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Some countries slow to respond to virus

A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hospital where a total of 16 infections of COVID-19 have been reported, in Cheongdo county near the city of Daegu on Friday. (Photo: AFP)The outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is breaking through the globes epidemic prevention system. The risk of the epidemic spreading out of control worldwide is increasing. Apart from China, the worst-affected countries, for the moment, are Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy. The population size of each of these countries is roughly equivalent to that of a province in China. The situation in these countries, if compared with Chinese provinces other than Hubei, is already serious.These countries are now paying growing attention to the risks posed by the epidemic and have taken some measures. For example, South Korea has postponed the new school year, Italy has locked down some towns where the epidemic situation is severe. Some Serie A matches in Italy were suspended. Iran has canceled all art and cinema events until the end of the week.Yet it is worrisome that the prevention and control measures adopted by the above-mentioned countries might be insufficient. The situation in China has shown that the virus is extremely contagious: It can easily spread in public places and in communities. It is either hard from the beginning or becoming hard now for people to observe where and by what means the COVID-19 is spreading in those countries. Perhaps the virus has been spreading in an invisible way in recent days.In Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, it took only a few weeks from people realizing the severity of the epidemic to the situation in which the virus spread in an uncontrollable way. Fortunately, China has a huge medical system and can quickly mobilize over 40,000 medical staff to support Wuhan and Hubei. If a second epicenter like Wuhan were to emerge in another country, it is difficult to imagine that such massive assistance could be mobilized.M...

Heroes deserve recognition in fight against COVID-19

As women make up half the staff in the medical field generally, it is simply natural that they are the main pillars and contributors in the frontline battle against the outbreak of COVID-19.Medical workers hold the baby girl with no infection born by a woman infected with novel coronavirus pneumonia at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xian Jiaotong University in Xian, capital of northwest Chinas Shaanxi Province, February 15, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)Statistics show that out of the 19,800 medical staff at Hubei,the epicenter of this outbreak, 14,000 are nurses and 90 percent of them are female. Another estimate puts 5 percent of female staff as being pregnant.The womens presence and their contributions, along with their male counterparts, have not gone unnoticed. Overall, we all respect these HERoes. But are we respecting them in the right way?Despite bearing many responsibilities, women medical staff are, in my view, unnecessarily consumed as a product. As much as I agree that media should report on their heroic deeds, their experiences on the frontline and focus on female power, I cant help but worry about emotions being overused and hyped. Stories of the sacrifice these women have made by showing images of shaved heads and working pregnant staff make me uncomfortable.What was even more uncomfortable was one report cutting off a female staff member who mentioned that her colleagues who are menstruating are facing shortages of sanitary products. Why is publicly talking about menstruation shameful? Is it a taboo?Well, I fainted today from period pain. The bleeding and symptoms that followed crippled me and confined me to bed. Im not complaining since I have access to pads and a bed, but how about the dear sisters fighting at the epicenter and all over China trying to contain the virus? What are their conditions like?In addition to sending masks, gloves and other disinfectants, how about pads, tampons and other women care products? Ar...

Regional conflicts should give way to virus fight

A South Korean health official sprays disinfectant in front of a hospital where a total of 16 infections of COVID-19 have been reported, in Cheongdo county near the city of Daegu on Friday. (Photo: AFP)Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), the virus high magnitude of infectivity and public concern about the epidemic have put China through several economic and social tests. When it comes to complexity of epidemic prevention and control, China is enduring extraordinary challenges in fighting against the COVID-19, which has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization.At the early stage of the COVID-19, Japan and South Korea didnt report large-scale cases of infection, and as their pressure of epidemic prevention and control was not too big to bear, an atmosphere of solidarity with Chinas fight against the virus had emerged in these two countries. Appeals for Japan-China, South Korea-China friendship have continued to dominate social media platforms and public opinion.However, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Japan and South Korea soared in the past few days, including deaths. Reportedly, there were transmissions by indirect contact, and even people without symptoms tested positive for the virus. As of Friday, Japan reported 727 cases, including 634 passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, while South Korea confirmed 204 cases of infection, with 100 confirmed new cases on Friday. Currently, South Korea and Japan stand as the second and third most infected countries respectively after China.Due to the sharp rise in confirmed cases, both Japanese and South Korean governments were slammed with criticism.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abes cabinet was widely criticized for downplaying the epidemic and missing out on the best timing to contain the COVID-19. Particularly, some critics said the cruise ship quarantine "may not have been ef...

Trump administration should take more care of US big tech's thieving

Ryan Ding, Executive Director of the Board and President of Huaweis Carrier BG (business group), speaks at a Huawei product and solution launch event in London, U.K., February 20, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)To reduce Chinas technological lead in areas such as telecommunications, the Trump administration has long charged the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets by Chinese tech firms and individuals. Recently, criticism has cranked up and will continue going on.On February 13, the U unsealed its latest indictment in federal court in Brooklyn, New York City, suing Huawei Technologies Co. and two of its US subsidiaries for conspiring to steal trade secrets, source code and wireless technology manuals from six US technology companies, violating a racketeering law typically used to combat organized crime. On February 10, in a federal court in Atlanta the US government charged four Chinese nationals working for the Peoples Liberation Army to use cyber theft and other means to pilfer data reams and trade secrets from a credit-reporting agency.Huawei denied the new indictment, calling it "unfounded and unfair," attempting "to irrevocably damage Huaweis reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement."As far as economic espionage is concerned, many US firms systematically extract leading technologies domestically and globally, using both legal and nefarious means, to enhance their unfair competitive advantage. It is not news that the US state-directed hacking and spying campaign through its sprawling espionage agencies such as FBI took place globally and posed considerable threats to relevant countries, including its allies.To just name a few, below are some major incidents and allegations publicly disclosed about the US top tech giants the Trump administration should look into:Facebook copies ByteDances tech, according to the IndependentOn November 14, 2019, U.K. newspape...

Why are some framing China’s heroic efforts as inhumane?

File photo: XinhuaChina is taking extraordinary measures to deal with the emergence of a previously unknown pathogen, officially named COVID-19. As World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tudors Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, China set a new standard for outbreak response. Yet, despite the sacrifice for a greater good, China’s critics have accused the country of being inhumane. This claim is absurd.While media outlets such as The Guardian have admitted that China’s measures to contain the disease have delayed transmission to the rest of the world, they also cite critics who claim that China’s behavior is “typical of its disregard for human rights.”Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed governmental agencies at all levels to put the health and security of people first. The “tough measures” that some foreign media outlets have decried as inhumane, such as locking down the city of Wuhan, are the result of difficult decisions and great sacrifice for the Chinese people and are for the sake of protecting public health both domestically and abroad.Those strong measures are working to keep the deadly coronavirus in check. Dr. Tudors has pointed out that the massive efforts China has taken to contain the outbreak, despite the severe social and economic impact that they are having on China, is the reason we have not seen many more cases outside of China.The definition of inhumane is without compassion for misery or suffering. There is nothing to suggest that the measures China has taken to contain the coronavirus are for the sake of cruelty, and to argue otherwise is just ridiculous and shows ignorance and insensitivity.China is the world’s most populous country, and yet everyone is on the same page to end this epidemic as soon as possible. Not only has the government allocated billions of dollars to combat the virus but also ordinary people are doing whatever they can to help in this battle. In about 10 days, China built two specialized hospitals in Wuhan and numerous o...

Coronavirus not China's Chernobyl

A medical worker takes a passengers body temperature at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, Jan 22, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)At a time when China is trying to contain the novel coronavirus epidemic, some Western media outlets have exposed their anti-China bias by claiming the situation is "Chinas Chernobyl".The nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the then Soviet Union in 1986 remains the worst nuclear accident till date. It was caused by the meltdown of the No 4 light water graphite moderated reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.Apart from the initial casualty of more than 30 people and hundreds being hospitalized for radiation exposure, tens of thousands of people were exposed to leaked radiation and the disaster resulted in tens of billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic losses. Radioactive dust and cloud from Chernobyl traveled from Ukraine to the then western Soviet Union, mainly Belarus, all the way to Europe. Ultimately an area around the nuclear plant-with a radius of 30 kilometers-was declared an exclusion zone.Also, the Soviet authorities didnt immediately inform the residents around the Chernobyl plant or the international community about the serious consequences of the nuclear accident. The disaster raised global censure, especially because many in the international community believed the Soviet authorities didnt appropriately respond to the emergency.By contrast, China didnt know the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak at the outset, particularly because of the local governments slow response to the epidemic in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, in the early stages.But order was established after the central government realized what was happening, it immediately implemented strict measures to contain the epidemic by setting quarantine norms, mobilizing the national medical corps, ordering the local government and health department to swing into action, and building two makeshift hospitals in...

Epidemic response may help boost Beijing-Seoul ties

Photo taken on Jan. 29, 2020 shows masks donated by South Korean city of Cheonan to Weihai City in east Chinas Shandong Province, at Incheon International Airport, South Korea. (Photo: Xinhua)With 1.4 billion Chinese people jointly combating the novel coronavirus, China has won approval and praise from the international community. The sudden and widespread outbreak, however, had meant medical and protective materials are in short supply. As the number of people infected continues to rise, and healthy citizens take measures to protect themselves, the social atmosphere has become tense and heavy. Many people have realized that fighting the epidemic will not be easy and Chinas relations with neighboring countries may be affected.At this critical juncture, South Korea, a close neighbor of China, has extended its hand even though it also faces a growing threat from the epidemic and has no clear preventive mechanism.South Korean PresidentMoon Jae-insaid on February 7 that South Korea stands ready to continue to actively support China in its fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic. At that time, anxieties over the virus were brewing in South Korea. By late January, sales of masks and anti-cold medicine began to peak, as reports about the epidemic in China reached the country. There were calls for Moon to ban Chinese from travelling to South Korea. Some critics believed that the government was risking the health of its people by boosting ties with China.The Blue House adopted a cautious but flexible strategy to cope with foreign relations. It chartered flights to bring back South Korean nationals and their relatives in China and temporarily banned non-citizens who had visited Chinas Hubei Province from entering South Korea.In late January, it was reported that the South Korean government was sending $5 million worth of emergency humanitarian aid to China to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.South Korean companie...

COVID-19 won't impair underlying strength of Chinese economy: US expert

While the Chinese economy has slowed to a virtual standstill in early 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19, this devastating disease should not impair the underlying strength of the Chinese economy, Stephen Roach, senior fellow at Yale Universitys Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, said in an interview with Beijing Review recently.Stephen Roach (File photo)Behind the optimism in the Chinese economy, Roach, former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia and chief economist at Morgan Stanley, believes that the strength reflects four key economic transitions: from investment- and export-led growth to consumer-driven growth; from manufacturing to services; from surplus saving to saving absorption and using that drawdown of domestic saving to fund Chinas social safety net and boost discretionary household consumption; and from imported to indigenous innovation."As long as the government continues to focus its reform strategy on these key transitions, once the virus runs its course, which remains my strong expectation for the second half of 2020, these transitions, in conjunction with recent stimulus actions by the Peoples Bank of China (PBOC), will play a decisive role in providing a strong post-virus impetus to the Chinese economy," he added.As Roach was in China during the SARS outbreak back in 2003, comparing this years virus fight with 17 years ago, he said the Chinese economy today is far bigger, better balanced and more globally important. "Notwithstanding the serious short-term disruptions associated with COVID-19, todays rebalanced Chinese economy is far more resilient than it was back in the SARS days of 2003, "he added.He also believes China would potentially project much bigger implications on global economy than before. "At the same time, with the world far more dependent on China today than it was back then, short-term disruptions in the Chinese economy are bound to have a more serious impact on global growth....

Immoral Wall Street Journal not welcome in China

(Photo: IC)Chinas Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that it would revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters working in Beijing. Chinas decision came after the WSJ had published an article titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia." The WSJ refused to apologize. After China revoked the three reporters press credentials, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China should not "restrict speech."Concept of freedom of speech has clearly deviated from its original meaning in practice in the West. It seems that some Western countries and media have been monopolizing the explanation of freedom of speech. They regard themselves as the embodiment of freedom of speech, as if whatever they say represents freedom of speech and whoever opposes their statements is undermining it. Moreover, these countries and media do not want non-Western public to voice their views unless being permitted. This is ridiculous."Sick man of Asia" used in the WSJ headline are not just random words, but a phrase with specific historical connotation . The phrase upset Chinese people because it is linked to a period when the country was brutally bullied and humiliated by the Western imperial powers.The parallel to this would be the Chinese media using the "N" word to describe African Americans. How will they react? No one will believe that we were being well-intentioned.The WSJ is an elite in the mainstream US media. The newspaper flaunts its professionalism, which should have been reflected in their words and an accurate grasp of all content.Criticizing such a headline does not mean that China is overly sensitive. The WSJ was first immoral. Indeed, the newspaper enjoys freedom of speech, but does this mean it can speak so rudely about other people? I believe this is a distortion of freedom of speech.The day before China revoked the WSJ reporters press credentials, the US announced that it would...

Delay in Tesla’s Berlin factory underlines resilience of Chinese economy

Aerial photo taken on August 24, 2019 shows Tesla Gigafactory in East Chinas Shanghai. (Photo: Global Times)A good start in China doesnt mean Teslas global expansion will be smooth sailing as the delayed construction of the US electric carmakers Berlin Gigafactory proves the Shanghai Gigafactory story cannot be replicated anywhere.On a new landing page for its Gigafactory Berlin, Tesla announced that the plant will hire up to 12,000 people and has a target capacity of 10,000 vehicles a week in Phase 1. The details came at a time when Tesla was ordered by a German court to halt deforestation for the new Gigafactory. Although Tesla promised to plant three times as many trees as it planned to cut down and promised to incorporate solar panels on the factory roof, local environmental activists have not been reassured.Apparently, Tesla can hardly escape a length environmental review process, which, to a certain extent, is a disaster for a tech company that always needs to race against the clock to stay afloat in the global marketplace.As Tesla is poised to build its first Gigafactory in Europe, in the hope of replicating its success with it Shanghai factory, delayed construction serves as a reminder that no country other than China could enable Tesla to move forward with its plant plan so efficiently. It took only one year for Tesla to build its Gigafactory 3 and deliver its locally produced Model 3, a clear sign of Chinas opening-up amid the trade war.The success of the Shanghai Gigafactory cannot be easily replicated. It remains to be seen whether Tesla will be able to build another factory in Europe or Asia, and even if it does, it certainly would not be as fast as the one in China.Either way, the importance of China to Tesla should not be undervalued in terms of production, sales and market valuation, meaning that the impact of outside factors like the ongoing coronavirus epidemic on the carmaker should by no means be underestimated, eve...

Can SAARC recapture its influence in South Asia?

File photo shows the 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from November 26 to 27, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of the SAARC)"Australia is an observer of SAARC [SouthAsianAssociationforRegional Cooperation], which brings our two countries to work within a framework of regional cooperation as well," said Nepals Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali on Saturday to mark 60th year of diplomatic relations with Australia.Other observer countries and regions to this organization of South Asian countries include China, the US, Japan, South Korea and the European Union.Gyawalis latest reference to SAARC is an indicator of Nepals continued commitment to that body, which has virtually remained dormant since Kathmandu hosted the 18th summit in November 2014. Shortly before it ended, participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka announced their next biannual meeting would be hosted by Pakistan in November 2016. They had unanimously agreed on the date and venue of the 19th summit that was to include Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistans Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Persuaded by Nepals prime minister at the time, Sushil Koirala, Modi and Sharif publicly shook hands to assure the region, and the world at large, that they would work together for the regions well-being. In other words, bilateral differences or acrimony would not impede the process that was initiated in 1985 for the region that is home to 1.7 billion people.Pakistan was chosen as the country to host the mega event of 2016 because the SAARC charter requires the host of the next meeting is chosen by alphabetical order. Subsequently, that gave Pakistan time to make preparations for the upcoming summit. However, new disputes pertaining to border skirmishes in the Kashmir area angered India, which pulled out of the scheduled summit just weeks before it was to take place in Islamabad. Sensing New D...

American fear of Chinese media is unfounded

(Photo: CGTN)Major American news outlets reported on Tuesday night that the U.S. Department of State had released new rules which forces Chinese media operating in the United States to register as "diplomatic personnel"- the decision, which impacts CGTN, China Radio International, the Peoples Daily, the China Daily, Xinhua and others, forces them to report all of their personnel changes to the state department, register their assets and also seek approval if they seek to purchase any new properties. The move was applauded by hawkish American senators and officials, who accused China of seeking to orchestrate a "propaganda campaign" against the United States.The move is opportunistic and unfounded. It seeks to purposefully misrepresent how Chinese media works and is seeking to whip up fear of "foreign interference" in the view to the Presidential election in November as part of the wider scare campaign against China. Chinese outlets do not, contrary to popular belief, take positions in American domestic politics on matters unrelated to China itself, endorse, promote or spread misinformation pertaining to any given candidate, or impose a vision of what they believe Americas system "should be" on their audience. The same cannot be said, ironically for American media outlets who cover China, whom repeatedly and persistently seek to impose their ideological vision on the countrys affairs."Propaganda" is a term which is vested more in emotion and popular imagination, than empiricism. The term replies in its most specific definition as "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view." If this take is made a general rule, then it applies to many things which certainly includes almost every single political organization, think-tanks and even company marketing.Yet in the popular western conception of...

Upcoming China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting on virus shows united effort

China and Thailands support in holding a special China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting to combat the novel coronavirus has shown determination on both sides to unite and overcome the difficulties together, a senior official said on Wednesday.File photo: VCGState Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks when meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in Vientiane, Laos.Wang said he believes the meeting to be held on Thursday will make a contribution to regional public health.Since the outbreak, the royal family and the government of Thailand, as well as people from all walks of life, have provided assistance to China, which demonstrated the friendship between the two peoples, Wang said.China appreciated that Thailand respects recommendations from the World Health Organization and makes moderate and reasonable responses, he said.He added that he believes the people-to-people exchange between the two countries will be closer and bilateral traditional friendship will be enhanced after the epidemic.The Thai foreign minister said that the special meeting will be the first multilateral foreign ministers meeting that focuses on public health so far, which is of great significance.The epidemic is a common challenge facing countries in the region, he said, adding that the meeting will strengthen solidarity and cooperation between ASEAN and China.

Boris Johnson's stance on COVID-19 sets a good example

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in UK Parliament in London, England, on September 25, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)Editor’s note:CGTNs First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The daily column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his sympathy and support to Chinese President Xi Jinping for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in a phone call on Tuesday, and he later reiterated it on his twitter. Johnsons message is good for both sides, and showed a good example for others to follow.As the saying goes, "a friend in need is a friend indeed." This sets an example of how two great countries can and should cooperate in a time when both need each others support.After Johnson became prime minister, it was Brexit that captured most headlines. Few doubt that, although he finally led Britain out of the European Union, the future condition of the nation remains uncertain. But, in such hard times, he put others need before his own, and sought for win-win solutions.When Chinas telecommunications company Huawei met with obstacles in many nations in North America and Europe, Johnsons UK gives it a green light to be part of its 5G market. He knows that both countries would benefit from the deal hugely.It also showed that he has great courage in doing so. In fact, his support to Chinas fight against the virus came just one day after some British newspapers reported that the U.S. President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. could stop intelligence sharing with nations that use Chinas Huawei.Nevertheless, when the UKs HS2 high-speed rail construction was in crisis, a Chinese company, the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), proposed a partnership which was confirmed by Johnson in parliament last week.The year 2020 begins in Britain with the uncertainty of Brexi...

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