Vicious slander 14: The Chinese government has not handled the epidemic in a correct and timely manner.
Facts and truth: The Chinese government has adopted the most extensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures in the shortest time possible, containing the disease mainly within Wuhan and succeeding in cutting channels for the transmission.
◆The COVID-19 epidemic is a major public health emergency. The virus has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. Through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice, and having paid a heavy price, China has succeeded in turning the situation around. It took about a month to initially contain the spread of the epidemic; in around two months, the daily increase in local coronavirus cases fell to single digits; in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan. With these achievements, China has protected its people's lives, safety and health, and made a significant contribution to safeguarding regional and global public health.
◆On Jan. 23, 2020, Wuhan declared temporary closure of the city's outbound routes.
On Jan. 24, 2020, the Chinese New Year's Eve, the dispatch of national medical teams to Hubei and Wuhan began. In the ensuing period, a total of 346 medical teams, composed of 42,600 medical workers and 965 public health workers from across the country and the military, were dispatched to Hubei Province and the city of Wuhan in particular.
On Jan. 25, 2020, the first day of the Chinese New Year, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for resolute efforts to win the battle to contain the virus with "confidence and solidarity, a science-based approach and targeted measures." He urged Hubei to make epidemic control its top priority and apply more rigorous measures to stem the spread of the virus within the province and beyond. All patients, he said, must be hospitalized without delay, and severe cases must be sent to designated hospitals with sufficient medical resources so that they could be treated by medical experts. By Jan. 29, 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities had activated a level one public health emergency response for comprehensive and tight epidemic prevention and control.
On Jan. 25, 2020, the National Health Commission (NHC) released six sets of guidelines on disease prevention: for general use, tourism, households, public places, public transport and home observation. All air ports were strictly inspected. Anyone with symptoms such as cough and fever was not allowed to pass. There were no so-called large number of COVID-19 patients fleeing overseas. In a short period of time thereafter, the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities outside Hubei where the epidemic was not savage still had outbound flights. Those travelers underwent nucleic acid tests after returning to China, and almost no one was infected with the virus.
China has identified four categories of people -- confirmed cases, suspected cases, febrile patients who might be carriers, and close contacts -- across the country, treated them in designated facilities, and redoubled efforts to increase the capacity of nucleic acid testing. China adopted and adjusted border exit health and quarantine measures in a scientific and timely fashion, and enforced strict health and quarantine measures at points of entry and exit across the country, conducting a strict check of health and body temperature, and carrying out medical inspection, epidemiological investigation, medical screening, and sample monitoring of all inbound and outbound travelers. Any traveler going abroad, who was either confirmed cases or suspected cases, or having symptoms and having contacts with confirmed cases, was transferred to local epidemic control facilities for quarantine and further examination, so as to prevent cross-border transmission. The strictest-ever measures were applied at the border control and non-urgent and nonessential outbound travels by Chinese citizens were suspended.
◆In February 2020, during a press conference in Beijing of a China-WHO joint mission on COVID-19, the expert delegation agreed that the Chinese government had taken timely and effective measures, and that China's strong interventions had significantly changed the epidemic curve, which had not only prevented the spread of the epidemic in China, but also bought precious time for the world. According to a Science report, thanks to those measures, the number of infections in China was reduced by more than 700,000.
Also in that same month, a report of the joint mission was released, according to which, in the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history, so as to contain the virus as rapidly as possible. Strikingly, the report said, there has been the uncompromising rigor of strategy application that proved to be a hallmark in every setting and context where it was examined. Achieving China's exceptional coverage with and adherence to these containment measures has only been possible due to the deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat, the report added, and at a community level this was reflected in the remarkable solidarity of provinces and cities in support of the most vulnerable populations and communities.
◆In May 2020, weekly scientific journal Nature published a study by experts from China, the United States and Britain, and according to their modeling framework, the three major groups of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) (inter-city travel restrictions, early identification and isolation of cases, and contact restrictions and social distancing) taken by China not only contained the spread of COVID-19 in China, but also bought precious time for the world. The study pointed out that without the combined NPIs, the COVID-19 cases in China would likely have shown a 67-fold increase to over 7 million.
◆In May 2020, a study conducted jointly by researchers from Yale University and China's Jinan University showed that measures like city lockdowns, closed community management, quarantine, and restrictions on outdoor activities significantly decreased the virus transmission rate. By mid-February, the spread of the virus had been largely contained in China, it said, adding that by Feb. 29, over 1.4 million infections and 56,000 deaths outside Hubei might have been avoided because of the national and provincial public health measures.
◆In September 2021, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs, also head of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, told The Star, a newspaper in Malaysia, in an exclusive interview that China has done an excellent job of suppressing the COVID-19 epidemic and that the world could and should have learned a lot more from China's response. "The United States should learn some good manners to work cooperatively with China, rather than trying to impose its will on that nation," he said.
Vicious slander 15: The Chinese government oppressed "whistleblowers."
Facts and truth: China has provided timely information to the world in an open, transparent and responsible manner. There has been no oppression of so-called "whistleblowers."
◆Zhang Jixian, director of the Department of Respiratory and Critical Care at Hubei Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, was the first to report COVID-19 cases on Dec. 27, 2019, and was awarded for this contribution.
◆On Dec. 30, 2019, three days after Zhang reported cases of unknown infection, Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist, sent a message to his alumni WeChat group. He claimed that there were "seven confirmed SARS cases," and asked the group not to spread the information. However, leaked screenshots of the conversation spread quickly on the Internet and caused panic. On Jan. 3, 2020, Wuhan's local police authorities asked Li to a police station for inquiry, and a letter of reprimand was issued. In mid-January, Li started to show symptoms of infection. And on Jan. 31, he was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. On Feb. 7, Li passed away after all rescue measures were exhausted. On the same day, the NHC publicly expressed condolences over his death. The National Supervisory Commission decided to send an inspection group to Wuhan to investigate issues related to Li. On March 19, the inspection group released its findings and held a press briefing. Wuhan's Public Security Bureau announced the decision on the matter, pointing to the misapplication of relevant legal provisions in Li's case, and revoked the reprimand letter.
Li was a CPC member. On March 5, 2020, he was named a "national model healthcare worker in fighting COVID-19." On April 2, he was honored as a martyr. Labeling Li as an "anti-establishment hero" or "awakener" is very disrespectful to Li and his family. It is purely political manipulation with no sense of decency.
The Independent Media Institute, a U.S. organization, conducted a thorough investigation on how the media made unjust reporting about Li, and concluded that the attempt of Western media to describe what happened to Li as evidence of the Chinese government's suppression of information about the virus was simply not logical.
Vicious slander 16: The Chinese government instructed the destruction of the serum of early cases, making it impossible to determine when the spread of the virus started.
Facts and truth: China did not destroy the serum of early cases. The China-WHO joint team on origins tracing has agreed that some serum researches would be conducted once the blood from the Wuhan Blood Center meets the relevant regulatory requirements.
◆In July 2021, Liang Wannian, team leader of the Chinese side of the China-WHO joint team, said that when in Wuhan, the team once invited experts from the Wuhan Blood Center to have a full discussion. Experts from the center told the team that they had kept blood samples, but the samples were kept for the use of responding to possible medical disputes and lawsuits due to blood transfusion. A quite small amount of blood was preserved during the period. In accordance with the Article 31 of the Measures for the Administration of Blood Stations, the term of preservation of a blood sample shall be two years after the whole blood or the component blood is used, and it can only be available for use when there is a medical dispute or lawsuit.
The team agreed that once the blood from the center is used and after the two-year validity term, meaning the samples meet the requirements, they will carry out relevant works. The Chinese side is organizing related experts and institutions to make preparations for the work. So far, they have made several assessments and evaluations on the testing methods and action plan, which will be implemented after the expiry. Related institutions from the Chinese side have also said that once they have the results, they will deliver them to both the Chinese and foreign expert teams.
Vicious slander 17: In January 2020, an official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission ordered gene sequencing companies and labs to stop testing and to destroy patient samples. On Jan. 3, the NHC issued a nationwide order similar to the one put in place by the Hubei Provincial Health Commission, requiring that samples of the virus be destroyed.
Facts and truth: Since the epidemic broke out, the NHC immediately organized national high-level professional institutions to conduct the parallel identification of the pathogen and, meanwhile, managed the pathogen in accordance with laws and regulations.
◆According to the relevant requirements of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases and the Regulation on the Bio-safety Management of Pathogenic Microbe Labs, China's laws and regulations have set clear requirements for the storage, destruction and experimental activities of highly pathogenic microorganism samples. If the laboratory conditions cannot meet the requirements for the safe preservation of samples, the samples should be destroyed on the spot or transferred to a professional institution for safekeeping. The destruction of early virus samples by relevant agencies complied with relevant measures on infectious disease management.
◆China has always been an active contributor to the sharing of pathogenic microbial strains. In recent years, in order to prevent a global influenza pandemic, and under the World Health Organization framework, China has provided many highly pathogenic influenza virus strains to the United States, Japan, Britain, Australia, Canada and Russia. Regarding the sharing of novel coronavirus strains, China also has an active and open attitude. (more)