Time for introspection

By Lan Xinzhen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, March 12, 2020
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It is time for the international community to introspect on the direr situation the world would have been in without China's resolute and effective measures to contain the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Disaster always brings out what lies in the human heart. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, central China, triggered two different reactions in the international community. One was of goodwill, hoping that China would defeat the virus and offering assistance. The other was of viciousness, manifesting in scurrilous attacks on China and labeling COVID-19 "the Wuhan virus," and even "the China virus."  

Where did the virus originate? It remains an unsolved mystery, especially with detection of the infection in individuals and communities in other countries that have no links with China or the Chinese. Attacking China or Wuhan because the outbreak was first reported there is pointless because as scientists have pointed out, with changes in the weather, increasing human encroachment on wilderness and mutations in bacteria and viruses, the outbreak might have occurred anywhere. Diseases are the enemies of all humanity and an effective response is a united defense, not throwing blame around. 

The Chinese, especially the people in Wuhan, have made enormous sacrifices to contain the virus and the draconian measures are paying off. With China's efforts, for which it paid a huge price, the spread of the virus across its borders was controlled, buying time for the international community to implement their own safety measures. Without these effective measures, COVID-19 could have become a pandemic. 

Fortunately, the accusations against China seem to be going down while the voices of reason and goodwill are prevailing. As COVID-19 cases are reported in more countries, China's success in containing the virus provides a template for the international community for installing their own epidemic control faster. 

In its fight against the epidemic, China has followed the principle that it belongs to a community with a shared future for humanity. It has shared information on the epidemic, control measures and the genetic sequence of the virus with other countries to help their scientists research vaccines, an act that has won wide appreciation. 

In this era of widening globalization, countries are more closely linked than ever and in case of disaster, global cooperation must be enhanced to address it. Especially when the world is facing unknown non-traditional threats such as epidemics, goodwill and solidarity are the panacea it needs. 

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