OPINION / VIEWPOINT
I spent a safe, happy Spring Festival in rural China
Published: Jan 23, 2023 06:13 PM
I took my 5-year-old boy back to my hometown in East China's Shandong Province to celebrate the Spring Festival on January 20, the day before Spring Festival Eve. Because of the pandemic, we have not returned to my hometown to celebrate the most important annual festival for three years.

When we got home, my parents had already cleaned and decorated the house in accordance with Spring Festival traditions - every window in the house was spotless; red lanterns and colorful lights hung at the gate are lit through all night from the Spring Festival Eve till the Lantern Festival, which is about two weeks away.

On the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, we visited a small square in the middle of the village, where the villagers voluntarily presented a fireworks show to express joy. Colorful fireworks were blooming in the sky, the scale of which makes it hard for you to believe that this was seen in an ordinary rural village under a third-tier city.

Kids watch fireworks in Nanfeng village, Zibo city of East China’s Shandong Province on January 21. Photo: GT

Kids watch fireworks in Nanfeng village, Zibo city of East China’s Shandong Province on January 21. Photo: GT



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On the first day of the Spring Festival, our family went to a large downtown shopping mall for lunch. The shopping mall was so bustling, and it took us nearly two hours to wait for a table in one restaurant. That evening, we went to see a lantern show at Yudai Lake, a tourist destination in the suburb of Zibo, East China's Shandong Province. The queue to enter was so long that we waited in line for at least 30 minutes before entering the show. Most of the visitors were wearing masks, some were not.

These are the real scenes of how we spent the Spring Festival in the countryside of Zibo, a third-tier city in Shandong Province, which are no different from the scenes before the pandemic struck. We are spending the Spring Festival in a safe, festive and lively atmosphere, enjoying the warmth of family reunion. My parents, both 67-year-old, became sick with COVID-19 around December 20, and they recovered at home like most other villagers. Chinese big cities have already begun to look past COVID, so have been many villages in China.

Visitors see a lantern show at Yudai Lake, a tourist destination in the suburb of Zibo, East China's Shandong Province. Photo: GT

Visitors see a lantern show at Yudai Lake, a tourist destination in the suburb of Zibo, East China's Shandong Province. Photo: GT



 

What is happening in the countryside of Shandong is different from the reports by some Western media. Recently, with the annual large-scale Spring Festival migration kicking off, the new target of the Western media to launch attacks on China's optimization of COVID policies is China's rural area. For instance, Bloomberg claimed "Rural China Braces for Covid Onslaught Over Lunar New Year," and a CNN opinion piece hyped "In rural China, a COVID-19 Tsunami is brewing."

If you go to the restaurants, tourist destinations, or Spring Festival celebration events and have a look at, you will know what the articles say are untrue. They are nothing but scare-mongering. This Spring Festival, no matter whether celebrated in a city or the countryside, is truly reunited and happy. Emerging from COVID-19 so quickly and returning to normal life gives people more confidence in China's national destiny.

"COVID onslaught," "COVID-19 Tsunami," -- it's not difficult to sense the deep malice of some Western media outlets from these words. They are not scientific predictions based on rigorous analysis, but lies.

It's fair to say since the beginning of the pandemic, some in the Western media have been eager to predict catastrophe in China which can then be utilized to attack the Chinese political system. But the fact is that they have been disappointed again and again and can only rely on lies, slanders and disinformation to attack China.

The disaster they are predicting and hoping to see in rural China will not happen. China has taken the initiative in optimizing and adjusting COVID response measures based on changing situation and it has always fought a prepared battle, be in cities or villages.

According to the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council, 98.7 percent of hospitals at township and community level had established fever clinics as of January 7. Chinese medical institutions at all levels are taking necessary measures to increase resources and personnel.

In addition, the possibility of a large-scale COVID-19 resurgence in China over the next few months is remote as 80 percent of the country's population has been infected, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China's CDC), wrote on his social media account Saturday.

The Spring Festival is a sweet moment when warm stories of reunion are being staged in large and small cities and rural areas. Over the remaining days of the holiday, we also plan to visit relatives and friends, and visit some tourist attractions. For my family members, there is no worry about a possible second wave of infections, and we want to spend time together before returning to the past bustle and hustle after the holiday. This kind of story will never arouse the interest of Western media who only want to attack China with negative narratives, but this is the real story of the Chinese people.

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