Photo taken in September 2020 shows a farmer in Zhengyang county, central China’s Henan province, harvesting rice in the paddy fields. (Photo by Gao Wanbao/People’s Daily Online)
By Guo Jiping
“We humans are battling COVID-19, a virus that has ravaged the world and has kept resurging. In this fight, we have witnessed the efforts of governments, dedication of medical workers, exploration of scientists, and perseverance of the public. People of different countries have come together. With courage, resolve and compassion which lit the dark hour, we have confronted the disaster head on,” said Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Xi made the remarks while delivering a speech at the General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, during which Xi elaborated on the lessons the epidemic has taught human beings.
China’s voices and proposals have struck a chord with the international community at the crucial moment in the global battle against the COVID-19.
Recently, nearly 1.4 million elementary and secondary school students as well as kindergarten children have returned to schools in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province and also the previous epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, about a million college students have also returned to their schools as the new semester begins in September.
The news was reported by many foreign media outlets, including Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, which considered the fact a symbol of a huge victory.
Wuhan has become a microcosm of the major strategic achievements secured by China in the fight against the epidemic.
“The Chinese system, the Chinese government, is superior to other governments in handling big challenges like this…the Chinese state is a very effective institution, able to think strategically and mobilize society,” said Martin Jacques, a senior fellow at Cambridge University.
The crucial determinant in performance during a pandemic is the state’s capacity, noted American scholar Francis Fukuyama, explaining that the keys to success in dealing with COVID-19 are “whether citizens trust their leaders, and whether those leaders preside over a competent and effective state”.
The Chinese people are full of confidence in the central government’s crisis management capabilities, which is why the measures launched by the Chinese government to bring the society back to normal amid the epidemic have taken effect faster and faster, according to an article published on German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel.
From March 24 to April 26, a light projection activity was held on the Matterhorn mountain at an altitude of 4,478 meters in Switzerland. Words such as “hope” and “solidarity” as well as the national flags of various countries were projected on the mountain during the activity.
Many landmarks around the world have also been lit up, conveying people’s best wishes and confidence in fighting the epidemic together.
China has actively assumed its responsibility for the world in jointly fighting against the virus. It has promoted international anti-epidemic cooperation, and resolutely safeguarded the safety and health of people in China and the rest of the world, showing its broad mind, breadth of vision, and sense of responsibility.
The country has intensified efforts to promote exchanges and cooperation among various countries through head-of-state diplomacy amid the pandemic. As of August 31, Xi had had more than 60 phone conversations with more than 50 leaders of countries and international organizations.
He has also held high-level video conferences with leaders of countries and international organizations to introduce China’s battle with the virus, share the country’s experience in containing the epidemic and promote joint prevention and control of COVID-19 around the world.
Though separated by mountains and rivers, people across the world live under the same sky. Seven years ago, Xi proposed building a community with a shared future for mankind for the very first time, showing his keen insight into the general trend of the world.
It is in times of global crisis, like the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), that human beings can best realize their common humanity and shared common interests, according to Martin Albrow, a fellow of the British Academy of Social Sciences, who initiated the concept of “globalization”.
Albrow believes that disasters show how dependent people are on each other “in a worldwide sense,” and thus demonstrating the need to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
“All nations should recognize humanity’s common destiny so that together we can build a bright future,” said Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation.
As the world is witnessing profound changes unseen in a century, the epidemic has also prompted international scholars to think about the international order in the post-epidemic era.
The coronavirus pandemic will forever alter the world order, pointed out Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, who noted that the historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future.
The future of the world depends on the choices people make today, between cooperation and confrontation, solidarity and isolation, multilateralism and unilateralism.
Relations between major countries play an important role in international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.
At such a crucial juncture, some American politicians, however, are intent on launching a new cold war against China and have made a risky move to push China-U.S. relations toward confrontation, which has not only caused widespread concerns in the international community, but aroused a lot of criticism in the U.S.
The U.S. is the worst-hit country by the epidemic in the world, with nearly 7 million confirmed cases and over 200,000 fatalities.
While American leaders play the blame game, more lives are being endangered, according to an article published on The Straits Times, an English-language daily broadsheet newspaper in Singapore.
It is far more productive for the U.S. and its allies to focus on saving lives and working together with China to find an effective vaccine, the article continued.
It’s not coincidental that the White House has become a geyser of anti-Chinese bigotry at the very moment America needs China most, said an article on American magazine The Atlantic.
“The lesson of this plague isn’t that America should stop cooperating with China. It’s that America must rebuild the public-health cooperation that the Trump administration helped destroy,” the article pointed out.
Many people in the Western countries wonder how come they wasted the best time responding to the pandemic.
“Some (Westerners) seem to fall prey, still, to a perception of China as the eternal ‘other,’ whose experience couldn’t possibly be relevant to us, much less provide any lessons — other than in what not to do,” pointed out an article published by The New York Times.
It’s safe to say that such pride and prejudice, ignorance and selfishness have encouraged the spread of the virus to a large extent.
A major country like the U.S. is supposed to take its responsibility for the world. Meeting China halfway and taking concrete actions to promote international anti-epidemic cooperation are not only the expectations of the international community and the American people for the U.S. government, but should also be a choice made by a major country out of its responsibility for the people, the world, and history.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon as well as a road sign that guides humankind toward the future.
“The history of development of human society is a history of our struggles against all challenges and difficulties and our victories over them,” Xi noted.
It is believed that after the severe test of the epidemic, people all around the world will have a stronger desire to jointly build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity as well as a community with a shared future for mankind.
More and more people will gather together and move forward courageously under the banner of solidarity and cooperation.
“The virus will be defeated. Humanity will win this battle!” The remarks made by Xi at the General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly were powerful and enlightening. These remarks have infused confidence and strength into the world in the fight against the COVID-19.
Photo taken in July 2020 shows children in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province, playing with a fountain square in the company of their parents. (Photo by Huang Min/People’s Daily Online)
The China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) is held in Beijing, September 2020. (Photo by Chen Xiaogen/People’s Daily Online)