Editorial Note: A recent speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that has been published by state media indicates for the first time that he was leading the response to a new virus outbreak from early on in the crisis.
The publication of the Feb. 3 speech was an apparent attempt to demonstrate that the Communist Party leadership had acted decisively from the beginning, but also opens up the Chinese leader to criticism over why the public was not alerted sooner.
In the speech, Xi said he gave instructions on fighting the virus on Jan. 7 and ordered the shutdown that began on Jan. 23 of cities at the epicenter of the outbreak. His remarks were published by state media late Saturday.
In order for China’s ruling Communist Party to have responded to COVID-19 this drastically, the death toll would first have had to exceed local officials’ capacity to cover it up, and then also convinced the nation’s top officials that it represents an existential threat. (Lew Jan Olowski )
Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — An article by President Xi Jinping on the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus will be published Sunday on Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
The article is the transcript of a speech by Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
The article stresses the importance of securing success in the prevention and control work, pointing out that the outcome of the epidemic prevention and control directly affects people’s lives and health, the overall economic and social stability and the country’s opening-up.
Resources for treatment, prevention and protection must be sent to the front line of the battle against the epidemic and priority should be given to meet the needs of frontline medical staff and patients, according to the article.
All-out efforts should be made to improve the admission and survival rates, and reduce the infection and mortality rates, the article says.
The article underlines the need to safeguard social stability, the promotion of public education and communication, as well as ensuring a stable economic performance.
It also stresses improving the country’s emergency management system and capacity of handling urgent, difficult, dangerous and important tasks.
Xi stresses improving mechanism for major epidemic prevention, control
Xi Jinping on Friday stressed improving the mechanism for major epidemic prevention and control and the national public health emergency management system.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, specified the requirements at the 12th meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform, which he chairs.
Noting that safeguarding people’s life and health is a major mission of the Party in governing the country, Xi stressed the need to strengthen areas of weakness and close the loopholes exposed by the current epidemic.
Xi said the current fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic is a major test of China’s system and capacity for governance.
Stressing the need to strengthen legislation on public health, Xi called for the assessment of revising laws and regulations concerning infectious disease prevention and treatment, as well as wildlife protection. He also highlighted speeding up establishing a law on biosecurity, stressing that biosecurity should be included in the system of national security.
Xi urged reforming and improving the disease prevention and control system to prevent major outbreaks, strengthening primary-level capacity, and improving a coordinated system for major public health risk analysis, evaluation, decision-making, and prevention and control.
Xi stressed improving the mechanism for major epidemic emergency response, and enhancing the coordinated mechanism for scientific research, disease control and clinical treatment.
The system of treatment for major epidemics should also be improved, Xi said, encouraging the application of digital technologies including big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing in areas such as epidemic monitoring, tracing virus sources, epidemic prevention and treatment, and resource allocation.
Xi called for improving the medical insurance and medical aid systems for major diseases and a unified system for providing emergency response supplies.
Friday’s meeting was attended by Li Keqiang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, who are members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy heads of the central committee for deepening overall reform.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the committee’s work report for 2019 and highlights for 2020, as well as documents on socialist market economy, pension system, infrastructure development and other areas were adopted.
To speed up the improvement of the socialist market economy in the new era, the new development concept must be fully implemented, the decisive role of the market in resource allocation should be put into full play while the role of the government should be better leveraged, the statement said.
Efforts should be made to create a fairer and more sustainable national pension system and establish a multi-layer social security system.
A modern infrastructure system that is efficient, cost-effective, green, intelligent, safe and reliable is an important pillar to economic and social development, the statement said.
Despite domestic and external challenges, the central committee for deepening overall reform has unveiled reform plans in key areas in 2019 and made progress, the meeting stressed.
The committee vowed to introduce a number of major reform plans in 2020 to solve key problems, focus on establishing better mechanisms, and ensure concrete reform results through evaluations and inspections, the statement said.
Edited by staff