Anti-China feel­ing masks West’s own COVID-19 fail­ures, says The Lancet chief ed­i­tor

Fiji Sun - - ASIA/CHINA NEWS -

Lon­don: To blame China for this pan­demic is to re­write the his­tory of COVID-19 and to marginalis­e the fail­ings of Western na­tions, said Richard Hor­ton, ed­i­tor-in-chief of med­i­cal jour­nal The Lancet.

“The present wave of an­tiChina sen­ti­ment has now evolved into an un­pleas­ant, even racist, sino­pho­bia, which threat­ens in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity,” Mr Hor­ton said in an opin­ion ar­ti­cle re­cently pub­lished by Bri­tish news­pa­per The Guardian.

“At mo­ments of geopo­lit­i­cal stress, it is surely bet­ter to in­ten­sify, not weaken, per­sonal and in­sti­tu­tional re­la­tion­ships. It is surely bet­ter to build bet­ter un­der­stand­ing be­tween peo­ples,” Mr Hor­ton said.

“China’s 1.4 bil­lion peo­ple are not im­mune from the eco­nomic shocks that are cur­rently en­velop­ing the world. A pan­demic is a mo­ment for sol­i­dar­ity be­tween peo­ples, not con­flict be­tween gov­ern­ments,” he said.

A pan­demic is a mo­ment for “con­cil­i­a­tion, re­spect, and hon­esty be­tween friends,” Mr Hor­ton noted.

In­stead of ac­cel­er­at­ing a new cold war be­tween the West and China, Mr Hor­ton called on medicine and med­i­cal sci­ence to help es­tab­lish a new com­pact be­tween na­tions.

He also praised China’s sci­en­tists who acted “de­ci­sively and re­spon­si­bly” to pro­tect the health of the Chi­nese peo­ple in the case of COVID-19.

“They ad­vised early lock­down to cut the lines of vi­ral trans­mis­sion. They im­ple­mented strict phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing poli­cies to re­duce so­cial mix­ing. And they built tem­po­rary hospi­tals to ex­pand bed ca­pac­ity and to en­able triage of the sick­est pa­tients to in­ten­sive care,” he said.

Photo: Xin­hua

Two med­i­cal staff mem­bers from north­west China’s Qing­hai Prov­ince take a rest be­fore leav­ing the Wuchang tem­po­rary hospi­tal in Wuhan, cen­tral China’s Hubei Prov­ince.

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