Smearing China's epidemic control policies stems from US’ inner fear
Published: Nov 20, 2022 08:34 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

On November 16, the New York Times (NYT) published an article entitled "What Videos Show About the Extremes of China's 'Zero COVID' Policy." In an attempt to delegitimize and smear China's epidemic control policies, the article stated that the Chinese government had taken extreme measures such as separating children from their parents and enforcing strict punishments for violators. 

Nowadays, when it comes to the result of the epidemic control, there is a huge gap between China and Western countries represented by the US, and behind the gap are the tremendous differences between the two sides in terms of political systems and national ability, Shen Yi, a professor of Fudan University, told the Global Times.

While some Western countries have much more advanced medical systems than China does and have more medical resources, they have got very low score in preventing and controlling the epidemic. Just look at the over 1 million death toll in the US. However, the NYT just couldn't accept the fact that the US and some European countries, with their liberal ideas and "democratic systems" as well as their strengths, performed so poorly in this pandemic fight.

Based on the fear that their countries' poor performance will be fully exposed to the world, the Western media outlets pointed at few problems that occurred during China's epidemic control and prevention and exaggerated them, as if the problems are the only story of China's epidemic fight. With such narrative, Western media have developed a certain set of rhetoric to smear China, so that Western countries can justify and continue with their flawed anti-epidemic path, even if they have to pay higher costs.

In addition, such articles that have tried hard to smear China's anti-epidemic policies always ignore a basic reality, namely that the overall domestic order in China is stable and the economic momentum is still very strong. In contrast, the US economy could be heading for a recession in the coming year. Whenever they collect materials that slander China, they never care about China's economic development, let alone the improved living standards of the Chinese people.

An international affairs expert based in Beijing said that the NYT has been using the epidemic as a political tool to hurt China's global influence. The approach - politicizing others' effort to prevent and control COVID - will eventually backfire and haunt its own country. The tactic of judging China's fight against epidemic through a tiny part of the big picture is an act of a coward.

Shen told the Global Times that China has never hyped the pros and cons of different systems when it comes to epidemic prevention and control. But Western countries, from the very beginning, have been talking about COVID from the struggle of systems and ideologies. They do not dare to reflect on themselves, because if they do, it means they acknowledge that there is something wrong with their own systems, their leaders and their policies, Shen noted. 

In fact, China has never denied that there are flaws in its epidemic control policies, nor has China ever denied that some policies need continuous improvement. China has never used these flaws as a reason for self-indulgence and self-hypnosis. Instead, it has always stood from the perspective of public health, seriously put forward specific plans, and put the protection of human life and safety as the priority. China will never experience the kind of humanitarian catastrophe that has occurred in the US.

The virus is mutating, and public awareness and responses to COVID-19 are also changing. The degree of tightness of China's epidemic control policies is closely related to the evolution of the virus and is also related to the formulation and adjustment of national macro-strategic policies. China's achievements in fighting the epidemic are not easy to come by. In contrast, the epidemic situation in some Western countries is getting worse. They boast "human rights first" and criticize China, but the lives of their own people cannot be guaranteed, which is nothing but double standards.

It has been three years since the outbreak of the COVID-19, and there are still Western articles slandering China. This not only exposed their long-standing prejudice and hostility toward China but also reflects their fear when they face China's institutional advantages and the effective procedures to control the epidemic.

As Peter Symonds, a media practitioner from Australia, pointed out, "The real criminals are the governments around the world and their media accomplices. They have implemented the murderous policies of 'herd immunity' and 'living with the virus' that have cost millions of lives. Now they are pushing for China to adopt the same criminal policy."