COVID-19 Winners and Losers: As West Stumbles, China Successfully Contained the Coronavirus

Written by | Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021

China has so far emerged as a winner from the COVID-19 pandemic, having brought the virus under control, its economy is recovering and criticism of its crisis management has faded. But it is also true that China has suffered collateral damage on the international stage as Beijing faced massive international criticism for its nontransparent conduct in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis. The term „China virus“ coined by US President Donald Trump best describes how Beijing resorted to the full range of its propaganda tools, in its bid to ward off the accusations, smashing a lot of diplomatic china on the way. The Chinese government certainly does have questions to answer, but the scale of the anti-China reaction in the West is disproportionate to the reality of the courageous contributions made by Chinese scientists who were among the first to warn of the threat of a pandemic to the global community.
Meanwhile, China’s success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic is a sign that it has already caught up with Europe, the United States and other Western nations in some areas of innovation, including public health policy, says Paul Romer, co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics. While innovation leaders could likely be economic leaders of this century, Romer warns that the West’s response to the pandemic was evidence of a complacent mindset on innovation, particularly in public policy. “In the response to the pandemic, part of what we saw was more effective innovation in policy responses in Asia than in Europe and the United States,” the Nobel Prize laureate told the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. “If some nations lose the momentum for progress, then those [nations with the ability to truly innovate] could be leaders, perhaps the new leaders in the coming century.”
The pandemic highlighted that China’s use of widespread testing to locate and isolate infected cases was more innovative and effective then the methods adopted in Europe and the US, the economics professor at New York University noted but also warned that “as [China] moves into this era of being at the lead in innovation, true innovation becomes more important and harder,” he said. To that end, instead of using medicine and medical science as a means to establish a new compact between nations, a new cold war seems to be accelerating between the West and China. The present wave of anti-China sentiment appears to be gradually evolving into an unpleasant, even racist, sinophobia, which threatens international peace and security. Much like Europe and the US, also China’s 1.4 billion people are not immune from the pandemic-generated economic shocks. Therefore, this moment should be used to boost solidarity between people, not conflict between governments.

Article Categories:
Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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