COVID-19 triggers cruel social governance race

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By Ai Jun Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Europe is undergoing a rebound of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Top British scientific advisors warned Monday that the country could witness up to 50,000 COVID-19 cases per day by mid-October, and a WHO official noted that the spread of the virus in Europe now is worse than it was in March, when the epidemic first peaked in Europe.

The region’s weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients a week ago. The second coronavirus wave is gripping the continent even before the first wave ends. It is uncertain if Europeans have ever questioned why. Unfortunately, most of the European governments seem to keep wishing their countries will remain open during the second wave without a firm will of carrying out real stringent lockdowns.

According to the WHO, “there were almost 2 million new cases of COVID-19” across the globe last week. This is “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the pandemic.” Both Europe and the US are badly hit regions. Yet the West doesn’t seem to take the number as an alarming bell. Arguments and debates go on and on without resolute and decisive measures coming into sight. For them, the initial outbreak was a tragedy. One million cases was a catastrophe. But 2 million new cases per week may be just a new normal.

Hey Europe, wake up! The pandemic is not uncontrollable. The problem is that several Western countries refuse to face the reality – they have been struggling between protecting lives and economic reopening as waves of infections have ravaged them for over half a year, while the Chinese people have returned to normal life. China has not only resumed economic and commercial activities, but also launched in-person classes without new outbreaks – so far at least.

China’s recipe is clear: It forcefully locked down cities and only reopened them when there were zero locally transmitted infections. For some European countries, this might seem to be an unimaginable approach. Yet it turns out to be the only effective way to rein in the pandemic. Without a thorough fight against the spread of the virus, there will be no genuine recovery as sloppy controls in Europe and the US have led to continuous death, and consequential economic pain.

The cruel race of social governance has begun. Western countries are reluctant to admit that they have failed. They are full of hostility toward China’s so-called authoritarian course – economy and society can be shut down and frozen by the central government. However, it is time for them to realize that only in this way can we protect people lives in a crisis of this magnitude.

It is not an ideological race between democracy and autocracy, as certain ill-intentioned Western politicians screamed about. This is a competition between good governance and bad governance. The pattern of capitalist societies, in which capital profits and economic development come above everything else, has exposed its fatal flaws. During the pandemic, none of the capitalist societies have treated all suspected and confirmed patients regardless of the cost, pooled substantial quantities of resources for hospitals, communities and neighborhoods, nor have they efficiently mobilized enough volunteers to provide assistance for possible difficulties in people’s daily lives.

Many observers say that China’s methods to fight COVID-19 are unsuitable in democracies. While this might be perceived as a fact by some, it sounds more like an excuse for their domestic policy failures. Nothing can be more persuasive than reality. And the reality is: While China is back to normal, the US and Europe are not. Some governments are not courageous enough to adopt an ironhanded approach, yet they are still lecturing China about their noble democracy, freedom and human rights as their own people lose their lives.

Without safeguarding human lives, those governments are bragging about nothing, actually. Those who once hyped COVID-19 crisis as China’s “Chernobyl moment” will eventually be caught in their own Chernobyl moment – all thanks to their failing governance.

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