The spirit of China: we will overcome

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A medical worker guides people at a nucleic acid testing site in the Tongzhou District in Beijing, capital of China, June 22, 2020. / Xinhua

A medical worker guides people at a nucleic acid testing site in the Tongzhou District in Beijing, capital of China, June 22, 2020. / Xinhua

Editor’s Note: Laurence Brahm is a senior international researcher at the Center for China and Globalization. The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of CGTN.

Over the past four decades of rapid economic growth, China has met the challenges of reducing poverty and promoting education and economic progress with unprecedented achievements. To a large extent, this has been achieved on the basis of unity among China’s unique population which includes 55 ethnic minorities.

China’s unique ability to overcome challenges flexibly reflects a culture of embracing different cultures and changes itself. Thousands of years of cultural factors combined: the inclination to rapid organizational response in Confucian tradition, the ability to adapt to factors of sudden change harmoniously acclimatize to the forces of nature in Taoism and the ability to think clearly in the present and respond to the future with reference to the past inherent in China’s Buddhist traditions. It is a culture of integrating different traditions into a matrix of synchronic philosophies that have become the underlying matrix of modern Chinese culture.

The strength of the Chinese people lies in their culture and the natural resilience of that culture. Taoism is about change. Buddhism is all about seeing past-present-future simultaneously and turning negative situations into positive ones by realizing that it all depends on how something is perceived.

Confucianism gives the Chinese people the organizational capacity to respond to any situation and crisis and the longitudinal and latitudinal matrix of organization to respond to any situation and crisis. These are three aspects of the Chinese collective unconscious that are always present in everyone in China, and it is a resilience that no Western country or people has.

Another factor is the government’s ability to respond quickly to the crisis thanks to the organizational matrix that has been established from the grassroots to the center of government since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

China aims to immunize at least 70 percent of the target population by the end of 2021. / CFP

China aims to immunize at least 70 percent of the target population by the end of 2021. / CFP

This system of government organization is strong and resilient, as it is based on the common and shared characteristics of the Chinese people which have become an inherent part of their culture and cultural response to all situations. These cultural factors make the Chinese people resilient and responsive to crises. Their positivity allows them to turn every crisis into a new opportunity. And that is exactly what will happen when they overcome COVID-19. Moreover, as they enter a new era of health reform, community health awareness, research and technological development at all levels, in post-crisis reconstruction.

Thirty years ago, China was an impoverished and largely agricultural nation. China has lifted 770 million poor people out of poverty since its reform and opening up in the late 1970s. The goal for 2021 has been to eradicate poverty completely. China has become a model of growth and development. Such development is now focused on rural areas, many of which are remote villages where ethnic groups who may have felt left behind now have the opportunity to become the center of development.

By adopting a policy of ecological civilization in response to the pollution and climate change crisis, China has become a world leader in renewable energy and green finance. The focus on smart infrastructure to ensure trade and connectivity has become a key part of the Belt and Road initiative which has brought so many developing countries together in a matrix in search of a common destiny for Humanity.

While the coronavirus has presented China with one of its most dangerous challenges in decades, it has also imposed an opportunity on China for major health care improvements and reforms in insurance, retirement. and health benefits across the social spectrum. It also raises an additional safety issue in health security, alongside traditional safety concerns and recently discussed environmental security.

It is foreseeable that the coming years will see important reforms. Health care will become a new economic engine for the economy with all the health infrastructure, training, research and development as well as technology that will be needed to meet the challenges of humanity. It is in the Chinese spirit to turn danger into opportunity in the face of a crisis.

I have both observed and participated in many reforms and policies of China to overcome the challenges during the four decades lived here. I have seen a consistent pattern of unity and cooperation among the Chinese people and the meticulous coordination of government policies in the face of a crisis or a challenge. Experience has shown me time and time again that when a crisis strikes, Chinese leaders face it with rational clarity. Something seems to enter the subconscious of both people, and they work together in synergy with the organizational institutions of government to overcome these times of crisis.

This pattern has been reproduced throughout my life in China, and I believe it is an innate aspect of the Chinese collective unconscious that has its roots in the Confucian tradition. Both Taoist and Buddhist philosophical influences embedded in the national cultural psyche allow for skillful flexibility in responding to crisis and a positive outlook of hope in the face of negative adversity. This ability to see the positive through the negative and use that perception to turn even the most difficult situations into advantages is a deeply rooted part of Chinese culture and the collective unconscious of the Chinese people.

In good times, when things are going well, everyone is there to do whatever they want. But in these times of crisis, everyone comes together. This is unique to Chinese culture which allows them to respond and work together. This is what we are seeing happening during this incredible coronavirus crisis. Where the hell could you have so many people and people staying home and quarantining themselves under coordinated government policy? It is a collective response to an unprecedented pandemic. There are very few places in the world where everyone can come together in a collective, patient force. This is unique to China and its people.

For example, at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in China, the government cordoned off and locked down Hubei province. It was an act of responsibility not only to its own people but also to the world community. We are all now aware of the deadly power of the novel coronavirus and the inexplicable occurrence of its rapid spread through the air.

Over the past seven decades, China has lifted an estimated 850 million people out of poverty, which is more than 70% of the world’s poverty reduction. / VCG

Over the past seven decades, China has lifted an estimated 850 million people out of poverty, which is more than 70% of the world’s poverty reduction. / VCG

The ability to lock down and isolate is the first step to being able to contain any virus. But if you imagine the scale of what is happening in Hubei Province to prevent this from affecting other parts of China and the world at large, it’s amazing. This is a true act of global humanitarian responsibility, even at the economic and social expense of China.

When you speak of humanitarianism, it is an act of global concern. It is Chinese culture, the social fabric of its people, and the organizational capacity of its institutions that have enabled China to respond quickly, decisively and collectively to a crisis of incredible and unpredictable proportions.

In such circumstances where the threat of this coronavirus is a threat to anyone, we can see everyone collectively and patiently staying at home – self-isolating, working remotely from home, bypassing dangers to meet this challenge. . I don’t think you would see this response in any of the Western countries whose politicians and mainstream media are so quick to criticize China for everything it does. This is a distinctive collective response between people to work and bond together to get through this crisis together.

One of the reasons why China can respond so effectively is the macro-management system that has evolved to deal with economic reforms, but is now being used to deal with a health and humanitarian crisis. Throughout the 80s and 90s, a system of state management of the economy evolved, as well as checks and balances to avoid economic crisis and the ability to tighten and loosen the floodgates to allow the market to function freely, or use administrative means to guide the market to more stable conditions to avoid volatility. It is in the interest of all collectively rather than in the personal interest of a few.

These areas now offer more opportunities for public and private investment, and there will be a new era of growth with breakthroughs in science, technology and artificial intelligence for healthcare. I believe these are areas in which China will lead the rapprochement with other countries in the region, such as India, where there are similar challenges in population concentration, water and food security, and healthcare. .

We could see new regional growth and economic revitalization. It’s about using the negative to create the positive. It is at the heart of Chinese philosophy and culture. Remember one thing: Never underestimate the resilience of the Chinese people and the organizational capacity of their government to meet a challenge head on. I am not saying this as a theory. I have seen and experienced this throughout my four decades in this country. And I see him again.

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at [email protected])


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