China’s Excellent Performance in the Tough Test of COVID-19
February 01,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
Feb.1,2021 -- Yang Xin: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our academy has attached great importance to the publicity and research work related to the pandemic prevention and control and has started a number of research projects. Human rights is one of the key topics.
Host: Today we are glad to have Mr. Yang Xin, associate fellow at the Institute of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics of Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences. Hello, Yang Xin.
Yang Xin: Thank you for having me.
Host: As we often say, this pandemic serves as a major test for China, which has long upheld the principle of putting lives first in our fight against the virus. Our battle against the pandemic has yielded strategic outcomes. If we consider the outcomes as China’s answer sheet to the test, what do you think has been reflected in the answer sheet?
Yang Xin: After the outbreak, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the entire country to fight a people’s war to control the virus. We have made major strategic achievements in the prevention and control of the pandemic, which tells the world two things. First, the prevention and control of the pandemic has demonstrated the notable advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics. During the fourth plenary session of the 19thCPC Central Committee, the Party gave an all-round summary and exposition of the notable advantages of our socialist system, which include thirteen aspects. The advantages have been given full play during the fight and have played a critical role in guaranteeing our victory. One of the advantages is China’s ability to take an whole-of-nation approach and pool resources for major undertakings. Let’s look at some examples in this regard. After the outbreak, in the face of the urgent situation in the city of Wuhan of Hubei Province, the CPC Central Committee took decisive actions and mustered over 300 national medical teams of over 40,000 medical workers from across the country as well as the armed forces and dispatched them to Wuhan. Mobilization on such a large scale is unimaginable in Western countries. But it is easily achieved in a socialist country like China. This fully testifies to the notable advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We can see via the media outlets that after the outbreak, undesirable things have happened in some Western countries, such as the resignation of medical workers and buck-passing by politicians, which has further exacerbated the spread of the virus. This is in stark contrast to the situation in China. This is the first aspect. Second, the prevention and control of the pandemic have fully shown that our Party and government attach great importance to human rights protection. After the outbreak, President Xi has emphasized on a number of occasions that the safety and health of the people must be put in the first place and that patients should be treated at all costs. This underscores the fact that we make every endeavor to protect the people’s rights to life and health. For COVID-19 patients, not only are their medical expenses fully covered by medical insurance, but we will treat them at all costs and take every measure available to save their lives. Moreover, in order to administer a more effective treatment, we have kicked off the contingency procurement procedure and purchased high-end medical devices, such as respirators and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, from other countries so that the patients can be treated with the most advanced equipment. 
Host: We can see that our country is doing everything possible to protect people’s lives. 
Yang Xin: Right. 
Host: People say that the pandemic is a mirror that reflects a country’s human rights protection. For the Chinese people, living in China—a country that respects and protects human rights, is a happy and lucky thing What do you think has that mirror reflected in terms of human rights protection?
Yang Xin: As you just mentioned, the pandemic is like a mirror that reflects as much the genuineness of China’s protection of human rights as the hypocrisy of certain Western countries’ approach to human rights protection. In order to protect and safeguard people’s rights to life and health, we have taken various measures to give the patients access to effective medical treatment and strived to save their lives at all costs. This has fully shown the fact that we spare no effort to protect people’s rights to life and health. On the contrary, when certain Western countries find their medical resources overstretched, they tend to choose to save younger patients only and give up on the elderly ones. This is a practice on which we hold reservations. The rights to life and health, the right to subsistence, and the right to development among others are the most fundamental rights. If the government fails to protect these rights, then protecting other rights is just empty words. So, the pandemic has brought to light the falsehood of certain Western countries’ approach to human rights protection.
Host: Do you think that the pandemic will make us rethink and redefine human rights, equality, and liberty?
Yang Xin: Yes, I do. COVID-19willhave huge impact on the world. Some scholars hold that the world is likely to be divided into a pre-COVID world and a post-pandemic world due to the pandemic. This view tells us something about the impact of COVID-19, not only physically but also mentally. Its impact is particularly evident in terms of our way of thinking. Take human rights, liberty, and equality as an example. Certain Western countries believe that their concepts and standards of human rights are irrefutably correct. But the pandemic has shown us that human rights should not only refer to the political sphere but also include the most fundamental rights, such as the rights to life and health, the right to subsistence, and the right to development. If the government fails to protect these rights, protecting the other rights is just empty words. The pandemic has shown the falsehood and one-sidedness of the West on the protection of human rights. 
Host: Will there be any rethinking on liberty and equality?
Yang Xin: Yes, it can be very meaningful. Take liberty for instance. The precondition of liberty is that you should not impair or violate the liberty and rights of other people. If you violate other people’s right to liberty when you exercise your own, your liberty is unjustified and immoral. After the outbreak, we see that in some Western countries, there are people who brush aside the protection policies on the grounds of individual liberty, which has fueled the spread of the disease. People who support such behaviors are irresponsible for themselves and others. We believe that this kind of liberty is immoral and unjustified. 
Host: What about equality? Any new ideas on that?
Yang Xin: On equality, we believe that not only is everyone equal in terms of respecting the law but also everyone is equal in terms of rights. When it comes to the most fundamental human rights, such as the rights to life and health, the right to subsistence, and the right to development, everyone is equal.
Host: That is to say equality is a broad concept and the right to life is its most fundamental element. 
Yang Xin: Right. It is the most fundamental human right. 


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