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Saving lives top priority, global scholars conclude

Author  :  Zhang Yi     Source  :    China Daily     2020-05-11

Protecting the lives of people in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak must take priority and countries should seek common ground in cooperation, said scholars of human rights studies.

A seminar on protecting human rights during the outbreak held by the China Society for Human Rights Studies was attended by about 40 scholars from five countries online over the weekend.

Fu Zitang, vice-president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, said the right to life is the prerequisite and necessary condition for all other human rights.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the primary responsibility of all governments to do everything possible to treat infected people and protect their right to life, he said.

Han Dayuan, director of Center for Human Rights Studies at Renmin University of China, said faced with such a disaster, it is necessary for a country to balance various interests, including national investment, economic development and the lives of people.

From the whole decision-making of the Party and the government on epidemic control, it's clear that China places the value of life first, the biggest consensus of all of society, Han said.

When people's lives, health and safety are threatened by the virus, the country devotes itself to the sacred cause of defending life without hesitation. This is the Party's view of human rights and the spirit of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, he said.

China would rather slow down economic development and bear the pressure of an economic downturn while firmly choosing to save every life at all costs, he said.

For example, the Chinese government has announced that the cost of treating COVID-19 patients and suspected patients will be covered by the government, Han said.

To save the life of a 70-year-old man in Wuhan, medical workers took care of him for three months, at a total cost of 1.4 million yuan ($197,900), all paid by the State. He was finally cured and discharged from hospital at the end of April.

In Wuhan, more than 3,600 people over 80 years old have recovered, at a recovery rate of over 70 percent.

Han said no matter what epidemic prevention measures countries take, they should adopt a common position of protecting life, which is also the moral basis for international cooperation in fighting the epidemic.

He added that countries should promote dialogue and diversity and work together to save more lives.

Countries take different measures to fight the pandemic, said Peter Peverelli, a scholar from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The differences are due to the cultural differences, he said.




Editor: Yu Hui

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