By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
STOCKHOLM, March 25 (Greenpost) — American late President John F Kennedy was remembered for his famous swearing-in sentence: United We Stand. … Do not ask how much our nation can do for you and ask what you can do for our nation.
Actually China has learnt a lot from America, the American spirit of willing to sacrifice for a good cause.
If you study Kennedy’s sentence carefully, you can see it is also very much a communist idea. He called on people to be united and do more for their country and dare to sacrifice.
It is interesting to see that this idea was perfectly implemented in China.
China was the first one who suffered in large scale of the outbreak of Covid-19. But after two months intensive fighting, China has generally won the battle. Is there any secret for China to win the battle? I like to summarise it in ten lessons or experiences.
- Great leadership. Wage a war against Covid-19. Chinese President Xi Jinping is a great leader. He is such a forward looking leader and a leader who has strategic outlook. After about three weeks investigation, research and study, he realised that the attack of the Covid-19 was not an ordinary virus such as SARS, MERS or American Flu but a virus that spread so quickly that if you don’t take collective and coordinated action, mobilise the whole nation to deal with it, you will face the danger that the whole Chinese nation will be paralysed and even more 20 percent of the 1.4 billion lives will be in danger. It would be very hard to imagine that such a number of population will be wiped out. China indeed has a huge population, but even one life loss is too many. China has put the people in the center and it must implement this policy. Thus, President Xi Jinping declared a war, he called it people’s war against Covid-19.
- Build up capacity with great coordination capability. Since it is a war against Covid-19 under the leadership of President Xi Jinping himself, he was given the power to mobilise the national resources. As soon as China found that the deaths were caused by the shortage of hospital beds, Xi mobilised all the big corporations and the army to build a temporary Xiaotangshan like hospital. Maybe he learnt from the 2003 SARS lessons, he realised it was such an important issue of life or death, thus he used all the resources he could. The Xiaotangshan hospital was built to deal with SARS patients in 2003 in Beijing suburbs near the Great Wall. In order to combat the bloody virus, the first hospital was called Huoshenshan which means the God of Fire Mountain to burn the virus. The second hospital which was also built within ten days was called Leishenshan meaning the God of Thunder to kill the virus. These two hospitals and the following dozen Noah Ark hospitals exhibited China’s formidable construction capability. This construction itself needs a lot of coordination, unity and voluntary forces. A lot of workers from other provinces came to help build the hospitals.
- International assistance and cooperation. Ask for help. When the most devastating Earthquake took place in Tangshan in 1976, China refused to ask any help from the world and China lost 240 thousand lives. Later we think when needed for the lives of the people, leaders should be humble and ask help, to save lives is important. When Wuhan announced to close down on January 23, it was just the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday which usually lasted for 8 days. Almost all the Chinese should go back home and unite with their loved ones and enjoy the longest holiday in China, similar to Christmas in the west. Thus there were no production, almost no one were working. But the doctors and nurses in Wuhan, Hubei and even Zhejiang and other provinces were short of protecting clothes, N95 masks, gloves and the protecting eye glasses. In fact, Dr. Li Wenliang was an eye doctor, but he was infected of Convid-19 by an 85 year old lady when he examined her eyes. So the danger of infection is not just in the emergency sector, or respiratory sector, but in all hospitals because Chinese hospitals are usually much larger and much more open so there are also long queues. Therefore, Chinese government mobilised all the overseas Chinese and other government to ask for help to donate or sell N95 masks, protecting clothes and others. The Chinese all over the world took action immediately and donated money and contacted shops to buy all kinds of goods mainly the masks. Those who couldn’t get masks, bought gloves. I remember that the goods took two weeks to arrive in China with many people’s joint efforts. This was a moving process because all the Chinese people have a kind of feeling that this was such a huge disaster that needed us all to unite and work together to win this battle. Virus was shrewd and spreading so quickly no matter who you are. Four doctors died including two professors who are experts in medical field. But maybe hard work or lack of sleep whatever lower immunity made them collapse when the virus attacked. I summarised it with a timeline, thus I think the international cooperation is very important. With this kind of unity spirit, we encouraged each other.
- Exert Chinese system advantage. Chinese political system is not a dictatorship but a centralised power that produced from various provinces and regions and when there is need the provinces are like brothers and sisters to help each other. When I went to Xinjiang to have a reporting trip in August 2018, I was so impressed that each region in Xinjiang has a big brother in the eastern part of China. For example, Beijing will be the brother of Urumqi, Altay will have a brother which is called Heilongjiang province in northeast China. And I saw the bridge built with 2 million yuan donated from Heilongjiang. The same with Tibet Autonomous Region. This time the most moving part was that the young brother in Xinjiang now helped Hubei province with apples and meat which was what they have. Hubei might have helped Xinjiang with money and technology. But now what Hubei needed was basic things such as vegetable and apples because the city was closed down and no trade or normal transportation were going on. When the new hospitals were built, many thousands of patients were moved in, they need new doctors and nurses. How could they manage that? Liaoning Province in northeast China sent 1000 doctors and nurses from Jinzhou and Dalian as well as more from Shenyang. So it is not fairy tale that one province helped one city in Hubei Province, it was absolutely true. Almost every province or autonomous region and municipality had offered help. How could China realise that? That is the system advantage and cultural advantage even though people from the north feel difficult to understand the language in Hubei and difficult to deal with the patients. They immediately formed a vocabulary of the local language online so that they can learn immediately.
- Chinese communist party members took the lead in offering the help and work on duty in the most difficult time and place. Chinese communist party members swore that they should put the public interest ahead of their own interest and I bet most of them who offered the help from other provinces are CCP members. It might be dangerous, it might cost life, it might be that you go there and you will not come back, but as a CCP member, you have such an obligation to voluntarily do it. They are all voluntary doctors and nurses. It was not ordered to do so. It was just a call and you can just answer it. It was reported that about 40 thousand doctors and nurses from outside Hubei went to Wuhan and other cities hospitals to help. Thus they need a lot of protecting clothes and masks.
- The Heroic Wuhan People, Hubei people and all the Chinese people. During the first week between January 25 and February 2, almost all over China was closed down and isolated. All the villages were closed. No cars were allowed to go through for a week. But by February 2, after a week of fighting against the virus, expert Zhong Nanshan who is 84 years old found that this virus actually has about two weeks potential, in which people could have symptoms after five to seven days. Or they can stay for two weeks and then have cough or fever symptoms. Thus a lot more people might have infected but showed no symtoms yet. Thus it will take at least two weeks to know how many have got infected. So the original closedown of the city for a week was extended for two weeks and then from two weeks extended to four weeks 28 days. With such a long time of closing down, how can Chinese bear it? The slogan was that to stay at home was great, patriotic and that was needed to fight against this virus. Because this virus spreads so quickly when you have close contacts. Thus some families unfortunately disappeared due to the inside family infection and left their orphans.
- The sacrifice of the grassroots workers such as neighbourhood committee people and volunteers. They were the ones who tested the people’s temperatures and also helped to guard people from wandering around in the street. Their jobs were not easy and sometimes they could meet irritated people and insulted them.
- Five million guards and volunteer made all the isolation possible. It was not admirable, but they should be respected otherwise the society could have been in chaos. But mostly it went well and again we must say Wuhan people were great because there were many kinds of recreational activities which were very innovative. It is very respectful for the Chinese people’s talent and wisdom. I have published an old man’s poem describing his staying at home. The volunteers later shouldered the responsibility of buying food and vegetables for each family who gave an order through the smart phone services.
- The postman was praised even during the spring festival TV gala programs but this time, without them, the battle of combating the virus was not complete. It was they who helped transport goods from Shanghai, Guangzhou and many other places to Hubei provinces.
- Chinese medicine has played a great role in giving the Chinese confidence in curing patients. The World Health Organization officials said it was good to see China uses whatever they have to cure the patients. In China there were western medicine doctors relying on antibiotics and other western medicines and equipment such as breathing machines and artificial lung machines. There were also Chinese medicine doctors who used Chinese herbs as medicine to alleviate the symptoms of lungs and fever. It was reported that many light symptom patients recovered with Chinese medicine and prevented them from becoming the sever patients. Unfortunately when WHO opened the press conference and made an impression that all the light symptom patients can recover themselves and the severe symptom patients could only wait for breathing machine or vaccines. China drew the lessons from SARS and all the Chinese put on a mask when they go out. Without mask, you can’t go out. It is a way to protect yourself and also protect others. It is a way to isolate. To understand the virus and its symptoms is a long process which lasted a week for 7 patients and then for 45 patients to examine exactly what it is and how harmful it is. Finally by January 23 Wuhan declared closedown. Wuhan Mayor was hesitating even if he declared that, but he said I don’t care what the history will tell this story which was unprecedented. But of course a lot of people thought he should have closed down earlier. So above are my summary of ten lessons or experiences China can offer to the world. Through this disaster, we see a lot of positive aspects of humanity. Many people said this could only be done under the leadership of the CCP, but I like to say that under the leadership of the CCP, there are great Chinese people, without their support, how can CCP itself completed this mission? So the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese government and the Chinese people and the Chinese nation are all together making a great Chinese culture spreading kindness and mercy so that our world becomes a better world.
Overall, it can be summarised as united we stand. That was to unite and do the right thing at the right time and then resume the production. Of course Chinese culture is also a culture that emphasise harmony, cooperation and mutual help. With cooperation and unity, we can overcome all the difficulties. I cannot say China won a great victory or completely defeat the enemy of virus, but at least now it can produce substantially with its capacity and help other parts of the world to recover from the virus disaster.
The following are some pictures during this campaign showing how people help each other.