It’s political virus to make a show on entry of Chinese travelers: Global Times editorial
Published: Jan 06, 2023 12:39 AM
Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Recently, there have been some discussions worldwide about the optimization and adjustment of China's epidemic prevention and control policy. A few countries are worried that "a new COVID variant could emerge in China," and thus have adopted new restrictions on travelers from China. On January 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that most of the virus strains circulating in China "are known and have been circulating in other countries, and at the present time no new variant has been reported." This is consistent with previous judgments of scientists from many countries. The move - adopting special entry restrictions targeting China - has no scientific basis and goes against the original intention of COVID prevention and control.

China's epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage, and it is normal for the outside world to be concerned about it. At present, several basic facts are relatively clear: First, no new mutant COVID strain has been discovered in China so far. Second, China has been maintaining close communication with the WHO and sharing relevant information and data in a timely manner. Third, the current epidemic in China is controllable, and China is confident that the transition will go ahead smoothly and orderly. If some countries have a defensive "stress response" because they don't understand the situation, it is believed the reaction will gradually fade as the relevant facts become clearer.

But there is another case. Some countries have been putting on a show from the very beginning, and political factors have overwhelmed scientific judgment. The additional prevention and control measures they have taken against Chinese travelers are not based on scientific research and judgment, but are based on prejudice against China and political calculations. Those who now exaggerate the risks that China's optimization and adjustment of prevention and control policies have caused to the outside world are mostly the same group of people who criticized China's dynamic zero-COVID policy before. They simply try to find fault with China or make China embarrassed. The role they play is the disrupter of the international anti-pandemic cooperation. They are the few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch. The reason why the pandemic has not been contained for a long time is because of these disrupters.

For example, Washington seems to be encouraging other countries to follow suit and restrict Chinese travelers. It claims that this is a "prudent health measures to protect their citizens." But why hasn't Washington taken "prudent health measures" to protect its citizens when Delta and other more lethal strains were spreading in the US? At the moment, XBB.1.5, a new COVID variant, is rapidly circulating in the US and spreading to other countries, why doesn't Washington take "prudent health measures" to prevent this new variant?

The relevant restrictive measures have attracted criticism in countries including the US, and they are considered to be neither scientific nor effective. US media The Hill said in an article that hundreds of thousands of infected people are already freely circulating in communities around the US. "Given that just a few thousand visitors from China enter the United States on average every day, adding a few hundred infected people each day into the population from China barely increases population risk." The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also issued a statement, saying "it is extremely disappointing to see this knee-jerk reinstatement of measures that have proven ineffective over the last three years. Governments must base their decisions on 'science facts' rather than 'science politics.'"

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China's contribution is obvious. When the global epidemic was at its most critical moment, China's production supported the entire world and ensured that the global industrial chain and supply chain were not interrupted. On the other hand, China's prevention and control measures have maximized the protection of people's lives and health. Now, China has optimized the epidemic prevention and control policy adapting to the time and situation, which has created better conditions for the safe, healthy and orderly exchange between Chinese and foreign personnel, and has also brought more benefits to the development of the global economy.

In this context, the political manipulation of the border entry of Chinese travelers not only ignores scientific facts, but also runs counter to the expectations of the world to walk out of the shadow of the pandemic.

We believe that political manipulation against scientific facts is ultimately unsustainable. In the "post-epidemic era," what we need to prevent is not only the COVID virus, but even more so the "political virus," which distorts the truth and undermines international cooperation. It is an accomplice of the COVID virus, and an enemy of the joint fight against the epidemic.

When we review this period of history in the future, countries that only want to use the epidemic to attack China and pass the buck must bear historical responsibility.