China's COVID Response: Fact check on alleged failure of China's COVID policy
Claim:China’s COVID response a failure.
Fact:China’s COVID response strived to safeguard people’s lives and well-being and minimized the impacts of the epidemic on economic and social development to the greatest extent, which was successfully achieved in the past three years.
1) Safeguarding people’s lives and well-being
During the fight against COVID-19, China has effectively coordinated pandemic response with economic and social development, and refined the response policy in light of the evolving situation.
Over the past three years, China has effectively responded to five global COVID waves and avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, which are more pathogenic than the other variants.
The increase in life expectancy during the pandemic bespeaks China’s anti-COVID success. Over the past two years, China has increased life expectancy by 0.63 years, from 77.93 in 2020 to 78.2 in 2021.
In addition, China is one of the few countries to have a continuously advancing score in the human development index (HDI) amidst COVID-19, where the country’s score increased from 0.761 in 2019 to 0.768 in 2021. The United Nations Development Programme’s HDI, which measures a nation’s health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row, where 90 percent of the countries registered a decline in their human development index score in either 2020 or 2021. One of the factors influencing the decline is the COVID-19 pandemic.
2) Minimize the epidemic’s impacts on economic development
In 2020, China became the first major economy to return to growth since the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite pressures including epidemic resurgences and a complicated external environment, China’s economy continued to post steady growth in 2021 and 2022.
According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2021, China’s GDP expanded 8.4 percent year on year to 114.92 trillion yuan (about $16.52 trillion). In 2022, the country’s GDP grew 3 percent year on year to a record 121.0207 trillion yuan (about $17.95 trillion).
3) Minimize the epidemic’s impacts on social development
In the past three years, majority of Chinese people have managed to restore normalcy and return to the hustle and bustle of their daily lives after a few weeks of staying at home and convalescing indoors. Many people travelled during the Spring Festival periods to reunite with families, and movie-goers regularly visited cinemas for new releases.
The Spring Festival travel peak is China"s largest annual travel rush. It is a 40-day period when many Chinese people travel to reunite with their families for the Chinese New Year. In 2021, an estimated 870 million trips were made nationwide. In 2022, a total of 1.06 billion passenger trips were made, marking a 21.8-percent increase from the 2021 level.
The Spring Festival holiday is also one of the most popular times for people to go to the movies. In 2021, China"s box office revenue during the week-long holiday hit a record high of 7.8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion), with a 32-percent jump from 5.9 billion yuan during the 2019 holiday. In 2022, total box office revenue of China’s Spring Festival holiday surpassed 6 billion yuan ($943.7 million).
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has weathered waves of mass infections and managed to hold its own when the novel coronavirus was most rampant. Confronted by epidemic uncertainties, China has always been putting people’s lives and health first, adapting its COVID response in light of the evolving situation, and striving to “achieve the maximum prevention and control effects at the smallest cost and minimize the impacts of the epidemic on economic and social development.” China’s COVID response policy has not only saved precious lives and made it possible for economic and social life to recover in a relatively short time in China.Editor: JYZ
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