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Turn the Fighting Spirit Against Covid-19 into a Powerful Force for National Rejuvenation

Source: Xi Jinping The Governance of China IV Updated: 2023-05-19

Turn the Fighting Spirit Against Covid-19 into a Powerful Force for National Rejuvenation*

September 8, 2020

The great strategic success we have achieved in the fight against Covid-19 is a testament to the strengths of the leadership of the CPC, China’s socialist system, the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, our profound cultural heritage, and our sense of mission as a responsible major country. This success has significantly boosted the confidence, pride, unity, and cohesion of the entire Party and all the Chinese people. It will inspire us to keep forging ahead over all obstacles on our journey in the new era.

In the fierce battle against Covid-19, the Chinese people and the Chinese nation have shown extraordinary mettle and fought courageously for victory. While fighting the virus, we have put life above all else, rallied the entire country, braved danger, respected science, and stood together through adversity.

– Putting life above all else embodies the Chinese people’s deep-rooted tradition of compassion and the people-centered philosophy of China’s Communists.

As an ancient Chinese philosopher said, “Compassion means loving and helping others.” Human compassion will prevail over the merciless virus. Life is the most precious of all things, for we only live once; once lost, life can never be restored. When lives are at stake, we must protect them at all costs, a promise we are capable of delivering because the fundamental mission of our Party is to serve the people wholeheartedly, and because ours is a socialist country run by the people.

We took the decisive step of closing outbound traffic from Wuhan City and the rest of Hubei Province, and put in place control measures unprecedented in their stringency. This was a decision that required enormous political courage and a strong sense of responsibility, but we were prepared to do whatever it took to protect the lives of the people. From newborn babies just 30 hours old to elderly people over the age of 100, and from international students to other foreign expatriates in the country, every life was fully protected, valued and respected. All this best illustrates the people-centered governance philosophy of our Party, the Chinese ethos and ethics that human life is invaluable, and the Chinese people’s reverence for life.

– Rallying the entire country embodies the great strength of unity that enables us to stand together through thick and thin.

Despite the huge physical and mental stress caused by the mortal threat of the virus and long stretches of time under quarantine, our people refused to back down in the face of challenges and dangers. In their own ways, they bravely contributed to epidemic control, either rushing to the front line or holding firm at their posts.

Our people across the country united as one with a single purpose in mind. We knew what was at stake: the wellbeing of every one of us, the common interests of our communities, and the safety of our nation. Doctors and nurses in white coats, military personnel in green uniforms, police officers in blue gear, and volunteers in red vests all played their part. Party members rushed to the front line, and their pledge to keep fighting until the virus was defeated has shown their loyalty to the Party and the people. The 1.4 billion Chinese have stood together shoulder to shoulder, side by side, and proved an important truth: In unity there is strength.

– Braving danger embodies the indomitable will of the Chinese people to overcome whatever difficulties we encounter.

At the moment of crisis when Covid-19 struck, everyone responded heroically. People fighting the virus on various fronts rose to the challenge, put themselves in harm’s way, and risked their own lives. They performed their duty with compassion and protected others with their own lives. Among them was a hospital president who, himself infected, gave up the chance to save his own life so he could give hope to other patients. There was a husband who could not give his wife the wedding he had promised. There was a mother who lost her life at her post saving others, and never returned home to her young child.

The Chinese have confronted the rampant virus head-on, like explorers pushing into the mountains undaunted by the presence of stalking tigers, and together we have written a moving epic. The reason that the Chinese nation has been able to thrive despite countless disasters is never because of a savior, but thanks to hundreds of millions of ordinary people stepping forward to brave the dark for others.

– Respecting science embodies the Chinese character of pragmatism and innovation.

Faced with an unknown infectious disease, we maintained a rational mindset and attitude, and followed the laws of science in all respects and throughout the process of decision-making, treatment, research, and social governance. In the absence of proven effective medicines, we used both Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, and upgraded national diagnostic and treatment protocols eight times. We identified traditional Chinese and Western medicines and treatment methods that have proved effective in clinical practice, including the Three TCM Drugs and Three Herbal Formulas, and they have been adopted or used as references by several countries.

We raced to build temporary treatment centers, conducted vaccine research through multiple technical approaches, carried out nucleic acid testing on a massive scale, traced infections with big data, introduced health code verification, implemented differentiated, tiered response measures tailored to different localities, and promoted the orderly resumption of work. All the results have justified our respect for rational thinking, and equipped us with powerful scientific and technological tools to help us defeat the epidemic.

– Standing together through adversity embodies the Chinese people’s love for peace, and commitment to looking out for others.

A noble cause is never a lonely pursuit, and compassion knows no borders. Upholding the belief that all countries are members of one and the same family, we take responsibility for the lives and health of the Chinese people; we also make due contribution to global public health security. We have launched the most wide-ranging and intense emergency humanitarian assistance campaign since the founding of the PRC in 1949, and have contributed to the global fight against Covid-19 on an ongoing basis. China has proved to be a responsible major country that honors its word, values friendship, upholds justice, and champions integrity – a country committed to pursuing a more harmonious world and building a global community of shared future.

Just as inner strength is indispensable for individuals, it is also essential for nations. Indeed, only with inner strength can a nation stand tall and firm while weathering the tide of challenging times. The ability to overcome difficulties demands not only material resources but also an indomitable will. The great spirit that we have forged in the battle against Covid-19 is deeply rooted in the character of the Chinese nation and our cultural genes. It carries and builds on patriotism, collectivism, and socialism, and illustrates and enriches the ethos of both our nation and our times. We should promote this great spirit in our society and turn it into a powerful force for building a modern socialist country and realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

“To know the flavor of a thing, one must taste it; to know what lies ahead on a path, one must walk it.” In this heroic battle against the coronavirus, we have accumulated important experience, and gained deep insights.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China is the pillar that the people can rely on when crisis strikes.

Our Party comes from the people and has its roots among them. Everything it does is for the people, and it relies on the people in everything it does. The Party has thus earned the wholehearted and unwavering support of the public, which provides a broad and solid foundation for its leadership and governance of the country.

When the virus struck, the central leadership immediately called on all Party members to rush to the front line, and keep the Party flag flying high in the battle against the virus. This fully demonstrates the sense of mission and strength of character of China’s Communists. Throughout the battle, Party members across the country have kept the original aspiration and founding mission of our Party firmly in mind and lived up to their exemplary role. Over 25,000 outstanding individuals swore their oaths and joined the Party on the front line.

It is precisely because of the leadership of the Party and the support given to the Party by the people across the country, that China has achieved rapid economic growth and lasting social stability, a remarkable achievement by any standard. With this leadership and support we have responded swiftly to emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, and the SARS epidemic, and emerged from the battle against Covid-19. History and our experience have shown that as long as we uphold and strengthen the Party’s overall leadership, and reinforce its ability to provide political leadership and theoretical guidance, to organize and inspire the people, and to maintain close bonds between the Party and the people, we will create a powerful synergy that enables us to deal with all complexities, risks and challenges.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the unyielding will of the Chinese people is the source of strength that enables us to overcome all obstacles and difficulties as we move forward.

Hard times have put us to the test and made us stronger. It is by facing all odds with tenacity and perseverance that we have been able to resist foreign aggression, fight to keep our country together when it was being torn apart, build the country up from a base of utter destitution, and keep pace with a changing world. This is why the Chinese nation now stands tall and proud among the nations of the world.

For centuries, the Chinese people have been known for resilience, cohesiveness, tenacity and creativity, and we are all proud to be called Chinese. History and our experience have shown that as long as we rely on the people, do everything with their interests in mind, and encourage their indomitable will and determination, we will be able to forge stronger unity and bring new glory to our nation.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the strengths of China’s socialist system make it possible for us to defuse risks, resolve challenges, and strengthen the governance of our country.

An important criterion for judging the success and strengths of a country’s system is whether it is able to mobilize the whole nation to respond to major risks and challenges. With China’s socialist system, we have a great capacity to mobilize, coordinate, and take action, as well as a unique ability to pool resources to complete major, difficult, and urgent undertakings. The fight against Covid-19 is a vivid illustration of the strengths of China’s state and governance systems. History and our experience have shown that as long as we uphold and improve China’s socialist system, modernize China’s governance system and capacity, and fully leverage the ability of our system to respond to risks and challenges, we will be able to withstand the trials we face, turn challenges into opportunities, and emerge stronger time and time again.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the robust strength our country has built up since the founding of the People’s Republic has given us the confidence to navigate stormy seas with composure.

Over the years, China has built up solid material foundations, a complete system of industries, strong scientific and technological capabilities, and abundant medical resources, all of which have underpinned our effective epidemic response. After the virus struck, we took swift action to mobilize people and supplies, intensify research, and gather and transport essential materials. At the height of the epidemic much of China’s economic and social development was put on hold, but people’s lives were not seriously affected and society generally carried on as normal. This is, in essence, attributable to the composite national strength that China has built up since the founding of the People’s Republic – and particularly since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978 – and to China’s ability to fully leverage this strength in times of crisis.

History and our experience have shown that we will be able to ensure that the great ship of Chinese socialism can cleave the waves and sail steadily into the future, as long as we continue to unleash and develop productive forces, build our economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength, give people a stronger sense of gain, fulfillment and security, and steadily boost the material foundations for upholding and developing Chinese socialism and realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the core socialist values and traditional Chinese culture are a powerful force for inspiring our people, rallying their support, and pooling their strength.

Cultural confidence is the most essential, profound, and enduring source of strength for a country. A culture featuring the pursuit of excellence and virtue serves as a crucial bond bringing the people and the nation to stand together as one. Throughout history, we Chinese have always cherished deep feelings for our nation, the same way as we do for our family. We hold dear the values of putting one’s interests aside for the common good, fulfilling one’s duties to secure the future of the nation, standing together through times of adversity, looking out for one another, and respecting the elderly and caring for the young. We also believe that with freedom comes self-restraint, and with rights come responsibilities.

In the fight against Covid-19, the 1.4 billion Chinese have forged a powerful line of defense by acting with a keen sense of responsibility, self-discipline, dedication, compassion, unity and solidarity. History and our experience have shown that as long as we foster and live by the core socialist values and keep the best of traditional Chinese culture alive, we will be able to create a wellspring of inspiration and motivation for all the people across the country to forge ahead together.

– The fight against Covid-19 has once again demonstrated that the endeavor to build a global community of shared future has wide appeal, and it is the right approach in tackling humanity’s common challenges and shaping a more prosperous and beautiful world.

In a way, Covid-19 is a wakeup call for the world, reminding us that our destinies are intertwined and that no country can afford to go it alone in the face of such a major crisis. What we should do is to work together as a team. Those who act out of self-interest, assign blame to others, twist facts, or call black white will end up harming not only their own country and people, but many other peoples around the world. History and our experience have shown that as long as all countries are committed to building a global community of shared future, upholding multilateralism, and boosting unity and cooperation, the people of the world will be able to meet whatever challenges we face and make this planet a beautiful home for all of us.

Changes on a scale unseen in a century are gripping the world at an accelerating pace, and the tasks of advancing reform, promoting development, and maintaining stability are arduous. As we move on from the First Centenary Goal towards the Second Centenary Goal, we must fully implement our Party’s underlying theories, basic guidelines, and fundamental principles, and act on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. We must follow the new development philosophy and focus on creating the new development dynamic. We must pay sufficient attention to both domestic and international imperatives, pursue development while safeguarding security, and modernize our system and capacity for governance. This will enable us to continuously advance the cause of the Party and the state.

In the coming period, we must focus on the following tasks:

– We will steadfastly implement regularized control measures and work to prevail over Covid-19.

The virus is still spreading around the world. In our country, the risk of sporadic cases and local surges still exists. Fully defeating this virus thus requires a consistent effort. We must remain vigilant, work tirelessly, and take comprehensive and effective steps to prevent both inbound cases and domestic resurgence. We must adopt normalized and targeted control measures, and be ready to address isolated emergencies. We must not, under any circumstances, let the hard-won progress we have made against the epidemic go to waste.

We need to step up our efforts to develop medicines and vaccines, carry out extensive public health campaigns, upgrade public health facilities, and raise the cultural and ethical quality of the whole nation. We must ensure public health and epidemic control in all communities so that they will form a strong line of defense against the virus across the country.

– We will take solid steps to stabilize the Six Fronts and guarantee the Six Priorities so as to meet our goals of eradicating extreme poverty and building a moderately prosperous society.

We need to boost confidence and redouble our efforts to make up for lost time and repair the damage caused by the coronavirus. We will put in place medium- and long-term mechanisms for coordinating epidemic response with economic and social development.

We will continue to prioritize supply-side structural reform, extend reform and opening up, and expand domestic demand as a strategic pivot. We should protect and boost the vigor of market entities, fully implement macro policies to deliver their intended effects, and reinforce the stability and competitiveness of industrial and supply chains.

We will mobilize resources and intensify efforts to resolve prominent problems and strengthen weak links in poverty elimination. We will always bear in mind the interests of our people, help them resolve difficulties they encounter in employment, income, education, social security, medical insurance, and housing, and take solid steps to ensure and improve their wellbeing.

– We will move more quickly to strengthen weak links in our governance and provide sound institutional safeguards for the health and safety of the people.

Covid-19 is an intense challenge to our system and capacity for governance. We should act swiftly to address problems, plug loopholes, and reinforce weak points in our institutions and mechanisms, so as to raise our ability to tackle major public health emergencies.

We will build a robust public health system, improve our disease prevention and control system, and establish a major epidemic prevention, control and treatment system that works in times of both peace and emergency. We will strengthen legal safeguards and scientific and technological support for public health, upgrade our capacity for stockpiling emergency supplies to ensure their provision, and consolidate community-level efforts to underpin interdepartmental and society-wide prevention and control.

We will improve the systems for urban governance and for urban and rural grassroots governance, embrace a vision of comprehensive urban health management, and make overall social governance more efficient. We should stay alert to biorisks and upgrade our country’s capacity for biorisk management.

– We will uphold the vision of a global community of shared future and work with the international community to tackle global challenges that are growing in severity.

China will continue to promote international cooperation against the coronavirus, support the WHO’s leading role in the global response, and share with other countries its experience in Covid-19 prevention, control and treatment. As the largest supplier of medical supplies, we will continue to provide assistance to vulnerable countries and regions, and contribute to building a global community of health for all.

We will expand mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, continue to promote economic globalization, uphold the multilateral trading system, and maintain the secure and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains, thus making our contribution to the speedy recovery of the global economy.

We are ready to work with other countries to establish more inclusive global governance, build more effective multilateral mechanisms, and pursue more active regional cooperation. We will work together to address regional disputes and global issues such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity threats, and biorisks, in a common pursuit of a brighter future for humanity.

– We must always have plans in place for worst-case scenarios, stay vigilant against potential dangers, and effectively forestall and defuse any risks we may encounter on the road ahead.

Just as a rainbow appears after rain, opportunities are born out of challenges; this embodies an eternal law of dialectics. Never in the hundred years of Party history, the seven decades of the People’s Republic, or the four decades of reform and opening up, have we experienced completely untroubled waters. Success and progress are reserved for those who face challenges head-on rather than looking for an easy way out.

We must gain a full understanding of major domestic and international trends, strengthen strategic, systematic, and forward-thinking research and planning, and be prepared, in both thought and deed, to face long periods of change in the external environment. We must foster new opportunities amid crises and open up new horizons on a shifting landscape.

We must maintain our fighting spirit, gathering the courage and capability to surmount all difficulties. We should adapt our tactics to evolving circumstances, rally all available forces, and mobilize all favorable factors as we strive towards new victories in the great historic struggle with many new features.

“Just as Heaven maintains vigor through movement, a gentleman makes unremitting efforts to perfect himself.” A nation is great because it never gives up, never retreats, and never stops moving forward. No matter what setbacks it faces, it will keep fighting for a better future.

The Chinese people have experienced both hardship and glory in our 5,000 years of civilization, and we will continue to forge ahead on our great journey in the new era. No force or individual can stop the Chinese people from seeking a better life.

Let us unite closer, carry forward the heroic spirit against Covid-19, and forge ahead with resolve. Let us strive to reach our goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and winning the battle against poverty, and achieve new and historic successes in building a modern socialist country.


* Part of the speech at a national gathering to honor outstanding individuals and groups in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic.

(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)