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Zhang Wanhong: The Role of culture in international cooperation on COIVD-19
When I was invited, the keyword in my mind is culture. International cooperation is very important, but I also want to focus on the role of culture generally in fighting COVID 19. 
 
1. Culture demission in China’s COVID 19 response 
 
There is a wide respect for expertise, it is widely shared among population, “Jun Zi”. Zhong Nanshan, when he talked about COVID-19, the whole country listened, no other person has that kind of influence at that time, Doctor Zhang Wenhong, is another case, has a big voice, he tells people how to protect themselves from the virus. In US, intellectuals do not have this same level of influence. 
 
People trust political leaders, if the leaders give directives, the whole country will listen, even under quarantine, people follow the order. Technologies are used to contain the virus. People know that government was acting in the best interest of people, it shows the benefits of traditional cultures.
 
Filial piety and other social manners. We respect elderly people. We took such strong measures because the virus is especially dangerous for elder people, in contrast, some countries, let the old die for the herd community. In China and other eastern countries, these values help to minimize the risks.
 
Shared Confucian heritage: China and Beyond. China, Japan, Vietnam, according to my observations, they share the same Confusion heritage, people are aware of the danger of the virus. As Prof. Zhang said, in our community people also help each other.
 
2. Culture as value added. Example: aid from Japan to Hubei, 山川异域,风月同天. As I have discovered, we shared the common cultures, old scholars from Japan could recite old poems from China, later China adopted in a similar approach when giving out aid to Japan, but of course not limited to Japan. We also used verses in materials aid to Italy and other countries. These poems give people lots of comfort. 
 
Online concert, role of fine art in the fight against pandemic. Example: Human Frailty, by Salvator Rose, c1657, his son was killed by the plague, he signed contract with death, symbolizing fragility of life, this painting was circulated among my friends, people realize that flesh is fragile, life is short, but we learn about human and should never stop being noble. David Hockney, “do remember they can’t cancel the spring” (Louisanamuseum). Culture including music and art, helps us develop a common feeling. 
 
3. The culture of HR and International Cooperation of Covid-19. US Former President Barack Obama delivered a virtual commencement address on Saturday, he discussed the problems of US including inequality, racial disparities, lack of basic health care for people who need it. He said injustice is not new, he referred to the killing of a young man in Georgia. We also witness how Asian people are attacked. Example: Korean American artist Cathy Park Hong, painting The Slur I Never Expected to Hear, in 2020, published April 12, 2020 (NY Times). There is no need to stress the importance of HR, under UDHR, Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms”.
 
To conclude, three points: First, traditional culture has played a positive role in protecting people’s right to life, right to health in China. We can’t copy other countries’ models and need to find a new way to protect people’s dignity. Second, countries that share some same cultural backgrounds, like European countries, also the Asian countries like China, Japan Korea which they could collaborate more easily, they are more easily adapted to wearing face masks. Third, art works, music and literature have impacts beyond boundaries of countries. Anti-discrimination is the key, is the cornerstone for international cooperation, we work together not just for ourselves but for others.