Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province officially eases city lockdown on April 8. Photo by Zhou Guoqiang/People’s Daily Online

By People’s Daily

A meeting to commend role models in China’s fight against COVID-19 was recently held in Beijing. At the meeting, Chinese President Xi Jinping summed up the great spirit of combating the COVID-19 epidemic, profoundly explained the life-first principle, and once again declared to the world the traditional benevolence of the Chinese people and the people-centered philosophy of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

From the onset of the epidemic, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has stressed to always place people’s life, security and health above anything else. So far, China has reported a total of over 85,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. More than 80,000 have recovered.

From newborn babies to pregnant women, from centenarians to critical patients with underlying diseases, and from overseas students to foreigners, these cured cases and miracles well explain the CPC’s philosophy of exercising governance for the people, serve as the best examples of the traditional Chinese moral principle that lives matter the most, and indicate the humanistic spirit of the Chinese people to respect lives.

Abandoning no patient and clinging to every glimmer of hope, China has well protected people’s lives, respected their value and safeguarded their dignity.

Xi said the country shall bear whatever it takes and whatever consequences to be responsible for people’s lives. During the Spring Festival, the most important festival of the country in a year, to cut the spread of the virus as soon as possible and ensure the safety and health of the people, the CPC Central Committee resolutely decided to take a series of important measures.

It was not easy to control the population flow in a city with over 10 million people; hitting the “pause” button of the flow might be followed by a series of practical problems; every single day of production suspension after the Spring Festival would lead to a loss of 150 billion yuan ($22.17 billion). The country must balance between lives and economy, and both sides were placing huge pressure on it.

However, people’s lives come before everything. From locking down Wuhan to postpone school and work, and to resuming production and ensuring strict regular epidemic control, every decision of the country demonstrated enormous courage and remarkable political wisdom.

The CPC’s fundamental purpose is to wholeheartedly serve the people, and China is a socialist country run by the people. That’s why China is saving lives at all cost.

For example, a 70-year-old patient was saved thanks to intensive treatment and care by more than 10 medical workers over a period of several weeks. The cost of his treatment, nearly 1.5 million yuan, was fully covered by the government.

As long as there was the slightest hope, doctors would never give up, and the need for personnel, medicines, equipment, or funds would be met. The country covered the treatment cost of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients, coordinated national medical materials, and gathered living necessities for places in need.

Putting lives first is not only a value, but also a national practice. It comes from the country’s composite national strength built up over the past decades since the People’s Republic of China was founded, especially in the years of reform and opening-up, and from the country’s capability to maximumly exploit its national strength at critical moments.

Suffered huge physical and mental pressure, medical workers built an iron “Great Wall” with their bodies; sci-tech personnel worked around the clock for achieving breakthroughs; all walks of life shouldered their responsibility; and nearly 30 million Party members rushed to the frontline to battle the epidemic, including the 396 who sacrificed their lives.

In the face of the rampant virus, there was no backdown or compromise, but only dashing and fighting. The finger prints left on the paper for request of permission to join the fight, the bloodstains left on the faces by masks, and the posthumous papers being hidden, have all left deep marks in people’s memory. The respect for lives has long been part of the DNA of the Chinese nation.

Two medical workers go into a fever clinic at the Municipal Oriental Hospital and Foreign Related Hospital of Lianyungang, East China’s Jiangsu Province on Feb. 6. Photo by Wang Jianmin/People’s Daily Online

Buildings are lighted to show respect to medical workers in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province on Feb. 26. Photo by Wang Hua/People’s Daily Online

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