The novel pneumonia epidemic is sweeping across the world. Currently over 100,000 people have been infected in 92 countries, and more than 3,600 lives have been taken. Yet the epidemic is showing signs of a further spread. The world has only one enemy today, and it is the novel coronavirus. What is regrettable is that China and the US are still "exchanging blows" at governmental and civilian levels, not letting up a bit despite the epidemic.
Even when two countries are at war, there are three kinds of people who must not be "killed". The first are doctors. The US repeatedly demanded that its delegation of medical experts be allowed to visit China to inspect the epidemic. China did not grant the request. The WHO sent a joint delegation to China. After much wrangling, representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health became part of the delegation nevertheless. Doctors' bounden duty, i.e. saving lives and helping the injured, is politically neutral. To "kill" doctors is to pay no regard to the well-being of patients. Under no circumstances is this acceptable in any country.
Journalists are the second type of people that cannot be "killed". They report facts in accordance with the principles of journalism. The more journalists one country dispatches to another, the more likely it is for it to understand the situation in that country. The more journalists, the better. However, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a commentary critical of the Chinese authorities' handling of the epidemic, saying that China is the real "sick man of Asia". The Foreign Ministry repeatedly demanded an apology from the newspaper to no avail. Ultimately the permits of three WSJ journalists stationed in China were revoked.
Scholars are the third type of people that cannot be "killed". Academic research is neutral, and its outcome can benefit the entire human race. Currently there are a large number of Chinese people, people of Chinese descent and Chinese students in the US. They play a crucial role in subjects such as technology and engineering. Furthermore, they have inextricable relationships with Chinese scholars, and cooperate with them in many areas. The US government is now suspicious about whether some of these scholars are sending the outcomes of research directly or indirectly to China. Some have been expelled, while others have been tried and sentenced. Amid the epidemic, people from the whole world are in a race against time, trying to develop a vaccine as soon as possible so that people from all around the world can be saved from the devastation wreaked by the virus. The sharing of data for discussion of the direction of research is necessary. If the Chinese and US governments impede the process, the whole world will suffer.
For a long time, China and the US will lock horns with each other in all areas. One recent example has been the election of the director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The Chinese government endorsed Wang Binying, the incumbent deputy director general of the organisation. But the US openly declared that everyone except a Chinese person was welcome to assume that post. Thanks to the US's intervention, Daren Tang Heng Shim, a Singaporean candidate, defeated Wang by a vote of 55 to 28.
In the face of the epidemic, it is hoped that both leaders will have in their minds the general interests and situation. Let's hope that they will join hands with each other in the fight against the virus instead of fighting with each other.