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Party chief broadcasters' "air" strike against coronavirus in rural China

(Xinhua)    13:53, February 12, 2020

CHONGQING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Near a rural market in southwest China, Zhou Daoji has a message for the public: Don't go out for gatherings.

"Absolutely no partying during the critical stage of epidemic containment!" Zhou shouted out via a loudspeaker protruding out of his car.

Zhou is the secretary of the Panlong Street working committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the county of Yunyang in Chongqing Municipality. The county is close to Hubei Province, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

China is feeling the pinch of the deadly epidemic, with health authorities on Wednesday saying that the overall confirmed cases had reached 44,653 on the Chinese mainland by the end of Tuesday, and 1,113 people had died of the disease.

In Yunyang, local Party chiefs have joined the fight by becoming broadcasters, blasting out information about prevention and control, as well as the latest government policies, in the local dialect with loudspeakers.

Wu Xianwen writes his own broadcast scripts, records the content and broadcasts it in villages and communities via a loudspeaker.

"So far I have recorded five epidemic-themed episodes," said Wu, secretary of the CPC Renhe Street working committee in the county.

Wu has a soothing and calm voice. On Jan. 23, in his first episode, Wu asked locals to quarantine themselves at home for 15 days after returning from other localities.

"I asked the villagers to wash their hands frequently and wear masks when they need to go out," he said.

On Jan. 30, in his second broadcast episode, Wu urged those still hanging around outside to "go back home, go back home, go back home!"

"I did that in a really serious tone," he said.

As some residents were still not getting why it was so necessary to remain home, Wu made a third episode, in which he explained how the coronavirus is transmitted and how to effectively stop the spreading.

"I basically created the content based on people's questions, as well as on what I should do next as an official," he said.

Different from Wu, Party official Wang Man chose a more "artistic way" to broadcast information.

She asked some talented writers to help encapsulate government policies and the latest epidemic information into catchy, easy-to-understand verses. The verses need to rhyme, said Wang, 37, Party secretary of Bayang Township.

"Then I record the verses in the dialect myself," she said.

Here are some of the verses: Don't try to hide your history of returning from other places, stay at home for 14 days. ... Don't try to run if you have coughs or fever, report to the hospital, do me a favor. ... Information is everywhere but don't spread rumors anywhere.

In the county of Yunyang, rural seniors are becoming a focus for authorities. Many of these people have difficulties accessing the latest information and knowledge, and their weak immune system means they are more susceptible to possible infections.

Under such circumstances, the officials' loudspeakers play an important role in spreading anti-virus knowledge.

"If we go door to door, the effect is quite limited, but with loudspeakers, we can speak to hundreds or even thousands of people," said Wu. "Rural residents love loudspeakers, and they give me a thumbs-up when they hear my voice on the loudspeaker."

Wang said she often goes to rural areas to inspect and attend village meetings, so villagers are quite familiar with her voice.

"When they hear my voice on the loudspeaker, they know it is something important and authentic," she said. "Besides, the villagers usually speak in the local dialect, so I figured it would be more efficient to speak in the dialect myself."

For villager Chen Bangxing, listening to the Party chiefs' broadcasting has become a habit.

"We can learn a lot about measures against the virus spread, such as not hanging around, not gathering and not going to places with a lot of people," he said. "The broadcasting also shows the care from the Party and the government."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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