(中共中央党校(国家行政学院)公共管理教研部副教授 张克)

Adhering to the Chinese-Style Anti-Epidemic Practices of People First and Life First

—Reflections upon Studying the Chapter on Poverty Alleviation Campaigns in Xi Jinping’s Governance of China (Volume III)

Zhang Ke:Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Party School of the Central Committee of the C.P.C. (National Academy of Governance)


"I am determined to devote myself to serving the Chinese people wholeheartedly" is a famous remark made by Xi Jinping when he met with Roberto Fico, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy. It is the people that occupy the highest position in the mind of Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the People’s Republic of China. The newly published third volume of Xi Jinping’s “Governance of China” presents in-depth answers to a series of major theoretical and practical questions, such as what is people-centered, why people-centered, and how to be people-centered. In 2020, through the unexpected ordeal of COVID-19, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, earnestly following the people-centered principle, has been saving people's lives at all costs, taking effective measures to ensure people's livelihood, and uniting all Chinese people to combat the epidemic. This fully demonstrates the significant advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.


In the face of this unprecedented epidemic, the Communist Party of China made well-coordinated plans and drastic decisions, and the Chinese people strengthened their confidence, helped each other to cope with the trials and tribulations, adopted science-based approaches and implemented precise policies in the prevention and control of the epidemic. A people’s battle against the epidemic was launched by mobilizing all resources and blocking the spread of the virus. In only two months, the domestic spread of COVID-19 epidemic was essentially blocked. In approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan. As WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pointed out, the leadership and political will displayed by China are worth learning from by other countries. The Covid-19 is a public health emergency and China has successfully established the first line of defense to prevent the spread of this epidemic, which has won time and can serve as reference for the world to fight against it.


Why can China be the first country to control the virus in the world's largest pandemic since World War II? Fundamentally, it is because the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have been unswervingly putting people's interest at the center, making people's lives and health as its top priority, and practicing the concept of people first and life first in the process of epidemic prevention and control.






1. Adopting Unprecedentedly Comprehensive and Stringent Control Measures 

Which should be the highest priority? People's life safety or economic growth, elections and interest groups? With the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, this difficult multiple-choice question is baffling all countries. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, by adhereing to the people-centered development ideology with a distinct vision of being responsible for the people and their lives, have accurately analyzed the epidemic situation, made prudent yet drastic decisions, and made unsparing efforts to protect the people's right to life and health.

On January 22, 2020, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of the People’s Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission issued an important instruction for immediate imposition of tight restrictions on the movement of people and outbound routes in Hubei and Wuhan. At around 2 a.m. on January 23, Wuhan City Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control Command Center issued its No. 1 Public Notice declaring temporary closure of the city's outbound routes at its airports and railway stations from 10 a.m. on the same day. Wuhan, a mega-city with a population of tens millions was "closed" due to the epidemic, an unprecedented move in the history of human infectious disease prevention and control. 

After the outbreak, the Chinese government adopted comprehensive and strict control measures so as to cut off the chain of virus transmission at the first time. The most stringent closure and traffic control orders were imposed on Hubei Province and Wuhan City. Accurate region-specific and tiered prevention and control measures were implemented in other parts of the country. In order to protect people's lives and health, China strictly controlled the movement of people across the country, extended the Spring Festival holiday, stopped people’s gatherings, and postponed the opening of schools and business operations nationwide, thus swiftly curbing the spread of the epidemic and preventing more people from being infected. China has made a wise choice to protect the lives and health of its people at the cost of a short-term economic downturn and even a temporary shutdown.  

Through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice, and after having paid a heavy price, China has succeeded in swiftly turning the situation around. In little more than a single month, the rising spread of the virus was contained; in around two months, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases was reduced to single digits; and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan.In an editorial, The Lancet, an renowned medical journal, commented, "China’s success has come with huge social and economic costs. China must make difficult decisions to achieve an optimal balance between health and economic protection. "






2. Sparing No Effort to Treat Patients and Save Lives at All Costs

Xi Jinping pointed out that we must try our best to treat patients at all costs. Taking advantage of the mechanism of "ensuring a coordinated national response to make great achievements", China has mobilized great resources across the nation and conducted large-scale treatment as never before, leaving no single infected person unchecked and no single patient abandoned. From the elderly aged around 100 to the newborn babies, none of them was given up. The World Health Organization commented that "the speed and scale of China's actions are rare in the world, showing China's speed, scale and efficiency".

At the initial stage of treatment succeeding the outbreak, Hubei Province and Wuhan City faced extreme shortage on medical materials supply. The rapidly increasing number of infections was in stark constrast with the shortage of hospital beds in specialist hospitals for treating infectious diseases. Then, Huoshenshan Hospital was built in 10 days, and Leishenshan Hospital in 12 days. China's speed has won precious time for the rescue and treatment of severe cases with Covid-19. In order to get all confirmed patients hospitalized and stem the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible, Wuhan creatively transformed a number of stadiums and exhibition centers into 16 Fangcang shelter hospitals under the guidance of the experts from the Central Steering Group, and admitted and treated over 12,000 patients in total.

Treatment expenses of the infected with Covid-19 were covered by the medical insurance with necessary subsidies from the state finance, which demonstrates the advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics in guaranteeing people's livelihood. China provided free treatment for all patients diagnosed with Covid-19 to ensure that no patient was precluded from being properly treated for financial reasons. According to statistics, as of May 31, 2020, the per capita medical expenses of confirmed inpatients reached 23,000 yuan (RMB), of which the per capita treatment cost for severe inpatients exceeded 150,000 yuan, and the treatment costs for a few critical inpatients reached hundreds of thousands or even more than 1 million yuan. In May 2020, Wuhan City, Hubei Province launched an all-inclusive nucleic acid test for its population. Nearly ten millions of people completed the free test within 10 days, and the expenses of more than RMB 900 million Yuan thus incurred were covered by the government.

China has mobilized medical resources and strengths of the whole country to fully support the medical treatment of Covid-19 patients in Hubei Province and Wuhan City. A total of 346 national medical teams, 42,600 medical personnel, and more than 900 public health personnel nationwide raced against the clock to assist Wuhan. Nineteen provinces dispatched medical teams to Hubei’s 16 cities other than Wuhan by means of the pairing assistance mechanism. Medical equipment and material resources such as ventilators, artificial lungs (ECMO), protective clothing and N95 masks were continuously delivered to Hubei and Wuhan, providing a strong guarantee for treating patients and saving lives. Since the outbreak, Hubei Province has successfully cured more than 3,000 Covid-19 patients that are over 80 years old, 7 of whom are over 100 years old.





3. Mobilizing All Chinese People to Fight the Epidemic Together 

After the outbreak of the epidemic, the Chinese people across the country bore the overall situation in mind and properly responded to the instructions and calls. They carried out self-monitored quarantine, stayed behind closed doors and supported the fight against the epidemic. With a high degree of trust in the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, the Chinese people consciously assumed social responsibilities, wearing masks outdoors, measuring their body temperatures regularly, and meticulously practising social distancing. On the battlefield of community prevention and control, CPC members and officials took the lead in mobilizing the residents to carry out joint and society-wide prevention and control. They relied closely on the people to build a steel defense line against the epidemic. People from all walks of life, such as grassroots community workers, police, officials dispatched to work in communities, volunteers, and couriers went all out to make selfless contributions and rallied a powerful force to combat the epidemic. 

The Communist Party of China has fully demonstrated its true nature of rooting in and serving the people. More than 4.6 million grassroots party organizations across the country have extensively mobilized, organized, rallied and served the people. Thus strong fortresses have been built to fight the epidemic. According to statistics, more than 39 million CPC members and officials across the country have performed their duties on the front line against the epidemic, and more than 13 million CPC members contributed their voluntary services. CPC members and officials together with the people constituted the main force in defeating the epidemic. Also in the process, trade unions, Communist Youth Leagues, Women's Federations and various social organizations, led by the Chinese Communist Party, participated in the fight against the epidemic extensively, demonstrating the Chinese mettle with voluntary dedication, friendship and mutual support. 

The Chinese people at home and abroad launched a high wave of fund and material donations for epidemic prevention through various ways and channels, making an anti-epidemic epic of helping each other and overcoming difficulties side by side. The fund and material donations represent the wholehearted support of compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao SARs, compatriots in Taiwan and overseas Chinese for the motherland in need to fight the epidemic. Later, given the rapid spread of Covid-19 around the world, President Xi Jinping personally called leaders of many countries, hoping for them to attach great importance to and safeguard the health and safety of overseas Chinese citizens. The Chinese government has unreservedly shared prevention and control experience with WHO and the international community, provided emergency assistance for more than 100 countries and regional organizations, exported epidemic prevention materials, proactively carried out international scientific research exchanges and cooperation, and strove to build a global shared community of health for all.





4. Coordinating Epidemic Prevention and Control with Economic and Social Development 

The epidemic will eventually be gone, and life has to continue. When the epidemic in Wuhan and Hubei Province as a whole was put under control and the national epidemic situation became universally moderate, the CPC Central Committee made a major decision to coordinate epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development for resuming work and production in an orderly manner. On February 23, President Xi Jinping attended the meeting for coordinating epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development. Through video confererencing, he directly called on the 170,000 officials present at the event across the country to be mobilized, emphasizing the need to fully tap the potential of development momentum in the context of epidemic prevention and control to achieve the goals and fulfill the tasks set for the years’ economic and social development. 

In the process of dealing with the epidemic, China has made scientific judgments and implemented precise policies, and maintained social stability and normal functioning. Although China has adopted the strictest control measures in both urban and rural areas, the supplies of various materials are sufficient, the supplies of water, electricity and heating stay unchanged, the key industries related to the national economy and people's livelihood keep operating smoothly, and the basic livelihood of 1.4 billion people is effectively guaranteed. Through the epidemic, the society was in good order, and the public security and public safety situation remained stable.

The Chinese government has formulated the policies of "six stabilizations" and "six guarantees", taking the lead in resuming work and production across the world. In the first quarter of this year, China's economic and social development withstood the severe ordeal brought about by the epidemic, and showed strong resilience on the whole. On average, 99 percent of the enterprises of designated size across the country have resumed operation, and over 80 percent of the SMEs have resumed operations. The Chinese government has formulated a series of tax and fee reduction policies to relieve the burden of enterprises, especially SMEs and self-employed businesses. All regions and departments have tried every means to ensure employment and people's livelihood. China's economic operation is returning to normal at an accelerating rate, and its economic vitality is being rapidly unleashed. Under the premise of normalized epidemic prevention and control, shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and all other facilities have been opened gradually. A total of 163 million students (including children in kindergartens) across the country have returned to schools and resumed classes.


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