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“COVID-19 Discrimination” A Blunt Affront To Human Rights
September 22,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
Sept.22,2021 -- China’s strong anti-epidemic measures have not only protected the health and safety of the Chinese people but also contributed to global public health since the virus took the world by surprise. People in different countries have offered selfless assistance and expressed their sympathy for the Chinese people in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, there have been some insulting and discriminatory comments, and even violence targeting China and Chinese communities in some countries. Some wielded terms like “Wuhan virus” and “China virus.” In view of that, Wang Xigen, dean of Law School and head of the Institute for Human Rights Law at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, conducted research and analysis from the perspective of law.
 
Wang Xigen: The novel corona virus spread fast in a short span of time after the first case was discovered in Wuhan, causing great impact on China and beyond. Because of that, some media outlets (including some mainstream media) from a few Western countries discriminatorily called the virus “Wuhan virus” and “China virus.” Some online platforms have also published articles targeting China. Furthermore, out of ignorance or ulterior motives, a small number of Westerners committed crimes against the Chinese people and people of Asian descent, at times causing injuries. What is more, those in power in some Western nations, including political leaders, have made a number of discriminatory remarks about China, including “Wuhan virus” and “China virus.” It is a manifestation of racism and xenophobia regarding the origin of the virus. It gives rise to a new form of discrimination called “COVID-19discrimination.” According to a survey conducted by polling agencies, during the whole year from February and March of last year to March of this year, there occurred more than 3,000 incidents involving discrimination against Asians, especially people of Chinese descent; this is by no means a small number. As far as I am concerned, the impact of these incidents can be analyzed based on two aspects. First, they have hurt Chinese people’s feelings directly by means of insults and slander, trampling on their dignity, and they have treated Chinese people in foreign countries as inferior to other members in the community. Furthermore, they have greatly under mined the image of China within the international community and seriously impaired the dignity of every Chinese as well as the Chinese nation. The second aspect is physical attacks. Many of us have seen reports that some Chinese have been injured or even maimed intentionally in some developed countries, including the United States and some European countries. These incidents should be taken seriously considering that they involve criminal acts that can cause serious harm. Criminal acts are the most serious among all illegal acts because they are a direct violation of people’s rights to diginity and health.
 
Wang Xigen: Despite the fact that Chinese people have been discriminated against abroad, foreigners living in China have been treated with kindness and respect, enjoying the same treatment as Chinese nationals. This is because China sticks to the principles of equality and non-discrimination enshrined in international human rights law. For example, a doctoral candidate from Lebanon has been well-cared for here during the epidemic and has been provided with sufficient food and daily necessities, a comfortable residence, and personal protective equipment. Deeply moved, he has shared stories of fighting COVID-19 with people from all over the world on social media such as Facebook. He has also published his diary this year, which includes what he has seen and experienced during Wuhan’s fight against the epidemic. China upholds the principle of putting people’s lives first, which ensures the priority of two rights: the rights to life and health. That is the reason we have achieved the miracle of winning the fight against the epidemic.
 
Wang Xigen: When people’s lives are in greatest peril in times of concentrated outbreak, it is imperative to prioritize people’s rights to life and health at all costs. We must take strict precautions against corona virus and implement lockdowns during that period, even if it means that necessary sacrifices had to be made. We have to do that to avoid greater danger and to seek greater life, health, and economic benefits in the future. It is a pity that the West did not realize this, and that is why they failed in the anti-virus fight. The secret of our success in human rights protection lies in a good sense of propriety, pace, timing and effective procedures, about which the West doesn’t have a clue.
 

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