The Citizen (KZN)

We’ve passed historic test – Xi


- Beijing

President doles out gold medals to four ‘heroes’ from the medical field.

China has passed “an extraordin­ary and historic test” with its handling of the coronaviru­s, President Xi Jinping said yesterday at a triumphant awards ceremony for medical profession­als decorated with bugle calls and applause.

The nation’s propaganda machine has churned out praise for the Chinese government’s Covid-19 response, reframing the public health crisis as an example of the agility and organisati­on of the Communist leadership.

Xi doled out gold medals to four

“heroes” from the medical field in front of hundreds of applauding delegates on Tuesday, all wearing face masks and strikingly large red flower pins.

“We have passed an extraordin­ary and historic test,” Xi said, praising the country for a “heroic struggle” against the disease.

“We quickly achieved initial success in the people’s war against the coronaviru­s... We are leading the world in economic recovery and in the fight against Covid-19.”

China has come under intense global scrutiny over its response to the virus, with the United States and Australia leading accusation­s against Beijing that it covered up the origins and severity of the virus.

Xi had stern words for China’s doubters saying “selfish moves, any buck-passing and deeds that confuse right and wrong” risked inflicting damage across the world.

Yesterday’s lavish ceremony in the Great Hall of the People began with a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives during the outbreak.

The four awardees included 83-year-old Zhong Nanshan – the country’s most famous medical expert who emerged as the face of China’s fight against the contagion. He was awarded China’s top national medal by Xi, who placed it around Zhong’s neck.

“We will join hands with the... world’s medical workers to continue the fight in tracing the origins of the virus,” said Zhong.

Beijing has insisted the source of the virus – which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year – is still unknown.

Three others were given the honorary title of “The People’s Hero”, including biochemica­l expert Chen Wei, the head of a hospital in Wuhan, and a 72-yearold expert in traditiona­l Chinese medicine. – AFP

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