Just a month ago, Sally J. Yan, a Europe-China trade facilitator based in Zurich, was coordinating the supply of around three million masks and suits to China, then the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, she is planning to return home, as Switzerland has 2,200 cases, with 13 deaths. “Yes, I have to return to China because of the coronavirus threat,” she said.
China now seems to have got a grip on the pandemic, with daily confirmed cases coming down to less than 30 (total: 81,077) and deaths to less than 15 (total: 3,218). And, it is trying to help other countries tackle Covid-19, sending medical supplies to Europe, Korea, Japan and Pakistan. “We are ready to help out even the United States,” said Li Xiaojun, information director, State Council, the highest administrative body of China. “But we cannot forget the negative role they played during the crisis.” He told THE WEEK that President Donald Trump paid mere lip service, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was busy criticising the Chinese leadership.
Many experts, too, were critical of the US for its apathy towards China. Economist Peter Peverelli, an Amsterdam-based expert on Chinese business development, told THE WEEK, “While the World Health Organization praises China’s response to Covid-19, hysteria seems to be the [response] in the media outside China. Some even refer to the Chinese measures as violation of human rights.”
China was initially criticised for locking down cities and for its crackdown against officials and rumour mongers. In Hubei province alone—Wuhan, where Covid-19 originated, is its capital—more than two dozen higher officials were sacked, including central committee members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). “We are not saints,” said Li. “Neither were our officials in Hubei. They made intended and unintended mistakes. They all have been corrected by the CPC, state and the government agencies.”
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March 29, 2020