West’s living-with-virus policy a forced choice: Global Times editorial
Published: Nov 15, 2021 09:27 PM
Settling in for winter Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Settling in for winter Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The severe rebound of the COVID-19 epidemic is continuing to undermine economic recoveries in the US and Europe. The US consumer price index surged 6.2 percent from a year ago in October, the highest rise in 31 years ago. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday that quashing COVID-19 is key to lowering US inflation, and that if contained, the surge in the price of commodities such as crude oil should abate in the second half of next year.

However, can the outbreak in the US be contained? The only means of epidemic prevention in the US is vaccination, and this country is in the process of opening up more. Europe is opening up a bit faster than the US, yet the former has now once again become the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. Some countries in Europe have begun to consider whether to impose lockdowns again, while the public there has become increasingly skeptical about whether vaccines alone will stop the spread of the epidemic.

The current situation shows that the protection rates of all widely administered vaccines, including those recommended by the WHO, have been reduced. Moreover, there is the possibility of a further mutation of the virus. The war of mankind against the novel coronavirus is far from over, and its impact on the economy and the reshaping of various human activities will continue.

Facing great uncertainty, Western public opinion recently mocked China's dynamic zero-COVID route more and more. Some even said this route has not only led to China's "self-isolation" in physical terms, but has also become a lever of opportunity for China to abandon reform and opening-up and return to systematic self-isolation. People who hold such arguments are very uncomfortable with the confidence brought by China's success in controlling the epidemic, and they suggest that China will increase its suspicion of everything in the West.

We believe that this is a cognitive trap caused by Western centrism. Westerners take the route of the US and Europe to combat the epidemic as the standard, and they no longer look into the humanitarian responsibilities of mass deaths caused by their route. Instead, they look into China's anti-epidemic approach that leads to almost zero deaths "deviant" from the West's. How absurd this is.

China's insistence on the dynamic zero-COVID policy is to adhere to scientific epidemic prevention and control. It is particularly in line with China's situation of huge population, urban-rural gap, and insufficient medical resources. No matter how many countries have been compelled to open their economy with the bandwagon, the path of coexisting with the virus can't be seen as mainstream. Though it has been promoted, it's a forced choice.

It's a shame to let "survival of the fittest" become a leading feature in this anti-virus fight, given the technological level and organizational ability we have today. Capital is the biggest force that is pushing the ideology of the "hard mode" of coexistence, showing the power that money wields in most societies.

Science and humanitarianism are the driving force of China's dynamic zero-COVID policy. It has created an effective safety net for the Chinese people, but will not weaken the political enthusiasm and rationality of Chinese society to open up to the outside world. The ideas of closing the doors to develop alone and completely part ways with the West are hardly advocated in China. Some political elites in the US are openly promoting a "decoupling" from China, but even those who believe they are in a position of strength are finding it unlikely to continue such a "decoupling."

China seeks unity of safety and opening-up, both in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and in politics. China's imports and exports have been growing rapidly since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and the country's doors are clearly opening wider and wider. The flow of people has been reduced, but even the flow of people in Western countries has increased slowly. These nations are faster than China in this regard, and we welcome them to explore the path ahead of us. China will look at what it may lead to, and decide if we should develop new policies for the entry of people based on the new conditions that scientific progress can provide.

Science is a matter of human life, and China will adhere to the principle of putting people first, while exploring in a pragmatic manner. China has not only effectively protected the lives of its people, but has so far been at the forefront of economic recovery. The US and Europe have the right to make their own choices, but they can't provide any evidence that would convince us to follow their lead. At this time, some of them laugh at China's "isolation," but, sorry, they have made a mistake with the coordinates for "isolation."