US’ questioning of China's zero-COVID strategy a veiled attempt to create chaos
Published: Apr 10, 2022 07:08 PM
White flags are seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on September 16, 2021. More than 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States.Photo:Xinhua

White flags are seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on September 16, 2021. More than 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor the lives lost to COVID-19 in the United States.Photo:Xinhua

Three years into the COVID-19 epidemic, some US media outlets that claimed "COVID-19 was supposed to be China's Chernobyl" still hope for it to come true. They cannot wait to make waves when seeing Shanghai face challenges in fighting the epidemic. 

Googling "Shanghai" or "zero COVID" these days, one will soon encounter some US reports hyping "clumsy lockdown," "pay the price" or questions asking why China can't quit the zero-COVID policy. Many of them share one argument - China maintains the policy to prove the legitimacy of its governance and that its system is superior to Western ones.  

At least the Western media outlets got one thing right this time - a country's choice to battle COVID-19 does relate to the legitimacy of its governance. If the past three years proved anything, it is that the Chinese government cares the most about people's lives, while in the West, especially the US, human life is not a concern for the government at all. The US is nearing 1 million recorded COVID-19 deaths without any social reckoning or questioning of the legitimacy of the country's political power, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told Global Times.

Granted, errors can be found in Shanghai's anti-epidemic fight. But China is reviewing and making great efforts to overcome them at the fastest possible speed. A certain price will be paid in the process, but the result is worth the cost if compared with a US-style response - giving up and letting lives fade away, according to Shen.

The majority of the Chinese people understand it. So do some Westerners nowadays. After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19, US media outlets started to turn their attention to Washington, D.C. They noticed another cluster of infections there. Reports show the weekly case rate per 100,000 residents in Washington climbed from 51 at the beginning of March to 110 at the end of March. As Associated Press put it, "New COVID-19 outbreaks give US glimpse at living with the virus: 'Get used to it'".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who planned to "ride out" the Omicron wave with no more curbs, recently refused to rule out future lockdowns if a more deadly COVID variant emerges. It "would be irresponsible" to rule out something "that could save lives," The Independent quoted him as reporting on Saturday.  

They are well aware of what the better option is. Still, they chose to smear and twist China's fight against COVID-19 to not only justify mass deaths in the West, but also stir up troubles in Chinese society by manipulating public opinions. 

They believe the more chaos China faces from the inside, the less challenge China could pose to US hegemonic position. That being the case, it cannot be ruled out that some Americans hope that Beijing could give up on zero-COVID amid the public opinion pressure. As in that case, all efforts China has achieved in the past three years will crumble down, Li Haidong, a professor from China Foreign Affairs University, told Global Times. 

The US State Department's decision to allow voluntary departure of some employees to leave its consulate in Shanghai "due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and the impact of restrictions related to the response" is another vivid example of US' tactic. "Washington is attempting to create an atmosphere in China, filled with political and public panic, misleading the world's understanding of China, to damage China's image, and to weaken the economic interaction between China and the world," Li said. 

Such a US mindset has been seen through by the Chinese people, with one netizen claiming, "China does not need the approval of the US to implement its own epidemic prevention and control measures." When making the show, US State Department failed to note one fact - only in China can human life be truly respected, while in the US, people face a high probability of joining the staggering death toll of 1 million.

Instead of questioning China, some Westerners may need to answer this first: How do nearly 1 million Americans dying of COVID-19 affect the legitimacy of US governance?

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