Ignoring woes at home, British media lamentable in smearing China's epidemic fight
Published: Jan 06, 2023 02:07 PM
UK Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

UK Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

On Tuesday, the Guardian published an editorial titled "The Guardian view on China's Covid crisis: zero preparation." The editorial asserted that "Its big mistake was neither initially pursuing a zero-Covid policy nor lifting it - others did so and kept mortality rates low - but shifting without warning, much mitigation or, apparently, preparation."

It is an extremely irresponsible behavior to comment on such a major policy as the epidemic prevention measures of other countries without any in-depth investigation and research. As a matter of fact, the Guardian's statement itself is undoubtedly a continuation of the practice of the British mainstream media in recent years - trying every means to defame and slander China's politics, economy, society, and culture.

The UK is probably one of the least qualified countries to evaluate China's anti-epidemic policy, because as a country with a population of 66 million, the UK's anti-epidemic work in the past three years has been extremely poor. The successive epidemics have generated complaints from the public in the UK.

Gao Jian, a scholar at Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times that in fact, from the beginning to the end, the understanding of the problem-solving on the pandemic in the UK is completely different from China's. But what surprised us in particular, is that throughout the fight against the epidemic, we have clearly seen how social Darwinism is practiced in the UK. 

In the early days of the epidemic, according to former UK prime minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings, thousands of people died needlessly as a result of government mistakes in the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the basic attitude of the current British elite - viewing people's lives as almost worthless.

This also reflects that the social culture, social structure, and governance philosophy of China and the UK are completely different. 

There is a psychological mechanism behind the British media's constant smearing of China's anti-epidemic: By smearing China, a non-western country with significant development potential, and which has achieved unparalleled success in modernization, is a tactic aimed at distracting their own domestic constituents.

Therefore, they can divert the contradictions of their country from the inherent social crisis to satisfy their pitiful and ridiculous so-called national self-esteem.

From the fast change of prime ministers, to the current wave of strikes, and looking back at the various political chaos in UK in the past few years, there are several factors at play.

First, the political culture in the UK is extremely chaotic. In today's era of major international change, the views of mainstream British politicians on the current situation have always remained similar to those of the Cold War period. Their backward political ideas and level of governance make it impossible to build an effective and feasible domestic and foreign policy mechanism that is in line with their own interests.

Moreover, the existing Western democratic political mechanism in the UK has increasingly shown its rigidity and inefficiency in the face of new international political issues. Politicians are keen on fighting in parliament, and many policies get lost in the wrangling. This is an institutionalized crisis that is very prominent in British domestic politics.

Furthermore, the political and ideological polarization in the UK is very serious, which has intensified the confrontations across society, especially as the people's livelihood situation continues to worsen. Many reforms, including the National Health Service, are just empty promises for the people. Now that the British government has no money, how can it ensure social welfare through reforms?

More importantly, British foreign policy is constantly changing, without stability, durability, and credibility. For example, although the UK proposed the concept of Global Britain, its current foreign policy is firmly tied to the American chariot. The politicization and ideologicalization of foreign trade and economic activities dealt a fatal blow to the UK, a country founded on commerce. 

Therefore, under such a pattern, it is implausible for Britain to implement effective reforms in the future or for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to accomplish the most prominent tasks he mentioned in his New Year speech. Judging from the overall situation in the world and at home, the UK's national power will only continue to go downhill in the short to medium term. And that trend cannot be changed, no matter how hard some forces in the UK play up the epidemic in China.

Li Guanjie, a research fellow from the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies, pointed out that the UK now can only find someone else to attack to divert attention from its internal conflicts and ease its anxiety about a declining international status. What they can do is say some harsh words diplomatically or obfuscate the issue by promoting their propaganda. This is quite a helpless move. At the end of the day, Britain will never solve their real problems by seeking an external object to attack.

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