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Commentary: In COVID-19 response, China deserves credit in human rights protection



The rights to life and health are among the most fundamental human rights. Sparing no efforts to save lives from being ravaged by COVID-19, China has shown its steadfast commitment to protecting human rights.

Protecting and saving lives is the primary responsibility of any government and the best manifestation of human rights protection. China has made all-out efforts to safeguard the lives and health of its people and taken the strictest measures to curb the spread of the disease.

China takes no chances when dealing with a virus about which humanity still knows very little.

On Jan. 23, China put Wuhan, a metropolis of over 10 million people, on lockdown, a drastic measure labeled as “violating human rights” by some Western politicians. However, it has proven to be one of the most important decisions in the global fight.

Mobilizing the power of the whole country to contain the disease, racing around the clock to build two large new hospitals in just over two weeks in Wuhan, taking care of each and every patient at all costs, China has sought to cure as many patients as possible and does all it can to reduce mortality.

China is going all out to guard against and manage even sporadic new cases. At the ongoing annual sessions of the national legislature and top political advisory body, discussions are on for forging a “protection network” for public health.

As we speak, a few U.S. politicians are wielding the batons of bills, investigations or ludicrous lawsuits against China as if they valued lives more than others. The truth is they are either afraid of being held accountable for failures in protecting their own people or simply want to throw mud at others.

If the United States had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than the time when most Americans started staying home, about 83 percent of its deaths would have been avoided, according to estimates by Columbia University disease modelers.

So far, the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States have exceeded 1.6 million, and the death toll is well on its way to 100,000.

The glaring contrast between the two major countries makes people wonder: Who is the better upholder of human rights?

While preventing and controlling the epidemic on a regular basis, China has gradually resumed business and production to ensure people’s right to work and develop. It has made stabilizing jobs a priority and lowered taxes and fees to alleviate burdens on employers.

The Chinese government has been providing epidemic information in an open, transparent and truthful manner in accordance with the law. The right to know is ensured without violating anyone’s right to privacy.

Leaving no one unattended, China’s sweeping protection covers all men and women, children, the elderly, the disabled and the poor. It also treats foreign citizens in an equal manner. In Hubei Province, more than 3,600 COVID-19 patients aged over 80 have been cured. In Wuhan, seven people over 100 years old have recovered from the disease.

Globally, China’s largest humanitarian operation to aid other countries is just for one purpose — saving lives.

Putting the people first, putting lives first — China effectively ensured human rights in a global crisis. As such, it deserves a credit in the history of human rights development.


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