Categoria: China and Covid-19

West’s pandemic falsehoods debunked

Global Times, 2020/4/16

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1185819.shtml


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Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, China has worked hard to overcome the peak of the outbreak and people have started to return to work and resume production.

It is the hope of people around the world, who are still at the most difficult stage of their anti-virus war, to receive anti-epidemic assistance. Yet some bizarre accusations against China have arisen. There are suggestions that “China concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak” and “China sees opportunity to expand global influence amid pandemic.” There have also been ridiculously claims for compensation from China. This attempt to cast blame on China is designed to divert attention from their own country’s inept responses to COVID-19. We must recognize these as obfuscations that so regrettably undermine humanity’s efforts to end the pandemic.

The Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China refutes the six types of typical buck-passing remarks in the current situation.

The article is written by Wang Wen, Jia Jinjing, Yang Fanxin, Guan Zhaoyu, Wang Peng, Zhang Mengchen from Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

 

I. Accusing China of concealing coronavirus akin to calling white black

Some Western media and politicians have alleged that China deliberately concealed the number of infections and deaths caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in China. They even claim China shared disinformation that led to their underestimation of the extent of the outbreak and thus delayed their response to the virus.

Such rhetoric is rampant in the West, but in essence it is an attempt to justify the West’s inability to fight the pandemic. China released a report on April 6 on the timeline of the country’s information sharing of the virus, in response to those discredited remarks.

The report shows in detail, how China regularly shared information and its prevention and control measures with the US since January 3. Including 30 exchanges in one month.

Over the past three months, American experts have been invited to China to better understand the situation. There have also been intensive communications, such as summit talks, communication between top diplomats and between the two countries’ public health authorities. During this period, US President Donald Trump also repeatedly praised China’s efforts and expressed gratitude to China.

On April 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a timeline of operations against COVID-19, and the content of the timeline is being continuously updated. According to the timeline, China reported a set of pneumonia cases as early as December 31, 2019, and identified a novel coronavirus. The WHO put itself on an emergency footing to deal with the outbreak on January 1. Many countries and regions have achieved good results under the early warning issued by the UN health agency and China.

According to recent research of Yale University, prevention and control measures, such as a city lockdown, compulsory quarantine, community management, and restricted outdoor activities, implemented in China since late January have greatly reduced the transmission of COVID-19, which was effectively put under control by mid-February. As of February 29, national and provincial level public health measures implemented in China had effectively prevented more than 1.4 million infections and up to 56,000 deaths across the country.

China’s achievements in fighting the virus are obvious to all. The allegations made against China’s handling of the epidemic are themselves an information virus.

 

II. False accusation that China misled the world

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to ferment globally, with Europe and the US being most severely hit.

On April 9, 1,601,302 cases were confirmed globally, with the number of confirmed cases in the US exceeding 460,000; 5.6 times great than in China. The number of infections and deaths in New York City has exceeded those in China. New York’s coronavirus-related death rate is greater in China’s Wuhan. The number of confirmed cases in the EU was more than 650,000, with 54,600 deaths, or 16.4 times more deaths than in China. The death rate in Europe was 8.4 percent, or 2.06 times great than China’s.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed China for offering misleading information. Informed people can clearly see this is an excuse to shirk responsibility for his administration’s inept response to the epidemic. After analyzing Trump’s remarks on COVID-19 from January 22 to today, we found that his statements made at different stages of the outbreak show his transformation from bystander to participant.

The first stage for Trump’s transformation was from January 22 to February 25, when there were very few confirmed cases in the US. At that time, Trump’s tweets said the US was in close contact and cooperation with China, suggesting China was doing a good job.

In the second phase, from February 26 to March 9, the US epidemic began to break out and affected three major stock markets. Trump declared on Twitter that the virus was spreading slowly in the US with a death rate well below 1 percent, and a candidate vaccine was beginning clinical trials.

In the third phase, from March 10 to 14, when the coronavirus began hitting the entire US, Trump’s changed his tone and began calling COVID-19 a “horrible scourge.” Americans were thus advised to reduce nonessential travel and a national emergency was declared. He said the federal government would “unleash the full power” to defeat the virus.

In the fourth phase, from March 15 to March 18, the virus spread rapidly in the US, and Trump’s position changed dramatically. For the first time, he publicly called COVID-19 a “Chinese virus,” and he found himself in hot water.

The fifth phase from March 19 to the present, the outbreak in the US is out of control. Trump begun to blame China, slander China for not informing him of the virus earlier and offering disinformation. He even accused the WHO of siding with China, and moved further to suspend WHO funds.

In addition to Trump’s finger-pointing statements that were contrary to known facts, some senior US officials have also defied facts by accusing China of misleading the world and threatening to hold China accountable for the outbreak. On Saturday, the senior US health official Dr. Anthony Fauci said China had delayed the world’s understanding of the coronavirus when it suggested in January the virus was being transmitted only “from an animal to a human.” He said that after the pandemic, the origins of the misinformation will be investigated.

The Trump administration’s repeated attempts to blame China, redefine the timeline, defend the US stock market and promote his reelection campaign, reflect the fact that in the face of a catastrophe, Trump is more concerned with political issues than saving lives.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded to Trump’s criticism without naming names: “If you don’t want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.” Democratic candidate Joe Biden had this warning that seems more practical than political: “As we prepare to reopen America, we have to remember what this crisis has taught us: The administration’s failure to plan, to prepare, to honestly assess and communicate the threat to the nation led to catastrophic results. We cannot repeat those mistakes.”

III. The ‘China accountable’ fabrication

Claims arguing that “China should be held accountable for the coronavirus pandemic” have been rising in the field of international public opinion.

A mainstream Bolivian newspaper quoted Patricia Janiot, a senior anchor for CNN, in an editorial published on March 29, propagating that China should take the blame for the pandemic, writing off China’s enormous sacrifices and tremendous outcomes in fighting the virus, and neglecting other countries’ improper responses to the outbreak.

The allegation is apparently rife with lies and prejudices. Accusations such as “China had concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak for two months” and “China supplied faulty coronavirus test kits to Spain” are a pure fabrication based on misinformation or hearsay.

The truth is China was the first country to report the coronavirus outbreak and the first to effectively curb the epidemic. The country took decisive measures to curb the spread or the virus and was the first country to release the genetic sequence of the virus and openly shared it with the international community.

As the domestic situation improves, China has begun to offer help to other countries and regions around the world. So far, China has provided assistance to at least 89 countries and four international organizations and has become the world’s largest supplier of medical materials. China’s transparent sharing of data has also contributed greatly to the development of vaccines and drugs in other countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on March 26 at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit called on G20 members to “jointly help developing countries with weak public health systems enhance preparedness and response.”

Many state leaders are also becoming aware that large-scale infectious diseases are one of the major challenges facing humanity in the era of globalization, and to overcome the pandemic, all countries must closely unite rather than blame each other.

Seeing China’s strong leadership in the global fight against the virus, an increasing number of international media outlets have realized that China has indeed been practicing the vision it proposed of building a global community with a shared future for humanity, and has been fulfilling the obligations of a responsible world power.

 

IV. Requesting compensations from China unwarranted

The International Council of Jurists and the All India Bar Association have filed a petition at the UN Human Rights Council, seeking compensation from China over the global pandemic, India’s media reported on April 4.

The complaint accuses China of “surreptitiously developing a biological weapon capable of mass destruction,” and urges China to “adequately compensate international community and member states, particularly India.”

News of similar suits can be found in the US, the UK, Australia and many other parts of the globe. Although different in form, they are in essence the same - requesting China be held accountable for the global spread of the virus. These attention-grabbing headlines are designed to manipulate public opinion, tie the virus to China and discredit the country.

Various organizations and politicians in many countries have acted in concert to ask for an apology and reparation from China, reminding many Chinese of the “Gengzi compensation,” also known as “Boxer Indemnity,” in early1900s, in which several Western states humiliated China by requiring compensation after Eight Nation Alliance invaded China and suppressed the Boxer rebellion.

But a century has passed, and China is no longer what it used to be. In 2020, China no longer needs to worry about foreign invasions, although the public opinion war against China, waged by certain politicians in some countries, is worrisome.

Today’s demands for compensation from China are eerily reminiscent of those of a century ago; both are designed to make the victim pay, and both are filtered through conspiracy theories and rumors.

Many authoritative institutions and the academic community, such as the WHO and Nature, have repeatedly reiterated that where the virus was first reported has no direct relation with where the virus originated. And one can never blame others for the losses caused by their own improper responses to the outbreak.

China has always upheld solidarity and cooperation during a critical time. The unwarranted claims that demands compensation from China are poisonous and misleading. The global fight against the coronavirus is likely to be an arduous protracted fight. All countries should show solidarity and strengthen cooperation instead of complaining or blaming each other.

 

V. ‘Low-quality export’ - bite the hand that feeds

After four months of effort, China’s virus fight has achieved good initial results, while the global pandemic situation is far from positive. In this disaster facing all humans, China has adhered to the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity and has sent medical supplies, including masks, test kits and protective outfits, to 130 countries and four international organizations. In addition, numerous private organizations, social groups and individuals from China have offered assistance to the world by various means.

However, US-led Western countries have refused some of China’s medical supplies and hyped China’s low-quality exports. Traditional media and social media have also hyped this sentiment to the public which urgently needs these supplies.

There have been some exceptional cases caused by the different standards in China and other countries. Some profit-seeking Chinese companies have produced and exported low-quality products, but these have been exposed and halted. China has enhanced its supervision of these exporters and imposed stricter criteria on their products.

Meanwhile, we have noticed there are forces that are attempting to exploit this issue. In the wake of the outbreak, some foreign media and officials have spared no effort denouncing China, and alleging it is responsible for the novel coronavirus. Radio France Internationale (RFL) claimed that China will be far less passive in responding to criticism. The notion quickly spread as Western countries continue to demonize China. Even Josep Borrell, head of EU foreign policy, recently wrote in a blog referring to China that “there is a geopolitical component, including a struggle for influence, through spinning and the politics of generosity.”

Yet the fact is during the initial stage of China’s fight against the virus, it also received substandard supplies from other countries. Of course there are profit-driven companies around the world that have produce low-quality products. The hype against China by foreign media stems from fear of China’s growing strength and a deliberate attempt to meddle in the favorable relations China has with many other countries.

 

VI. Ungrateful ‘mask diplomacy’ accusation

Facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some international public opinion makers have again repaid China’s goodwill with evil intent. Since March, French media including Le Monde and Le Figaro have reported that European leaders and governments should be vigilant of China’s aid during the epidemic fight, and should be wary of China’s so-called widespread publicity of its aid. Some Western media even described China’s foreign medical aids, including face masks, as “mask diplomacy.” They call it China’s “politics of generosity,” accusing China of fighting for geopolitical influence and taking advantage of the difficulties facing others.

This is not new. The international public opinion’s short-sighted slander of China has never ceased. In recent years, Western media reports about China’s economic growth, the Belt and Road Initiative or China’s overseas investment and construction, always seek an imaginary dark side and impugn China’s motives. These reports claim China is attempting to redraw the world map, or planning to exert geopolitical influence or suggest China is embarking on an aggressive diplomatic path. This type of reporting exacerbates the anxiety of neighboring Asians countries, the US and other countries.

Looking back at the Chinese history, the world can see that China spread its technology of papermaking, movable type printing, gunpowder and the compass to other countries and greatly promoted the progress of human civilization. China has made transformative explorations in the fields of science, including astronomy, geography, medicine, mathematics, agronomy. China made inventions in textiles, cooking, clothing, food, construction, shipping and other areas that are closely related to daily life today. China’s brilliant achievements in astronomical instruments, musical instruments, metallurgy, water conservancy and other technological fields made tremendous contributions to human civilization and provided important material support for the West’s Age of Discovery.

The Chinese civilization has developed over the last 5,000 years, and the very idea of human development is based on the thousands of years of human civilization. Under the impact of the pandemic, China has upheld the vision of building a global community with a shared future. China was the first to mount a national fight against the epidemic, during which it actively supported other countries. Yet, ill-intentioned Westerners maliciously continue to point a finger and blame China. This is worrying. In the past, people all over the world appreciated each other’s contributions to human civilization. Today, why are these people treating China’s support and contributions in a narrow-minded way? It is regrettable to see people in power in the West who care more about private interests than saving lives.


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Did China hide the number of Coronavirus victims? Fake.

Francesco Galofaro, University of Turin

2020 April 13th

This article in English adapts and updates the article published in Italian on April 7, 2020 with the title “La Cina ha nascosto il numero delle vittime? Falso. Ecco perché”.


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Since this epidemic began, the number of unfounded accusations and insinuations against China has multiplied each day. For example, on March 30thPierre Haski wrote an article for France Inter, accusing China to hide the real number of the Coronavirus victims. Haski refers to the number of funeral urns sold in Wuhan, which would be almost double the declared dead. He also mentions a brave doctor who mysteriously disappeared after reporting the matter. Haski is not an epidemiologist, but he accuses the World Health Organization of poor supervision. The motivation provided by the author is clearly ideological: “In a context like the present one, in which Beijing builds on its successes to boast the merits of its political system, greater transparency would be indispensable”[i]. In short: we are in the middle of the cold war.

 

Is Haski right?

One day before Haski, on March 29th, the Italian economic newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore had already published an article on the same subject, writing that the urns-based argumentassumes that Qingming, the day of the dead, is celebrated in China on April 4. “And that for that date the Wuhan funeral homes would like to deliver all the urns to their relatives, at a rate of 3500 urns per day from 23 March. The calculations are correct, but the basic thesis is false. Because in Wuhan, this year, the Qingming celebrations are prohibited by a provision signed by the local government on March 26th. Any tomb sweeping day is suspended until April 30th. […] In short, the link between daily ballot boxes and the deadline for Qingming does not exist”[ii].

As Il sole 24 ore points out, the thesis of the ballot box was propelled by Radio Free Asia, a Washington-based broadcaster, and is false.In short: Haski’s article presents a false argument; this argument has beenalready contradicted; this argument is not based on epidemiology; Haski does not quote his source; Haski does not know whether the “brave doctor” who accused Chinese government disappeared or not, he simply trusts Radio Free Asia; he charges China of conspiracy. All these features allow us to categorize the article as a classic fake news.

How to recognize fake news

I apologize for using the term fakenews. “Fake” is just the label that some propaganda attaches to the news of the opposing propaganda.It is a showdown whose stakes is the power to decide what’s true. Official media often accuse social networks to spread fake news, while claiming the monopoly of correct and verified information. This is obviously not the case, since the article published by France Inter has all the characteristics of a fake:

  • the author is not a scientist;
  • he criticizes official science;
  • he does not acknowledge sources;
  • he does not propose scientific arguments or data;

These arguments spread rapidly, since they instil fear and rage, thus bypassing critical sense; on the contrary, medical research is technical, difficult to understand, has to be controlled through a very long process of peer-review, and to be “translated” into common language by science communicators.

Why would western countries accuse China?

The problem that this kind of articles faces is the following: why is the spread of the virus higher in some western countries than it is in China?In the US the active cases are 493650 while the deathsare 22109; in Hubei, China, the active cases are 83135, the deaths are 3219 (I am writing on April 13th). Do the numbers prove the superiority of the communist system onwestern one? This doubt is inadmissible: China must have rigged the data.

 

A scientific counterargument

According to a scientific interpretation of the data proposed by Italian researchers and scientist of the University La Sapienza, the difference between China and western countries is the speed of the countermeasures: “The beginning of the epidemic had the exact same number of infections in China, Italy and other countries.The difference is that China blocked Wuhan and the whole Hubei region 8 days before Italy, quickly and severely”. This happens because the contagion curve is exponential. For example, let us say that China started fighting the epidemic on day one, when 4000 people were infected. This means that Italy started on day 8, when the epidemy had reached 512000 people (4 - 8 - 16 - 32 - 64 - 128 - 256 - 512 ...). In short: the Chinese moved faster and better.This is why Italian researchers promoted an open letter to the governments warning them to be timely in adopting the necessary isolation measures[iii].

Adverse effect of propaganda

What if anti-Chinese bias had affected western readiness to fight the virus? For example, on January 24th James Hamblin published an article on the Atlantic[iv], titled “A Historic Quarantine: China’s attempt to curb a viral outbreak is a radical experiment in authoritarian medicine”. Ironically, the editor added a note before the text: “Information about the novel coronavirus is rapidly changing. As a result, some of the information or advice in this article may be out-of-date”. Hamblin wrote:

  1. The moderately virulent nature of the pathogen seems at odds with the fact that the largest quarantine in human history is now taking place in an authoritarian state;
  2. International agreements were put in place to limit the practice as a matter of justice, because of the burden it placed on people and economies, in addition to basic questions of effectiveness;
  3. In China, given the advanced spread of the outbreak (…) some experts believe any window for effective containment has passed;
  4. China has a political stake in the appearance of an authoritative response;
  5. In the U.S., the constitutional basis for quarantining is somewhere between tenuous and non-existent (…). A massive imposition like China’s would be unconstitutional, according to James Hodge, a health-law professor at Arizona State, who noted the likelihood of human-rights violation in such a scenario;

It is possible that an ideological bias let western countries and governments underestimate the real danger, interpreting China’s behaviour as an effect of his form of government and asa form of propaganda.

 

Medical science in the crosshairs

All Hamblin’s insinuations have proven to be unfounded: China’s answer to the virus was adequate and justified, quarantine just works, burdens on people and economy sometimes are necessary and cannot be considered a human-rights violation. Above all, the virulent nature of the pathogen was not “moderate” at all. In the present case, rational expectations toward governments imply to cooperate, and to share medical research. Western and Eastern scientists and researchers are working together: a glance at Google Scholar reveals how Chinese studies are published in such prestigious scientific journals as The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature, matching their quality criteria.

Unfortunately, American government decided otherwise, blaming WHO organization and menacing to cut off funds in the midst of a pandemic[v]. Having lost the propaganda match, the US decided to shoot on the referee, putting in danger humankind. Furthermore, CNN insinuated that Chinese medical research is not free, basing on central government directive and online notices, that have since been removed from the web. CNN interviews an anonymous researcher who concludes: “I think the importance is that the international scientific community must realize that any journal or manuscripts from a Chinese research institution has kind of been double-checked by the government.It is important for them to know there are extra steps between independent scientific research and final publication”. Once again:

  • None of the authorsis a scientist;
  • The article criticizes official science;
  • The article does not acknowledge sources – they disappeared; the interviewed researcher requested anonymity;
  • The article does not propose scientific arguments or data;

In other terms: it is a fake news.

Collateral damage of propaganda

As we saw, an anti-Chinese bias let early articles on Coronavirus represent lockdownas a political, scientifically unjustifiedchoice, mainlybecausethe virus was considered harmless.Science and data proved China to be right; thus,new articles try to delegitimatescientificauthorities and research. According to Umberto Eco[vi], the semantic space (the space of the meaning) of every debate is contradictory: A distinctive feature of ideological asserts is to hide these contradictions, opposing simplistic and one-sided interpretations to difficult political choices, denying the very possibility of different interpretations. This seems a good criterion for identifyingideological fake news.Scientists, intellectuals, and journalists should make every effort to foster mutual understanding, and to open a new era of cooperation with China. In the situation of extreme difficulty of the world, we can only hope thatthispropaganda willnot cost too muchin termsof delay in responding to the epidemic,adverse economic consequences, and victims.

[i]https://www.franceinter.fr/emissions/geopolitique/geopolitique-30-mars-2020 retrieved on April 13th(our translation).

[ii]https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/coronavirus-cina-ha-mentito-numeri-ma-wuhan-non-sono-morte-42mila-persone-ADPepmG?refresh_ce=1 retrieved on April 13th(our translation).

[iii]https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E5AOOKQrFrhNtl5au1N5FCBqKmJiRtwwUjXIBT2vMSc/edit?usp=sharing

[iv]https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/01/china-quarantine-coronavirus/605455/ retrieved on April 13th.

[v]https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-trump-world-health-organization-funding-reforms/ retrieved on April 13th.

[vi] Umberto Eco, A Theory of Semiotics, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1976.


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China’s global response to Covid-19

Press conference on March 25, 2020 held by Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/t1761102.shtml

 


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“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China has always argued that the international community should jointly safeguard an open world economy, and ensure the stability of the global supply chain”. This was said by the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Geng Shuang, at a press conference on March 25. Geng added: “As we continue to meet domestic demand, we are facilitating the supply of medical supplies to all countries through trade channels. “In our era of globalization, the interests of all countries are closely interrelated, with increased interdependence. The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and business decisions. Some people on the American side are trying to artificially cut global industrial and supply chains, or even demand their ‘dissociation’ and ‘displacement’, which goes against the trend of our times and the laws of economics. This attitude is irrational and unrealistic. In the face of the epidemic, such behaviour will not solve the problems facing the United States, but will damage the interests of US companies and the American people”. China, Geng said, “has no restrictions on foreign trade” and “supports and encourages Chinese companies to expand exports in an orderly manner. “In addition to facilitating trade procurement, China has also provided WHO with protective equipment to help other countries in the epidemic response”.

 

According to the latest figures from the NHC, March 24 saw 491 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China’s mainland, bringing the tally to 73,650.

To help Italy fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has decided to send the third team of medical experts to Italy. The team, organized by the National Health Commission, consists of experts selected by the Fujian Provincial Health Commission. The team left for Italy at noon on March 25.

CCTV: It is announced today that President Xi Jinping will attend the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19. What is China’s expectation for the meeting? What are the initiatives and proposals that China will put forward this time?

Geng Shuang: Currently, Covid-19 is engulfing many parts of the world, endangering the life and health of people in all countries and hitting the world economy pretty hard. The international community expects all parties to work together to combat the pandemic and stabilize the global economy. The G20 is a premier platform for global crisis response and economic cooperation. It played an important role in responding to the 2008 international financial crisis, and the international community looks to the G20 once again for leadership at this critical moment. This virtual summit, the first in the G20 history, presents an important opportunity for world leaders to discuss joint actions.

The virtual summit will be the first major multilateral event that President Xi Jinping attends after the outbreak. Under the direct leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has achieved notable results in the pandemic prevention and control and is now actively supporting other countries in their battles against the pandemic, which has been highly praised by the international community. China expects that this virtual summit will deliver positive messages of pooling consensus and taking actions to strengthen solidarity, work together to counter the pandemic and stabilize economy.

China is ready to work with G20 members for practical outcomes of this summit.

 

China News Service: You mentioned that the Chinese government is ready to facilitate the commercial procurement of medical supplies by foreign countries from China. Could you give us more details?

 

Geng Shuang: since the outbreak of Covid-19, China has always maintained that the international community should jointly safeguard an open world economy and ensure the stability of global supply chains and industrial chains. At present, while meeting the domestic demand, we are trying to facilitate the procurement of medical supplies through commercial channels by all countries. We have no restrictions on foreign trade, and we support and encourage enterprises to expand exports in an orderly manner.

As far as I know, buyers from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Djibouti, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the UK have signed purchasing contracts with China companies for goods like testing reagents, masks, protective suits and goggles.

In addition to facilitating commercial procurement, China has also provided supplies of protective equipment to the WHO in support of other countries’ epidemic response. After the WHO expressed its wish to buy medical supplies from China to support global anti-epidemic response, Chinese enterprises quickly signed the first batch of supply contracts with the WHO.

I am confident that China’s business community will continue to provide more of such supplies to the international community, and the resumption of work and production and China’s economic development will continue to provide stronger support for the international community’s response to the pandemic. I also believe that it is in the common interests of the international community to make cooperation strong, barriers low and trade unfettered.

RIA Novosti: First, you announced that China sent the third expert team to Italy. How many are on this team? Second, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee confirmed in their statement the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games but no later than the summer of 2021. Do you have any comment?

Geng Shuang: Regarding your first question, I don’t have that specific number at hand but I will come back to you once I have it.

As to the second question, the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games shows the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Japanese government and Tokyo Organizing Committee’s responsible attitude towards the health and safety of athletes, participants and all mankind. It also manifests the IOC’s commitment to the Olympic Movement. China respects this decision and will continue supporting Japan in hosting the Tokyo Games.

Phoenix TV: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview yesterday talked about moving medical equipment supply chain back to the US from China and elsewhere. President Trump also stressed in a daily briefing on coronavirus that the US should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of its own survival. US media reported that the US is preparing an executive order to relocate the supply chain of enterprises. Do you have any comment?

Geng Shuang: I have taken several similar questions recently and I just want to reiterate our position on this issue.

In an era of globalization, the interests of all countries are closely intertwined. The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and companies’ choices. As such, it is unrealistic and insensible to try to sever them or even trumpet “shifting” or “decoupling” theories as they run counter to economic law. In the face of the pandemic, such practice will not help solve problems at home. It will only harm the interests of US businesses and people.

China is a leading manufacturer as well as a major producer and exporter of epidemic-related and medical supplies. As the situation is getting better at home, China is gradually resuming its normal socio-economic order. We are providing support to the steady operation of global industrial and supply chains by accelerating resumption of work and production. Chinese businesses are speeding up manufacturing of urgently needed medical supplies for the world. China has pledged assistance to 82 countries, WHO and African Union, and facilitated commercial procurement in China for countries in need, like I said earlier. Our responsible practice has been well recognized by the international community.

To sum up, I want to stress that no country can face the pandemic by going it alone. It’s time for solidarity and cooperation rather than division and decoupling.

Beijing Youth Daily: China released information on several video conferences on Covid-19 recently. Could you give us a number of such meetings? Will there be more?

Geng Shuang: After the outbreak of Covid-19, China has been fighting it with all-out efforts. The most comprehensive, stringent and thorough measures taken have produced positive effects. Thanks to the Chinese people’s arduous efforts, the situation at home keeps trending for the better. China has made tremendous sacrifice in this battle and its efforts are an important contribution to the world as they bought precious time for other countries. We have also gathered valuable experience in this process.

With the pandemic breaking out and spreading in many places across the globe, China, with the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and a responsible attitude towards global public health security and people’s well-being, has been sharing its experience through communication, coordination and cooperation with relevant countries and regional organizations in an open and transparent manner.

As of today, incomplete statistics show that China has held about 20 video conferences for experts with more than 100 countries in Northeast Asia, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Pacific as well as international organizations including ASEAN, the EU, the AU, the SCO and the Caribbean Community. The latest conference was held yesterday with over 200 specialists and officials from Nicaragua and 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries having diplomatic ties with China. Exchange through this mechanism has helped countries across the globe.

The Chinese side shared via video link what we have learned about Covid-19, including epidemiological features, prevention and control strategies, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and tracing of close contacts, and offered suggestions to foreign counterparts. Participants all expressed thanks to China and spoke highly of the open, transparent, information-rich and professional meetings, where Chinese experts shared everything within their knowledge that their foreign counterparts can learn from.

As we speak, China is still receiving requests for such conferences from many countries. Competent departments are doing all they can to coordinate arrangements. We will continue close communication and exchange with other parties through video link to help developing countries enhance capacity-building and mount a concerted response to the pandemic for regional and global public health security.

Besides these conferences, China has also released the seventh version of its diagnosis and treatment protocol and sixth of prevention and control protocol. They are a collection of combat experience gathered over the course of more than two months. They represent the wisdom and hard work of tens of thousands of frontline medical personnel in China. With the protocols translated into many foreign languages, we are sharing them with WHO and the international community.

The video conferences and diagnosis and treatment protocols are both examples of how China is contributing to the global response through technical assistance and public goods.

I want to stress that large-scale infectious diseases are major unconventional security threats to mankind. The virus is a common scourge facing all. With our future linked together, countries can only overcome the challenge by standing in solidarity. China will stay committed to the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, work together with other countries to defeat the virus through mutual assistance, and contribute our wisdom, experience and prescription to the international community.

Bloomberg News: We are wondering if you had any comment on President Trump’s decision to stop using the term “Chinese virus”?

Geng Shuang: China has made clear its stance on the origin of the virus. We firmly oppose stigmatization on China. This stance has not changed.

The virus knows no borders and ethnicity. It can only be defeated by the concerted efforts of all mankind. Covid-19 has taken footholds and is rapidly spreading in many parts of the world. We hope that the US will work with China and the larger international community to jointly fight against the pandemic and safeguard the global public health security.

[…]

Reuters: On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Pompeo said China is still denying the world information it needs to prevent further cases of the coronavirus. What’s your response to this?

 

Geng Shuang: In recent press conferences, we have repeatedly responded to the US accusations. At a press conference last week, I also detailed how China has kept the US updated on the epidemic by retracing the timeline.

China has always shared information, stayed in communication and cooperated with WHO and countries and regions including the US in an open, transparent and responsible manner, which has been widely praised by the international community.

We urge the US to respect facts and the international public opinion, stop politicizing the pandemic and discrediting China, and focus on getting its own house in order and stemming the spread of the pandemic in its country.


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Xi Jinping: Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak

Full text of Xi’s remarks at Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-26, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-03/26/c_138920685.htm


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From day one of our fight against the outbreak, we have put people’s life and health first. […] What we fought was a people’s war against the outbreak. […] We must comprehensively step up international cooperation and foster greater synergy so that humanity as one could win the battle against such a major infectious disease. […] G20 members need to jointly help developing countries with weak public health systems enhance preparedness and response. […] Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to share our good practices, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and provide assistance where we can to countries hit by the growing outbreak. […] We will continue to advance reform and opening-up, widen market access, improve the business environment, and expand imports and outbound investment to contribute to a stable world economy.

 

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday delivered a speech titled “Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak” at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit via video link in Beijing.

The following is an English translation of the full text of the speech:

Working Together to Defeat the COVID-19 Outbreak

Remarks by H.E. Xi Jinping

President of the People’s Republic of China

At the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit

Beijing, 26 March 2020

Your Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,

Dear Colleagues,

It is good to join you. Let me begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to His Majesty King Salman and Saudi Arabia for having done tremendous work of communication and coordination to make this summit possible.

Facing the COVID-19 outbreak that caught us all by surprise, the Chinese government and Chinese people have been undaunted as we took on this formidable task. From day one of our fight against the outbreak, we have put people’s life and health first. We have acted according to the overall principle of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, ensuring science-based control and treatment and imposing targeted measures. We have mobilized the whole nation, set up collective control and treatment mechanisms and acted with openness and transparency. What we fought was a people’s war against the outbreak. We have put up a strenuous struggle and made tremendous sacrifices. Now the situation in China is moving steadily in a positive direction. Life and work are quickly returning to normal. Yet, there is no way we will lower our guard or relax control.

At the most difficult moment in our fight against the outbreak, China received assistance and help from a lot of members of the global community. Such expressions of friendship will always be remembered and cherished by the Chinese people.

Major infectious disease is the enemy of all. As we speak, the COVID-19 outbreak is spreading worldwide, posing enormous threat to life and health and bringing formidable challenge to global public health security. The situation is disturbing and unsettling. At such a moment, it is imperative for the international community to strengthen confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response. We must comprehensively step up international cooperation and foster greater synergy so that humanity as one could win the battle against such a major infectious disease.

For that to happen, I would like to put forth four proposals.

First, we need to be resolute in fighting an all-out global war against the COVID-19 outbreak. The community of nations must move swiftly to stem the spread of the virus. In this regard, I propose that a G20 health ministers’ meeting be convened as quick as possible to improve information sharing, strengthen cooperation on drugs, vaccines and epidemic control, and cut off cross-border infections. G20 members need to jointly help developing countries with weak public health systems enhance preparedness and response. I propose a G20 COVID-19 assistance initiative for better information sharing and policy and action coordination with the support of the World Health Organization. Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to share our good practices, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and provide assistance where we can to countries hit by the growing outbreak.

Second, we need to make a collective response for control and treatment at the international level. This is a virus that respects no borders. The outbreak we are battling is our common enemy. All must work together to build a strongest global network of control and treatment that the world has ever seen. China has set up its online COVID-19 knowledge center that is open to all countries. It is imperative that countries pool their strengths and speed up research and development of drugs, vaccines and testing capabilities in the hope to achieve early breakthrough to the benefit of all. Discussions are also needed regarding the establishment of regional emergency liaison mechanisms to enable quicker response to public health emergencies.

Third, we need to support international organizations in playing their active roles. China supports WHO in leading the global efforts to develop science-based and proper control and treatment and minimize cross-border spread. I call on G20 members to enhance anti-epidemic information sharing with the support of WHO and to promote control and treatment protocols that are comprehensive, systematic and effective. The G20 platform for communication and coordination may be used to increase policy dialogue and exchange, and a high-level meeting on international public health security may be convened in due course. For China, we will be happy to join other countries and scale up support for relevant international and regional organizations.

Fourth, we need to enhance international macro-economic policy coordination. The outbreak has disrupted production and demand across the globe. Countries need to leverage and coordinate their macro policies to counteract the negative impact and prevent the world economy from falling into recession. We need to implement strong and effective fiscal and monetary policies to keep our exchange rates basically stable. We need to better coordinate financial regulation to keep global financial markets stable. We need to jointly keep the global industrial and supply chains stable. What China will do in this regard is to increase its supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients, daily necessities, and anti-epidemic and other supplies to the international market. What’s more, we also need to protect women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, and provide for people’s basic needs. China will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy. We will continue to advance reform and opening-up, widen market access, improve the business environment, and expand imports and outbound investment to contribute to a stable world economy.

I want to call on all G20 members to take collective actions - cutting tariffs, removing barriers, and facilitating the unfettered flow of trade. Together, we can send a strong signal and restore confidence for global economic recovery. The G20 needs to draw up an action plan and promptly set up communication mechanisms and institutional arrangements for anti-epidemic macro policy coordination.

Dear Colleagues,

Now is a crucial moment, a time for us to rise up to challenge and act with swiftness. I am convinced that through solidarity and mutual assistance, we will prevail over this outbreak and we all will embrace a brighter future for mankind!

Thank you.


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Full text of joint open letter from world political parties concerning closer international cooperation against Covid-19

We are aware that the virus respects no borders, and no country can respond to the challenges alone in the face of the outbreak. Countries must enhance their consciousness of a community with a shared future for mankind, proactively rendering mutual help and support to one another as the situation becomes more difficult.

We call on all countries to put the lives, safety and health of the people above everything else and take resolute and forceful measures to put an end to the spread of Covid-19.

We call on the provision of material, technical and other support to developing countries and countries with vulnerable public health systems. Let the sunlight of cooperation disperse the darkness of the pandemic.

We call on all countries to step up the international coordination of macroeconomic policies to maintain stability of global financial market as well as that of industrial and supply chains, and to reduce or exempt tariffs for trade facilitation so as to prevent world economic recession.

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Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-02 19:23:29|Editor: huaxia http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-04/02/c_138941592.htm

BEIJING, April 2 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of China and more than 230 political parties from over 100 countries issued a joint open letter Thursday, calling for carrying out closer international cooperation to beat Covid-19.

This is the first joint appeal of major world political parties for strengthening international cooperation since the Covid-19 outbreak.

The following is the full text of the joint open letter.

A JOINT OPEN LETTER FROM WORLD POLITICAL PARTIES CONCERNING CLOSER INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGAINST Covid-19

Today, as Covid-19 is spreading rapidly across the globe, it constitutes the most urgent and serious challenge to both the health of the humanity and world peace and development.

Faced with this unprecedented situation, we, major political parties of various countries tasked with the weighty responsibility of improving people’s wellbeing, promoting national development and safeguarding world peace and stability, hereby issue our joint appeal as follows:

I. We pay our loftiest tribute to all the people, health workers in particular, who devote themselves to saving lives and protecting people’s health. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and solicitude to those who are suffering from pain and whose lives are under the threat of Covid-19 as well as the bereaved families of those deceased. We also express our deep mourning for the unfortunate loss of lives in the outbreak.

II. We recognise that if the Covid-19 outbreak is not effectively and promptly contained, it will inflict even greater harm to the lives, safety and health of many more people, and exert a severe impact on the economic and social development of most countries as well as on international exchanges and cooperation. We call on all countries to put the lives, safety and health of the people above everything else and take resolute and forceful measures to put an end to the spread of Covid-19.

III. We support countries to put in place contingency plans and strategies for combating Covid-19 in light of their specific national conditions and to strengthen cooperation, with equal emphasis on containing the further spread and on patient treatment. Meanwhile, modern science and technology must be applied to the full to ensure the quickest and best possible results.

IV. We call on the general public of all countries to comply with prevention and mitigation measures with a due sense of social responsibility. We encourage countries to fully leverage the strength of civil society organisations and volunteers with a view to unleashing the power of all social sectors to combat Covid-19.

V. We encourage all countries, while devoting efforts to epidemic control, to adopt an integrated approach to ensure economic and social development, take targeted measures to protect vulnerable groups and the SMEs, and honour their commitment to people’s living standards and social progress. We call on all countries to step up the international coordination of macroeconomic policies to maintain stability of global financial market as well as that of industrial and supply chains, and to reduce or exempt tariffs for trade facilitation so as to prevent world economic recession. Countries are also encouraged to maintain an appropriate level of international exchanges, in particular to facilitate the cross-border transportation of urgently needed medical equipment and protective materials for the fight against Covid-19.

VI. We are aware that the virus respects no borders, and no country can respond to the challenges alone in the face of the outbreak. Countries must enhance their consciousness of a community with a shared future for mankind, proactively rendering mutual help and support to one another as the situation becomes more difficult. Closer international cooperation, coordinated policies, concerted actions, and mobilisation of resources and forces globally will enable us to defeat this virus, a common enemy to all of humanity.

VII. We take note of the significant progress in the fight against Covid-19 in China and some other countries, which has bought time and offered experience to the rest of the international community. We highly commend countries including China for adopting an open, transparent and responsible attitude to disclosing related information in a timely fashion, sharing experience on response and patient treatment, and in particular providing medical and other supplies to the best of their ability to other affected countries. These represent a major contribution to the global fight against Covid-19, boosting the hope and confidence of countries that they can win this battle.

VIII. We welcome the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit Statement on Covid-19 and support countries to strengthen the sharing of experience and medical cooperation in containing the outbreak, including joint research and development of specific medicines, vaccines and tests. We call on the provision of material, technical and other support to developing countries and countries with vulnerable public health systems. Let the sunlight of cooperation disperse the darkness of the pandemic.

IX. We call for science-based professional discussions on issues like prevention measures and the origin of the virus. We strongly oppose the politicization of public health issues and the stigmatisation of other countries under the excuse of Covid-19. We stand firmly against all discriminatory comments and practices against any country, region or ethnic group, and call on governments of all countries to take proactive measures to protect the health, safety and legitimate interests of foreign nationals and students they host.

X. We are of the view that the Covid-19 outbreak has laid bare the need for all countries to further foster the global governance outlook of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration and to support the leading role of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation in global public health governance. We call for all parties to enhance coordination and cooperation within the framework of the G20 and other international mechanisms for effective international prevention and control as we strive to build a global community with a shared future for public health.

As major political parties from countries of the world, we undertake to maintain close communication under the unusual circumstances, and ensure better performance of the due role of political guidance for the purpose of injecting political energy into the global fight against Covid-19. We firmly believe that our current difficulties are only temporary, just as the sunlight shall eventually shine after each storm. If the international community makes concerted efforts with confidence and resolve and takes a science-based and targeted approach, it will definitely win the final victory in the all-out global war against Covid-19. It is our belief that, after the pandemic, the community with a shared future for mankind will emerge stronger and humanity will embrace a brighter tomorrow.


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WSRC letter and MarxVentuno’s reply

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Letter from the Editorial Department of "World Socialism Studies" to the editorial staff of MarxVentuno

COVID-19 is a natural disaster, but the capitalist system not only cannot cope with such natural disasters but also is still making man-made disasters

This epidemic will profoundly change the world order, and will have impact on, and change,  people’s mind as well.

We are warriors with a shared Marxist belief and are committed to building socialism. We wish to strengthen our communication so that we will be able to shoulder the historical responsibilities and obligations entrusted to us by the times and the people and we will be able to work together to address these social problems. The people of the world will surely stamp out this epidemic. And our final goal, the International, is sure to come true.

Dear comrades and friends of the Editorial Office of Marx Ventuno Edizioni

As countries around the world are suffering from COVID-19, we sincerely wish you and your families good health and we would also like to express our highest respect for all the productive work you have done.

When the British government officially announced lockdown measures in London on March 20th, British journalist Ed Conway commented: “Normal life as we know it has been suspended in the UK. Capitalism as we know it has been suspended in the UK. What an extraordinary moment”. In fact, not only the UK but also other countries, Europe, the United States and even the whole capitalist world have taken measures similar to the UK in dealing with the epidemic and have suspended capitalism for the time being. All this shows that COVID-19 is a natural disaster, but the capitalist system not only cannot cope with such natural disasters but also is still making man-made disasters, therefore, even the staunchest supporters of capitalism have to “suspend capitalism”.

COVID-19 is a disaster for mankind, a disaster with no winners. However, it is this epidemic, this disaster, that is forcing people in the whole world to reflect deeply on the capitalist system. Just as the Black Death ravaging Europe in the Middle Ages greatly impacted on people’s faith in the Church, capitalism superstition will surely be subverted by this epidemic today, and the capitalist system may be knocked off the pedestal. In contrast, people will certainly start to observe more inclusively and positively, understand and accept socialism and the community of human destiny.

We believe that this epidemic will profoundly change the world order, and will have impact on, and change, people’s mind as well.

Dear comrades, we are warriors with a shared Marxist belief and are committed to building socialism. We wish to strengthen our communication so that we will be able to shoulder the historical responsibilities and obligations entrusted to us by the times and the people and we will be able to work together to address these social problems.

The people of the world will surely stamp out this epidemic. And our final goal, the International, is sure to come true.

The Editorial Department of World Socialism Studies

Beijing, 2 April 2020

***

Reply of MarxVentuno editorial staff to the letter of the Editorial Department of "World Socialism Studies"

 

The commitment of the Chinese Communists to foster critical awareness of capitalism and aspiration to socialism among the peoples of the world is extremely important.
The PRC was able to contain and isolate the epidemic thanks to the full active, disciplined, conscious adherence of a population of one billion and 400 million people to the directives of the Chinese government. Without this very strong bond – of mind and heart, reason and passion – between leaders and people, between the Chinese Communist Party and the masses, the virus could not have been contained. Far from being a “dictatorship” that imposed its diktats on the population – as some Western media have often said, unfortunately also in Italy – it was one of the brightest affirmations of Chinese socialist democracy.
We have found ourselves faced with two opposing world trends: on the one hand, the primacy of people’s life and health; on the other, the primacy of capitalist profit in contempt of human life. On the one hand, solidarity among peoples according to that conception of a community of shared destiny for all humanity that the Chinese Communists are widely developing and elaborating; on the other hand, closure in a narrow and petty nationalism that thinks it is acceptable to build one’s own fortunes to the detriment of other peoples.
The position of the PRC is politically, culturally and morally the right one at this time. It can concretely foster a great change of mentality for billions of people, it can bring them closer to the ideals of socialism. It is of great help to the common cause of socialism.
We feel committed to promote knowledge and study of Chinese strategy in our country. Aware of the great political and cultural contribution that the Chinese Communists give us today, we will intensify mutual exchanges and the translation and publication of articles and books on Chinese socialism.

 

Dear comrades and friends of the Editorial Department of World Socialism Studies

We are honoured and happy to receive your warm message, which is not simply kind and courteous, but has great human and political significance for us and for all the peoples of the world.

We fully agree with the historical and political essence of your message: the Covid-19 epidemic tragically throws light on the limits of the capitalist system which puts profit before people’s lives and health.

In our country, Italy, the great conquest of the National Health Service, achieved in 1978 thanks to the struggles of workers, trade unions, the Italian Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the democratic and progressive forces, has been increasingly mutilated in the thirty years following 1989-91, when the fall of the USSR and of the European socialist camp favoured the full affirmation in the West of the most unbridled political forces of capitalism and imperialism. Public health conditions worsened from year to year, hundreds of public hospitals were closed, beds, doctors and all the staff of nurses and health workers in the public sector were significantly reduced, while private healthcare was largely favoured. See, in particular, the case of the richest and most populous region of Italy, Lombardy, with its capital Milan, the region that today is suffering the greatest number of infections and deaths from Covid-19.

We find a similar situation in other European capitalist countries such as the United Kingdom, which in the thirty years after the war – under pressure by the Labour and Social Democratic parties – had also established its own welfare state. The emergence of a harder capitalism in the form of neo-liberalism has resulted in severe cuts in public health, public schools and universities, significantly worsening the condition of the population. Covid-19 hits harder and claims more victims where the public health system is weak and underdeveloped. In the key country of world imperialism, the USA, where the capitalist class managed, since the early years of the 20th century, to crush the workers’ movement and assert a violently anti-communist ideology, a public health system has never been built. Today the American population is paying a very high price to the epidemic and the US has climbed to the top of the world’s infamous ranking of the number of people infected and killed by Covid-19. A bitter record for President Trump, who has made the slogan “America first” the compass of his domestic and foreign policy.

Comrades and friends of the World Socialism Centre

We fully agree with the perspective you show. You take a good look at the turning point in world history that the Covid-19 pandemic entails. This pandemic, with the measures taken to contain it, with the temporary but radical change in the lifestyle and way of life of billions of people forced to remain in physical isolation for a few months, with almost total blockage of production and commercial activities, travel and transport, can lead to profound and rapid changes in the consciousness of the masses. As a great master of socialism, Vladimir Lenin, taught us that there are moments and situations in history in which the conscience of the masses can change in a very short period of time, as it could not happen in the previous decades in which it had remained asleep. In our country we had a similar experience in 1943, when a generation of young people who had been educated under Fascism became aware of the disaster into which the latter had brought the country and decided to join the partisan formations to fight in the anti-fascist and anti-Nazi Resistance. Today the Covid-19 may prove to be the detonator of a critical mass awareness of capitalism and incline people towards socialism.

But, as for the Italian youth educated under fascism, the active presence of anti-fascist political avant-gardes – the Communist Party in the first place – was decisive for its conversion to anti-fascism and Resistance, so, to favour an anti-capitalist and pro-Socialist awareness, the active and militant presence of the communists and the forces of socialist inspiration throughout the world is necessary.

That is why we consider your message to be of the highest value.

Your World Socialism Centre Study, with your magazine, your constant activity, the annual forums that you organize in the autumn with the presence of hundreds of scholars from all over the world on the prospects for world socialism, are an integral and organic part of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics under the guidance of the CPC, the largest Communist Party in the world, whose 100th anniversary next year we will celebrate. The commitment of the Chinese Communists to foster critical awareness of capitalism and aspiration to socialism among the peoples of the world is extremely important.

This contribution is made not only by relevant and challenging statements in world forums, congresses, academies and study centers. This contribution is made with concrete facts, the most recent and relevant of which has been the ability demonstrated by the PRC, by socialism with Chinese characteristics, by the CPC, to be able to contain and isolate the epidemic, thanks to the full active, disciplined, conscious adherence of a population of one billion and 400 million people to the directives of the Chinese government which required it to endure enormous personal, social, economic sacrifices to contain the aggression of the virus. Without this very strong bond – of mind and heart, reason and passion – between leaders and people, between the Chinese Communist Party and the masses, the virus could not have been contained. Far from being a “dictatorship” that imposed its diktats on the population – as some Western media have often said, unfortunately also in Italy – it was one of the brightest affirmations of Chinese socialist democracy. Not external coercion, the repression of a “dictatorship”, but the active and conscious participation of an entire people united in the struggle to contain the Covid-19, was the keystone of the great result obtained. A people aware that Chinese socialism puts – as President Xi Jinping rightly pointed out at the Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19 G20 on March 26th – people’s life and health first: “From day one of our fight against the outbreak, we have put people’s life and health first”.

The PRC, with its socialism with Chinese characters, is becoming in the eyes of many people – despite the shameful campaign of anti-Chinese slander by reactionaries and pro-imperialists, who, unable to deny the Chinese effectiveness and success in containing Covid-19, are attacking China as a “dictatorial country”, “anti-democratic”, “censoring and obscuring information” – a model, an example to follow.

In recent months, the PRC is earning the admiration and respect of many citizens of our country: for the success achieved in containing the epidemic; for the substantial aid sent: doctors, pulmonary ventilators, facial masks and medical equipment; and also for the exemplary behavior of the many Chinese citizens working in Italy, who have strictly followed the prescriptions of their government to contain the Covid-19 contagion, proving to be good Chinese patriots and respectful citizens of the host country.

But there is also and perhaps above all something else that can highlight the values of socialism in the eyes of the masses. It is the comparison between the attitude of the PRC and that of the USA and some European countries in the face of the storm of this tragic epidemic for the world. The leader of the leading country of the Western capitalist camp, Donald Trump, as well as the UK leader Boris Johnson, initially moved along the line of putting in first place not the life and health of people – as the PRC did – but profit, the economic interests of the capitalist class in their country.

Moreover, Trump – and with him some governments of the EU countries – have moved with the short-sighted and selfish view of trying to protect their country from the epidemic at the expense of other countries, they have moved not in the spirit of a “community of shared future for all humanity”, as Xi Jinping asks, not in the spirit of the solidarity of the human race – which a great Italian poet-philosopher of the 19th century, Giacomo Leopardi, called, in his last work-testament, “The Broom or The Desert Flower” (1836), reflecting on the destruction of the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii caused by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius, the “social chain” – but in that of a narrow one-sided interest.

Thus indignation was aroused in mid-March by the news (published in the Sunday edition of the German newspaper “Die Welt”) that Trump has offered to the German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, which is carrying out advanced research on Covid-19, many millions of dollars to ensure that the potential vaccine goes “exclusively” to the U.S. Or 101,600 masks and respirators, destined from the city of Qingtian to Italy were seized by the government of the Czech Republic. These are just a few cases of a negative and reactionary trend that can take hold.

In Italy, as in other Western countries, we have thus found ourselves faced with two opposing world trends: on the one hand, the primacy of people’s life and health; on the other, the primacy of capitalist profit in contempt of human life. On the one hand, solidarity among peoples according to that conception of a community of shared destiny for all humanity that the Chinese Communists are widely developing and elaborating [we would like to be able to publish in Italian the extensive book by Xi Jinping On building a human community with a shared future, published in English last year by the Central Compilation& Translation Press]; on the other hand, closure in a narrow and petty nationalism that thinks it is acceptable to build one’s own fortunes to the detriment of other peoples. On the one hand, the socialist ideal of the International and the “Proletarians and peoples of the world unite”; on the other hand, the preaching of hatred between peoples. On the one hand, the proposal of a new world order based on the recognition of the concrete multiplicity of different “poles”, different “centers” and cooperation on a win-win basis of mutual advantage, which can have in the New Silk Road a first great realization; on the other hand, the anachronistic attempt to affirm American unipolarity, the absolute primacy of the USA, exemplified in Trump’s slogan “America first”. On the one hand, the Chinese proposal of an anti-imperialist globalization, of a world market open and free from the diktats of U.S. and big monopolies imperialism; on the other hand, an anachronistic protectionist closure, clearly stigmatized by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC Geng Shuang, in the press conference of March 25:

In an era of globalization, the interests of all countries are closely intertwined. The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and companies’ choices. As such, it is unrealistic and insensible to try to sever them or even trumpet “shifting” or “decoupling” theories as they run counter to economic law. In the face of the pandemic, such practice will not help solve problems at home. It will only harm the interests of US businesses and people[1].

The Covid-19 pandemic has intervened in the midst of a great upheaval of the world framework, of all international relations, in which the progressive trend represented by the PRC and the countries rejecting US unipolarity, and the regressive trend aimed at maintaining the old imperialist order, the unbridled domination of capital, collide.

In the course of the pandemic, the internationalist and sympathetic position of the PRC became more and more clearly and decisively manifested. To Trump, who on repeated occasions slandered and despised the PRC, until the spread of the epidemic in the USA led him to ask for China’s help, the PRC answered with firmness and dignity, and with very concrete and important expressions of solidarity with the American people, to whom it sent substantial aid of medicines and medical supplies. China is concretely on the path towards a community of shared destiny for all humanity. Xi Jinping’s important speech at the G20 on March 26th, the Letter of one hundred Chinese scholars to the American people (published in “the Diplomat”[2]), the Open Letter of April 2nd, promoted by the CPC and shared by 230 parties in the world – including the Italian Communist Party – invite to put the life and health of people, of all people in the world, in the first place, invite global coordination and cooperation to contain and eradicate the virus and to develop health facilities that will help to prevent and combat other epidemics in the future. Xi Jinping told:

Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to share our good practices, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and provide assistance where we can to countries hit by the growing outbreak[3].

The position of the PRC is politically, culturally and morally the right one at this time. It can concretely foster a great change of mentality for billions of people, it can bring them closer to the ideals of socialism. It is of great help to the common cause of socialism.

It is in the interest of all the socialist and authentically democratic forces to make it known correctly to the greatest number of people. We feel committed – albeit within the limits of our small forces of Marxists and Italian Communists – to promote knowledge and study of Chinese strategy in our country. Aware of the great political and cultural contribution that the Chinese Communists give us today, we will try to intensify mutual exchanges and the translation and publication of articles and books on Chinese socialism.

It will be good for the cause of socialism.

It will be good for the friendship between our peoples.

The Editorial Office of MARX VENTUNO EDIZIONI


[1] https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/t1761102.shtml

[2] https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/an-open-letter-to-the-people-of-the-united-states-from-100-chinese-scholars/

[3] Full text of Xi’s remarks at Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-26


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