West needs to survive COVID before proving they are superior
Published: Nov 12, 2021 08:27 PM
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a child for nucleic acid test at a residential area in Ejin Banner of Alxa League, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Oct. 20, 2021.Photo: Xinhua

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a child for nucleic acid test at a residential area in Ejin Banner of Alxa League, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Oct. 20, 2021.Photo: Xinhua

This winter, coronavirus death toll in the US surpassed 750,000, yet the shocking number did not create shockwaves. The WHO's warning of another 500,000 deaths in Europe by February also failed to draw public fear. But a video showing Chinese kids standing in line, wearing masks and QR codes while waiting for nucleic acid tests, has stirred up quite a social media storm among some Western netizens. The critics seem to be furious, screaming: They grow up with "no freedom!"

When their comments land in China, people only find them ridiculous. Because everything we see in the video is worth applauding: The kindergarten children, each with a printed QR code attached to their clothes, were queuing in an orderly manner. Chinese people mostly find the little ones unbelievably cute and brave. They may be too young to understand what's going on, but they should be given the thumbs up. They should be told that they are doing a marvelous thing. They are well-mannered in the queues, and they are all supermen and superwomen who have jointly helped defend their homeland against a horrible virus.  

The video mirrors a tiny part of China's mass COVID-19 testing, which is one of the most crucial tools for the country to rein in the virus. The collective spirit of the Chinese people has been brought into full and positive play amid the epidemic. They are conscious, considerate and reasonable, and care for the big picture. Thanks to those qualities, the dynamic zero-case policy can be realized. 

The QR code, or health code, mirrors the efficient use of high-tech in the fight against the ongoing public health crisis. The codes help locate the infected people and verify the path of infections. They are also reminders for everyone to abide by the epidemic prevention and control rules and not to act rashly. 

Unfortunately, all those anti-virus methods with merits are viewed as evil in the comments of certain Westerners, especially from some elites. Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson labeled the scene as being "totalitarian." US columnist Jeffrey A. Tucker questioned it in a sarcastic tone, "Is this the world you want?"

What world? A world without the virus? Ah yes. If China's approaches can be called "totalitarian," how could those Westerners describe similar anti-COVID policies in Japan and South Korea, and even in some states in the US itself? For example, kids are recently lining up for vaccinations across Portland, Oregon. 

Obviously, those people are judging China based on their stereotypes, preconceived ideas and most notably, their distinction between friends and rivals, Xu Liang, an associate professor at the School of International Relations at Beijing International Studies University, told the Global Times. "For them, everything their rival does must be wrong. Sadly, the West is no longer tolerant and open, but stuck in a self-enclosed dead end," Xu said. 

Chinese people really find it hard to understand Western-style human rights and freedoms. We have no idea why over 750,000 graves in the US and possibly another 500,000 death in Europe could possibly represent the superiority of Western systems and values. We have even less of an idea to understand why China is viewed so negatively when our children contribute their efforts to fight the virus. Perhaps those people have no alternative to safeguard their so-called universal values and to prove they are right apart from sensationalizing Sinophobia and constantly attacking China.

No matter what those Westerners say about the video of Chinese kindergarten children, the kids will grow up healthily. But much more young people in Western countries are suffering. On November 3, a report from the US media outlet National Public Radio showed that more than 8,300 US kids aged 5 to 11 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 because of serious illness. At least 791 children have died from the virus. 

China is willing to hear strong explanations from Westerners over why their system, values and freedom are superior. So we wish them a long life and good health. We hope that Western countries, through whatever means, will help more people survive the virus and live a better life. In this way, they can hand down their ideologies from one generation to another, and debate with China. But they have to stay alive before proving they are right, commented Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University.

If they cannot survive the pandemic, if they cannot live, what's the point of the existence of Western values that they are so eager to defend?

The author is a reporter with Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn