Xi stresses centralized leadership in virus battle

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/16 23:18:40

CPC Central Committee plays most significant role in mobilization: expert

Military medical staff airlifted by eight large transport planes of the air force of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) arrive at Tianhe International Airport in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 2, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Yun)

President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of securing success in the prevention and control work of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus, pointing out that the outcome of the epidemic prevention and control directly affects people's lives and health, the overall economic and social stability and the country's opening-up, in an article published Sunday on Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

The article is the transcript of a speech made by Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on February 3, Xinhua reported.

Analysts noted that Xi, the leader of the Party and the country, is leading the fight against the COVID-19 in a very transparent and responsible manner, directly addressing public discontent and meeting people's expectations. It is very rarely seen that a speech by the president at a senior-level meeting included so many details, direct instructions and harsh criticisms on the problems, especially during the fight against the virus.

At the very beginning of the article, Xi noted that he has made requirements on work to prevent and control the COVID-19 on January 7 since outbreak started while presiding a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. 

Chinese experts said that the CPC Central Committee is playing the most significant role in this war on the virus which needs to mobilize a country with a 1.4 billion population.

"It is impossible to mobilize a huge country in this kind of emergency scenario without top-down efficient decision-making and implementation mechanisms. For instance, the two modernized hospitals in Wuhan won't be built in only a few weeks; a large number of military personnel, including military medical workers won't arrive in Hubei Province so quickly and it is also impossible to mobilize other provinces and municipalities with enough resources and capabilities to precisely assist every single city in Hubei Province," said Song Luzheng, a research fellow at the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai.

Without these timely and determined actions that require centralized leadership to coordinate and instruct different provinces, governmental departments, military forces and big state-owned enterprises, it is unimaginable how worse the situation could be and the outbreak would likely to turn into a global megacrisis, Song noted.

Workers from disparate secotrs work on the construction site of Leishenshan Hospital on Wednesday in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province. Photo: cnsphoto

Centralized leadership 

Xi stressed that centralized leadership over epidemic prevention and control should be strengthened. 

The article noted that "Party committees and governments at all levels must firmly obey the centralized leadership of the CPC Central Committee," epidemic prevention and control is not an issue only related to medical care, but works of all aspects. It is a comprehensive war, and all effort must lend support to winning this battle in preventing and controlling the epidemic.

The implementation of the CPC Central Committee's instructions at all levels is generally good, the article noted, but also stressed the need to strengthen areas of weakness and close loopholes exposed by the current epidemic.

Shen Yi, head of Fudan University's Cyberspace Governance Research Institute, said that the article shows an honest and transparent attitude, as a very serious problem that was exposed since the beginning of the outbreak is that "a few officials at local level governments didn't effectively implement the instructions from the CPC Central Committee and also didn't reflect the real situation at the time."

"The CPC Central Committee is aware of a situation on January 7, but due to this kind of problem(inefficient implementation), it caused some loopholes and mistakes, and fortunately the Party has a strong capability of self-correction, and now the damage over the credibility of the government has been generally fixed and recovered," Song said.

The article also emphasized the importance of taking control of the narrative and winning over public opinion at home and abroad.

There must be closer monitoring and assessment of public opinion, proactively speaking out and giving positive guidance, and law-enforcement must crack down on people who spread rumors and stir trouble, the article noted.

Seize the initiative and effectively shape international opinion, win the understanding and support amongst the international community, read the article.

Xi stressed the current fight against the epidemic is "a major test of China's system and capacity for governance."

In the fourth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee that was held last year, the Party has already pointed out the importance of advancing the modernization of China's system and capacity for governance, and the COVID-19 is exactly a chance, a pressure test, for exposure of the system's problems and weaknesses, and the Party must seize it and use it to improve its governance strategies, said Shen.


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