Novel pneumonia response reflects progress in China’s system

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/21 21:43:40

A doctor measures a man's body temperature in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, during community activities to help prevent and control the new pneumonia. Photo: China News Service

The latest pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, is a test of China's system. 

As China spares no efforts to prevent the spread of a novel coronavirus before and during the upcoming Spring Festival travel rush, also known as the largest annual human migration on Earth, foreign media tend to focus on China's system. For instance, Time magazine published an article on Monday saying China's belief in its system of governance has grown amid the impeachment of US President Donald Trump and the Brexit turmoil in the UK, yet the Novel pneumonia is "a stark rebuttal." The article also accused the country's "tight grip on news."

The SARS outbreak in 2003 is frequently discussed lately. Frankly speaking, no Chinese media today would skirt around the facts that during the early stages of the SARS outbreak, the lack of timely and sufficient information, response to emergency cases, and an efficient management system resulted in the rapid spread of the deadly disease.

Yet these problems were taken seriously soon afterward. Since then, China has been investing heavily on the public health sector, improving the country's system of disease control and prevention while enhancing information transparency. 

Since the first suspected cases of the Novel pneumonia were reported on December 31, Wuhan's health authority has issued over a dozen official notifications in 20 days. Compared to the past, it can be considered an improvement, although still far from public expectations. 

After the SARS outbreak, China established nationwide surveillance and early warning systems of infectious disease, and reformed its disease control system with reference to advanced foreign experiences.

These steps are linked to the reforms in China's governance, which reflect the country's progress in its governance system. As home to over 1.4 billion people, China has been facing enormous difficulties in governance, especially in the control of epidemics. But so far, China has learned from lessons in the past and improved its system. 

The West has long had a view that China's system has no ability to correct previous errors, simply because it has no Western-style elections. As some Westerners claim that China's system must be stiff, they overlooked the huge progress the country has been making, especially after reform and opening-up, thanks to its self-correcting capability, and innovative reforms in its governing system that keep pace with the times. 

The West tends to use its own political discourse framework to interpret China. This is why they are often wrong. A self-correcting capability does not exist only in a bipartisan system. China's reforms and improvements in its system have shown greater vitality and potential than the West in this regard. 

When it comes to keeping abreast with the times, especially in the internet era, China' system is little short of the West's.

More adjustments and improvements are needed in China's governing system. In the Novel pneumonia case, is it possible to release information more timely and comprehensively? It will prove to be a test of China's system. But more and more Chinese people believe the system will stand the test and improve itself amid the challenge. 

Posted in: OBSERVER

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