Fallacies and facts about China’s COVID-19 policy shift
Days ago, China refined its COVID-19 response by issuing new measures for international exchange, which has been widely welcomed.
However, some countries continue to play the “political card” and defame China’s COVID policy, and have even imposed unreasonable restrictions on entry from China. As for the misconceptions that dampen global solidarity and economic recovery, clarification is needed.
Fallacy 1: ‘China’s COVID policy has failed’
The fact is, over the past three years, China has always put people and their lives front and center while optimizing response measures. We made coordinated efforts on pandemic control and economic development, and withstood the impact of five global pandemic waves. The achievements are there for all to see.
Globally speaking, China has had the lowest rates of infection and mortality, and average life expectancy in China has gone up from 77.3 years in 2019 to 78.2 years in 2021. We have also taken the lead, among major economies, in stabilizing the pandemic and achieving positive growth, with the economy growing at an average annual rate of about 4.5 percent.
China is also the first country that pledged to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and has provided personnel and material support to countries around the world, giving strong impetus to global cooperation against the virus.
At present, China’s pandemic policy is undergoing a gear shift, so it is natural for there to be an adaptation period, but the overall situation is controllable.
A few countries, muted on their own problems which have been exposed during the pandemic, are pouring scorn on China for its policy change. Their hegemonic nature and double standards have been laid bare, and the purpose is clear — to contain China.
Fallacy 2: ‘China’s COVID situation has got out of hand’
As the virulence of omicron subvariants wanes and China’s vaccine uptake and response experience grow, we have downgraded the management of the virus and shifted the focus to health protection and severe cases prevention. This is a timely and necessary change, based on science and adopted from a long-term perspective, still with people as the center.
It in no way means letting go of the virus or a complete exit from prevention and control measures. China is making every effort to meet people’s drug needs and protect key groups and rural residents, to further ensure its measures are well-targeted and effective.
China has administered 3.4 billion doses of vaccines. The full vaccination rates for people aged over 60 and 80 years old are 86 percent and 66 percent respectively. The triage diagnosis and treatment system has been constantly improved, and drug production capacity meets people’s demands basically, laying a solid foundation for the new phase of our pandemic control. Some Chinese provinces have gone through the infection peak and people’s lives are gradually returning to normal.
Facts have proved that China is well prepared for the battle and we have the confidence and ability to score new victories. Those who hype that “China’s medical system is collapsing” are sheer rumormongers.
Fallacy 3: ‘Restrictions should be imposed on personnel from China’
The fact is, by canceling closed-loop transport and central isolation of inbound travelers, China has sent a clear signal of safe, healthy and orderly exchanges between Chinese and foreign personnel, and demonstrated our commitment to open wider to the world and make bigger contributions to global development.
Over the past days, the World Health Organization said it was pleased to see China adjusting its measures, and the tourism departments of many countries have welcomed Chinese tourists on social media.
With the belief that China’s efforts could facilitate bilateral personnel exchanges and restore confidence in investment, foreign chambers of commerce in China and global rating agencies spoke highly of China’s COVID policy change and raised China’s 2023 growth forecast.
Reports also comment that the change in China will help to maintain the stability of global industrial and supply chains and promote the recovery of the world economy.
As China is “opening its arms”, a few countries have suddenly changed their narrative and moves. Previously, they asked China to “lie flat” by reopening immediately, but now, they impose arbitrary restrictions or extra quarantine on people from China, a gross deviation from the pandemic development trend and global common practice, and a serious impediment to global opening-up and cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges. It is at odds with science, people’s expectations and morality.
Health experts from many countries have pointed out that the variants and subvariants prevalent in China have already spread around the world. There is no sign that new variants will appear in China, so relevant countries certainly have no ground for restricting people traveling from China.
During the pandemic, Hong Kong and the mainland have always lent each other a helping hand. With the firm support of the central government, the special administrative region government united all sectors to overcome five waves of the COVID-19 outbreak and is now focused on reviving the economy and bettering people’s lives.
Days ago, the central government announced that it would resume travel permit applications from mainland residents for tourism and business travel to Hong Kong, and restore Hong Kong and Macao’s border checkpoints, which will greatly facilitate personnel exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong, and the public are all looking forward to it.
As pandemic measures changed and the border with the mainland gradually reopens, Hong Kong is gaining greater vitality and will shine more brightly as a global metropolis in fuller integration with the country’s high-quality development.
No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn. In the face of the new pandemic situation, the world needs unity rather than division. China will continue to make efforts with all parties to promote international cooperation against COVID-19 and help the global economy recover, and to jointly write a new chapter in the global community of health for all.