Part Seven Unity Is Strength.
- Xi Jinping Inspecting Frontline Epidemic Prevention and Control
On February 10, 2020, Xi Jinping inspected COVID-19 prevention and control work in Beijing. On March 2, he visited the scientists and researchers working against the coronavirus in the capital city.
On March 10, the Chinese president went to Wuhan, the main battleground, to inspect the prevention and control work. He visited the Huoshenshan Hospital and the Donghu Xincheng Community, where he greeted the front-line medical workers, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders and soldiers, community workers, police officers, grassroots officials and those designated from higher levels, volunteers, patients and residents. He encouraged them to fight with confidence to win the battle against the epidemic. During his visit to the residential quarters, the president waved to the residents undergoing home quarantine and encouraged them to “join the efforts and fight together.” He urged local officials to guarantee the supply of fresh fish, which is well liked by Wuhan people. Xi praised the healthcare workers as “the most admirable people” in the new era, and expressed deep gratitude from the Party and the whole nation to the Wuhan people. Xi Jinping chaired a teleconference after the field inspection. It was the first time he “met” with officials from across Hubei Province in this way after a teleconference to coordinate national epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development on February 23, and another on poverty elimination on March 6.
Xi told the conference that the epidemic containment in Hubei and Wuhan is trending on a positive direction, with initial progress achieved in stabilizing the situation and turning the tide. However, the task remains arduous. At this critical moment, people must be sober-minded, remain alert, continue the efforts and continue to take epidemic prevention and control as the top priority and the most important task. All prevention and control measures should be implemented down to the last detail, to defend Wuhan and Hubei and win the war against the epidemic.
Xi pointed out that the response to the epidemic is a big test of China’s governance system and capacity. There are both experience and lessons. People should take a long-term view, draw experience and lessons for the future, and work swiftly to address inadequacies and fix weak links in the governance system, so as to consolidate the institutional defense to ensure people’s health and safety. Efforts should be made to enhance urban governance as well as urban and rural community management. People should develop “full-cycle management” awareness, and explore new ways of modernizing the governance of mega cities.
2. Medical Workers
After the outbreak of COVID-19, a vast number of medical workers bid farewell to their loved ones and went in harm’s way. As warriors in white, they devoted every effort to save patients. Xi Jinping spoke highly of the medical workers on the front line, calling them “the most admirable people” in the new era, messengers of brightness and hope, the most beautiful angels, and true heroes.
Xi Jinping made instructions on different occasions about the care for the medical workers fighting against the epidemic. He emphasized that medical workers are the backbone in beating the epidemic, and they shall be well protected and given full support. The front-line medics shall have access to sufficient protective equipment and daily necessities, and have off-days in rotation and psychological counseling. The pay package, additional subsidies and epidemic prevention allowances for the medical staff should be fully delivered, their worries be lifted, and incentive mechanism be further improved, so that they will stay strong and healthy to fight the epidemic.
During the anti-epidemic combat, the PLA, central ministries and commissions, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government altogether dispatched more than 340 medical teams consisting of over 42,000 healthcare workers to aid Hubei. As the conditions turned for the better, the medical teams completed their mission and withdrew in an orderly manner. A poster depicting the back of “soldiers in white” with the words “Thank you for fighting for us” went viral on the internet, as it voiced the heartfelt gratitude of the people of Wuhan and Hubei.
3. PLA Commanders and Soldiers
After the outbreak of the coronavirus, the PLA resolutely implemented the decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee, and promptly launched joint prevention and control mechanism. Emergency teams were drawn to the front line, becoming an indispensable force in the anti-epidemic fight.
At the meeting held on February 23 to promote nationwide epidemic control and economic and social development, Xi Jinping pointed out that the PLA commanders and soldiers had acted upon orders and were brave to fight a tough battle, which demonstrated the political character of the people’s army and their loyalty to the Party and the people.
“If a war befalls, the PLA is ready to fight when the call comes.” Under the unified command of the CPC Central Committee, more than 10,000 PLA medical staff rushed to the front line and devoted themselves to saving lives. They were among the first to start receiving patients and treating the seriously ill in the isolated wards. Over 1,000 troops and 100 vehicles were mobilized every day to assist the local epidemic prevention and control departments in transporting and unloading medical supplies, cleaning and disinfecting, and posting guards. Militias were dispatched by provincial military commands (garrison commands) to assist local authorities in managing visitors, disinfecting public places, performing vigilance duty, delivering goods and materials, communicating epidemic prevention to the public and other tasks.
“Soldiers are always be ready to go to the battlefield!” From strengthening leadership to rushing to aid Wuhan, from treating the ill to providing comprehensive support, from organizing emergency-related scientific researches to expanding personnel and material delivery capacity, the PLA has once again demonstrated the sheer force of putting people first: Where there is emergency, there is the pioneering people’s army; where there is a need, there is the dedicating people’s army.
4. Community Workers
There are two fronts in the battle against the epidemic: hospital – the life-saving front, and community – the epidemic prevention and control front. When inspecting the epidemic prevention and control in Beijing, Xi Jinping emphasized that communities are the forefront of joint prevention and control, and also an effective defense line against importation of cases and intra-city/region transmission. We can effectively curb the spread if we hold firm the defense line in the communities.
During his inspection in Wuhan, Xi visited Donghu Xincheng Community and talked with the community workers. He called community workers “temporary prime minister of the alleys,” who have to handle all kinds of matters that relate to people’s livelihood.
In the battle against the epidemic, the community workers had overcome various difficulties such as insufficient manpower, limited resources, hard conditions and imperfect protective measures, and remained steadfast at the city’s front line of defense. As all the communities in Wuhan were under grid-based management, grid managers, officials designated from higher levels, volunteers and building coordinators formed different groups to serve the residents. There were telephone communication groups responsible for answering hotline questions for residents, report groups tracking and monitoring residents’ health status with daily telephone inquiries, and purchasing groups buying vegetables and medicines for the residents in need.
A great number of community workers and volunteers across the country delivered necessities to self-isolated residents at home on a daily basis, followed up their health conditions, and helped residents see doctors, transfer to hospitals or get consultation. Their dedication shored up a strong defense line in the communities.
5. Police Officers
The public security organs across China resolutely implemented the instructions given by President Xi Jinping and the decisions and plans made by the CPC Central Committee. The whole police force was mobilized to join the battle. They went all out to combat the epidemic, guard against risks, and ensure safety and stability. The public security officers and police support officers met difficulties head on and remained steadfast to their posts, devoting all their efforts to tackling the virus and maintaining stability.
The public security organs at provincial, municipal and county levels each dispatched 15%, 20%, and 30% of their police forces to support the communities. In total, 342,000-plus police officers worked tirelessly at the front line, risking their lives to protect the people and maintain security. As of April 2, 60 police officers and 35 police support officers sacrificed their lives at the front line, and 20 of them were posthumously honored as second-class heroes.
“If the epidemic does not recede, the police will not retreat.” In the war against COVID-19, a vast number of police officers made great contribution to the society-wide prevention and control. Not only did they punish criminal and other illegal activities that hindered the anti-epidemic fight or undermined social stability, they also went to great lengths to support the resumption of work and production, thus contributing to the positive trending of epidemic prevention and control in China.