Smearing China won’t help restore Washington’s diminishing prestige
Published: Dec 19, 2022 09:12 PM Updated: Dec 19, 2022 09:03 PM
White flags are seen on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 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 Sept. 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

The US is prepared to help China deal with a surge of COVID-19 infections if Beijing requests assistance, the White House hypocritically said on Wednesday. The US and the West, from day one, have constantly attacked and badmouthed China's fight against the pandemic. They have constantly hyped up the seriousness of China's situation. The constant attacks represent an attempt to maintain confidence in the US's increasingly diminishing ability to lead effectively.
After three years of maintaining a strict dynamic zero-COVID policy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, China is now easing its epidemic controls. This has been primarily in reaction to changing pandemic situation, with the virus no longer posing such a threat to public health. Compared to when the coronavirus came on the scene, China has significantly more resources at its disposal to manage the situation where it didn’t before. Along with changing public sentiment and expert opinion, this is obviously one of the major factors in why China is optimizing its zero-COVID policy, simply because it can now successfully manage the virus’ spread in society without an outright collapse of the country’s medical system.
The criticism largely hinges on the idea that Chinese public health officials are irresponsible and could allow citizens to succumb to the virus. Yet, at the same time, these people had previously criticized Beijing’s strong control measures on the basis that they impeded civil liberties, primarily the right of free movement, and was a major inconvenience to individuals and business activities. 
It goes to show that China will be criticized regardless of how it handles the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Chinese officials should ignore it. Western criticism because it lacks basic rigor and is fraught with hypocrisy. Moreover, it seems that a lot of these folks are so cynical that they almost want Chinese people to die or suffer disabilities from the virus in order to justify their negative views of China. 
In addition, China has made other COVID-19 treatments widely available to the public. Beijing has also greatly expanded the number of hospital beds and intensive care unit (ICU) beds per capita relative to where it stood before the pandemic, which was a major reason for its strict controls in the first place. 
In regard to the criticism leveled against China prior to this change, the dynamic zero-COVID strategy has been wildly successful in preventing what experts estimate to be the death of millions of people. Since China has a significant amount of citizens of advanced age (over 260 million), this was particularly crucial in defending residents’ basic well-being. At the same time, contrary to what Western observers say, it has been a saving grace for the Chinese economy. 
For instance, a January report by Citigroup, based on three surveys conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce China, the EU Chamber of Commerce China and the Japan External Trade Organization, found that China is their favorite investment destination. Among the reasons cited were China’s supply chain resilience and its effective control of COVID-19. It is no exaggeration to say that China’s dynamic epidemic controls have kept the global supply chain intact throughout the pandemic, saving countless lives and preventing attendant economic damage. 
On the other hand, the United States’ management of the virus has been abysmal. It has the highest case and load and highest death toll in the world and the virus is stuck in a virtual plateau, where cases and deaths are constant. A major reason for this failure is as outright corruption, as corporate influence has lobbied federal agencies to change their policies in order to accommodate large corporations. 
No matter how China relaxes its controls, it is safe to say that this has been conducted much more thoroughly and objectively than the outright disregard for human life demonstrated by countries like the United States. For this reason, the disaster that some Western observers might wish to see in China will probably never occur.
The author is a Prague-based American journalist, columnist and political commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn