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China takes people’s rights to life, health as top priority amid COVID-19

By He Yin (People's Daily)    08:57, April 17, 2020

The Chinese government is always people-centric and puts people’s lives and health as its top priority. Such value practiced by China in the COVID-19 pandemic well explained to the international society the importance laid by China on people’s right to life and right to health, as they are universally recognized basic human rights.

Chinese medical experts discuss treatment plans of COVID-19 with their Mexican counterparts during a video conference held at the international teleconsultation center of Hangzhou Red Cross Hospital, east China’s Zhejiang province, April 3, 2020. Long Wei/People’s Daily Online

China puts people's lives and health in the first place, which is both the foundation and goal of the country’s epidemic prevention and control. It is doing its best to protect people's right to life and right to health.

From stressing that “Life is of paramount importance. Go where there is epidemic, fight it till it perishes,” to mobilizing the nation to help Hubei, and to pledging to take patient treatment as a priority and calling for maximum efforts to cure more patients and reduce mortality, China has always practiced the people-centered human rights value.

The temporary lockdown of cities and travel restrictions implemented by China all aimed at safeguarding people's lives and health. It is unquestionably considered the most precious human rights practice in the midst of the special period.

China spares no effort to save every life. More than 3,600 COVID-19 patients aged over 80 have been cured in Hubei province.

Against the backdrop of an escalating pandemic overseas, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated in phone calls with foreign leaders that the Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the lives and health of Chinese citizens overseas.

China is very concerned about the health of overseas Chinese, especially students. It has distributed "health packages" to overseas Chinese students, and sent charter flights to take Chinese citizens back to the motherland when necessary.

A medical worker dispatched to assist Hubei hugs her colleague after returning to the Second People’s Hospital in Qinzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, April 14, 2020. Zeng Kaihong/People’s Daily Online

Meanwhile, the country always attaches great importance to the safety and health of foreign citizens in China, treats all foreigners in China equally, and protects their legitimate rights and interests according to law.

“What China has demonstrated is, you have to do this. If you do it, you can save lives and prevent thousands of cases of what is a very difficult disease,” said Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), after a trip to China. He added that China's method has proved to be successful.

The pandemic poses a huge threat to people’s lives and health, as well as great challenges to protecting people's rights to life and health. China, making every effort to cure patients and save lives, is using various platforms to raise a common appeal to the international community.

The Belt and Road News Network (BRNN)'s Secretariat recently issued an open letter to all of its members across the world titled “Together We fight the War of Pandemic. Together We build the Silk Road of Health.”

“News coverage could also play a role in disease prevention and control and in this fight for life. We should highlight the selflessness and sacrifice and make our reports people oriented and life oriented,” read the letter.

“All states should put people's life and health first, make effective and collective response for control, treatment and collaboration at the international level, stem resolutely the spread of the pandemic for the real protection of people's right to life and right to health,” said Chen Xu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva and other international organizations in Switzerland, at a recent virtual informal conversation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the outbreak of COVID-19 and its implications on human rights.

China's actions reflect benevolence and justice in the midst of the pandemic. With the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, the country has provided support and assistance to the international community within its capacity while continuing to do a good job in epidemic control at home, so as to support the protection of the right to life and the right to health of people in more countries.

A 90-year-old novel coronavirus patient surnamed Liu is discharged from the First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, east China's Jiangxi province on Feb. 20. Yu Yunliang/People’s Daily Online

So far, the Chinese government has provided or is providing supplies to 127 countries and four international organizations. China donated $20 million to the WHO, sent 13 medical teams to 11 countries and held over 70 video conferences with experts from more than 150 countries and international organizations. Local governments, enterprises and civil groups in China also donated medical supplies to more than 100 countries, regions and international organizations.

China's actions demonstrate the paramount importance of lives, and have won the respect from the world.

“This disease can be controlled only if there is an inclusive approach which protects every individual’s rights to life and health,” according to a joint press release by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the WHO.

Putting lives and health of the people in the first place is an important internal logic of China’s epidemic prevention and control, which has achieved major phased results. The world is a community with a shared future, where to protect people’s right to life and right to health is a common responsibility that need to be shouldered by all. 

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

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