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Heroes of fight against COVID-19 fully deserving of honors

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    17:23, September 09, 2020

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday presented medals to four individuals for their outstanding contributions to the country's fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

In China, professionals and intellectuals enjoy a high status; the government recognizes their contribution, and society gives them due respect and honor. Scholars and scientists have played a vital role in the course of China's rapid development. The government provides an enabling environment of dignity and comfort, while they apply their professionalism and full potential in building the nation and serving the people.

The Chinese leadership is visionary, and understands the intensity and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it has taken the issue seriously, attaching great importance to advice from experts. Professionals, scientists, and scholars were the core of the frontline teams fighting in the war against COVID-19.

The Chinese government, the whole of society, and ordinary people all took part in a campaign to defeat COVID-19, and their struggle was eventually successful.

The right approach was crucial to ensuring victory in the war against the virus, as the Chinese government made human life a priority, and was even prepared to suffer economic losses to save as many lives as possible. Being able to pick the right team, which included professionals, scientists, doctors, and intellectuals, was one of the primary reasons for the Chinese success in overcoming the pandemic.

In some countries, the leadership was not able to assess the real threat posed by the pandemic and was overly relaxed in its approach. This was especially the case in the US, where the Trump administration mishandled the pandemic and made it the worst hit country in the world. As a result, they suffered considerable losses both to human life and to the economy. Although the US has an abundance of experts and professionals like Dr. Anthony Fauci, his expert advice was not taken seriously. President Trump instead politicized the issue and did not take the threat seriously. He touted various medicines as a cure for COVID-19 without consulting or seeking any advice from experts, did not take appropriate preventive measures and ignored the advice from scientists and intellectuals. He also overlooked the importance of using masks and maintaining social distancing. As a result, loyal and sincere scientists like Dr. Fauci, a renowned expert in infectious diseases, often felt frustrated and helpless. In the US, scientists and professionals were marginalized, while in China, they were not only rewarded but also honored, and their social status lifted.

Professionals who have played an important role and made immense contributions deserve to be acknowledged. China did this by arranging an award ceremony, which was attended by the highest level of leadership. President Xi Jinping not only gave them awards but shook hands with them and praised them. This act will motivate and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. They are our heroes, and also the heroes of humanity. We congratulate them. We also commend and give gratitude to all those who contributed in any way to the fight against COVID-19. 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan. E-mail: [email protected]

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

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