn't happen as Washington think tanks expected. How come Washington think thanks, for all of their big thinking and China expertise, always seem to get their predictions about China wrong? Is China so exotic a nation, or are their thinking so fixed that they cannot open their thinking to listen, observe and try and understand something that they don't?
Interestingly, the coronavirus broke and spread just before the traditional Chinese New Year. The Washington think tanks thought that the coronavirus could not be stopped in such a time of traditional travel, movement and gathering in China. Imagine 1.4 billion people ceased visitations and froze movement to follow government coordination efforts to control the coronavirus spread. Could that happen in America? Some 6,000 doctors rushed to Wuhan and they received more than $2 billion in epidemic prevention funds as more than 20 provinces in China rushed funds and supplies to support the front line effort in Wuhan.
Watch how is the White House responding? Every province and city is making its own policies. The coronavirus is already being politicized by politicians for short-term political gains in a big election year. One trillion dollars in compounded debt funding was thrown at Wall Street in one day just to prop prices up after the largest market drop since 1987. Yes, just for political reasons. Where is the national funding for fighting coronavirus?
Now within two months of the coronavirus breaking out China has gotten firm control. China's practical hands-on experience in controlling and fighting coronavirus may become a more valuable asset on this planet then even big data. The strict social distancing and quarantine methods that were ridiculed by the politicized American media have proven correct, efficacious and efficient.
Today the world is squinting at Washington that has been in denial of the urgency of this pandemic, while looking to Beijing's kung fu swiftness in wasting no time and striking the coronavirus has knocked it out of the China arena. Now as the West is in panic and its medical systems creaking if not cracking under the pressure of this pandemic, many countries are turning to China to learn how to fight coronavirus. It is time that nations and political parties and factions put down their differences and learn together. Coronavirus knows no boundaries, ideologies, or nationalities. It is a global pandemic. We must fight it together.
Laurence Brahm is a senior international fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, founding director of the Himalayan Consensus and co-chair of the Silk-Spice Road Dialogues.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.