Original title: Paris Diary: In the European Parliament, I convinced them in ten minutes
[Text / Observer Network columnist Song Luzheng]
Friday, April 10, 2020, sunny
today is the 25th day of the closure of the city. The topic turned out to be too many outdoor walkers in Paris, the hardest hit area.
At the scene, the reporter photographed men and women who did not wear masks, performing various fitness exercises: push-ups, running, walking, walking dogs, and cycling. To be fair, the government has repeatedly upgraded restrictions, but it has not changed. The bravery, romance, and love for freedom of the French nation is really a striking (striking?) Scenery in Paris.
Today, the most sensational news for French Chinese is the news station CNEWS website published an article introducing a paper published by the University of Cambridge in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences PNAS, that the new coronavirus has three sources, A, B and C. . Class A is more common in the United States and Australia, China is Class B, and Europe is mainly Class C. Key point: Type B is derived from Type A mutation. I then went to Cambridge University and the American PNAS website and found this paper. However, unlike the Chinese social sensation, the French media also reported on this one.
Of course, according to the situation since the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, we cannot draw conclusions based on only one paper, just as the government will not make decisions based on only one paper. There will be different academic research results or opposition voices. But if this result finally becomes a consensus, will anyone ask the United States to apologize and compensate?
I received the book sent back in January this morning when I was in Taiwan to watch the election, and now global logistics has been severely impacted, which is really a surprise. The postman wore a mask and put the parcels far away without signing. Put on gloves and masks, sterilize the package with alcohol first, then take it to the yard to expose it, and then take it in at night. It’s funny to think about it, is it too big a problem.
More and more French supermarkets have opened online shopping, but they have failed many times throughout the day. Either there is no goods, or it is late, and the number of deliveries on that day is used up. It seems that we have to count on the Chinese supermarket.
The diary for two consecutive days talked about the media war in full swing, which aroused the enthusiastic attention and participation of netizens. One question is very well asked: Is there any good way to make Chinese words more convincing? It does n’t make much sense to talk about abstract principles, just share my personal experience.
In April 2019, I went to the European Parliament in Brussels to talk about the “Belt and Road” initiative. It only took me ten minutes to convince them for two reasons.
Since China proposed the “Belt and Road” initiative, it has received support from more than 100 countries and international organizations. But the Western powers opposed it for geopolitical reasons. The United States has publicly expressed its opposition, while France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have ostensibly supported it, but have sought to resist transparency, debt traps, environmental protection, and fairness. They do not take China’s mainstream expressions as mutually beneficial and win-win, and think it is a diplomatic rhetoric. And we have only one morning to meet, and we must achieve the purpose of persuasion in a short time.
At the meeting, the other party first raised a topic that is always talked about in all walks of life in France: Sino-French trade deficit of 30 billion euros, how to solve it? I quite frankly say that this problem has no solution between China and France, because this is a structural problem. I told them that China has the same problem: We have a long-term deficit with South Korea, which is now as high as 100 billion US dollars. The trade deficit with Taiwan is as high as 80 billion US dollars, as well as Saudi Arabia.
China ’s solution is not to ask these economies how to do it, but to do business globally, and the East has a deficit to the West, so that as a whole, China is still a surplus country.
The best way for France to resolve its trade deficit with China is to become the first Western country to actively participate in the “Belt and Road” initiative. France has advantages in capital, technology and products, and China will give huge rewards for thanking France for its actions.
Then, I threw out the second reason: in 1950, the population of Europe was twice that of Africa, and now the population of Africa is twice that of Europe. At this rate, the population of Africa will be ten times that of Europe at the end of this century. If Africa still cannot solve development problems, the refugee crisis will be extremely serious. Where will they go? Naturally, it is going to the near and affluent Europe.
When I talked about this, I found that their complexions changed dramatically, and there was even a creepy reaction. I went on to say: China’s “Belt and Road” is to help Africa’s development. Europe only supports the “Belt and Road” to help solve this problem.
In this way, at least the representatives of the European Parliament who met me were persuaded by me within ten minutes.
Of course, I also encountered unreasonable problems. For example, a Frenchman once asked me: “How much oil does China need?” I immediately smiled and smiled very softly: “France is enough without China.” For such problems, this is the only way.
To fight for public opinion, the government, diplomacy, scholars and the people need to form a joint force. Let us see how this time the American and German publishing houses consciously participated in this war. China often talks about fighting a people ’s war and a three-dimensional war. In fact, public opinion is fighting this kind of war in the West.
In the morning, the United States was shocked again: a total of 462,135 cases of new coronary pneumonia were diagnosed, an increase of 37,190 cases from the previous day. A total of 16513 deaths occurred, an increase of 1984 cases from the previous day. In the epicenter, New York State added 799 deaths on that day, setting a record high in a single day. In the past two days, the number of new diagnoses per day has continuously exceeded 37,000, and the number of new deaths has been around 2,000. Since March 23, the United States has added tens of thousands of new diagnoses for 18 consecutive days.
Not only that, some special areas such as Chicago’s prisons have been diagnosed with 450 cases. I still remember a large number of officials were held accountable when there were confirmed cases in prisons in Shandong. In the West, which can be called effective accountability, no officials have been punished so far.
Why is the US epidemic so serious? Repeatedly create incredible records? Except that the United States is a very large country, it is indeed related to its detection capabilities. French medical academia predicts that 1.6 million people have been infected in the country, but the detection capacity is low and cannot be confirmed.
Of course, the fundamental reason is that the United States has seriously ignored the epidemic. As Governor Cuomo of New York State said, “We have underestimated the outbreak since the first day, and we are paying for it.” Paul Krugman, an American economist and “New York Times” columnist, also wrote an article critically criticizing the US strategy to deal with the epidemic, saying that the US is a country of “death and denial.”
He criticized that the most important reason is the ignorance of the top leader: while thousands of Americans are dying, the president is still showing off his ratings. After the epidemic in the United States, Trump has always preached that this is just a large flu, which kills 50,000 or 60,000 people every year in the United States. He also said that when the weather became hot in April, the virus disappeared. His attitude has seriously affected the response of the entire country.
From the perspective of political system, it has its uniqueness. First, the United States is a federal system, and the powers of the states are quite large. For example, the epidemic in New York was extremely serious, surpassing that of Wuhan, but the US federal government could not declare the city closed. Even if Trump wanted to partially seal the city, he was strongly opposed. He believed that it was a war act and a violation of the Constitution. Trump could do nothing. New York is not closed, of course, it is necessary to consider the state’s image and economic losses, but a large number of infected people will also run across the country.
Now there are still eight states in the United States that do not implement isolation orders, and the federal government has no way to enforce them.
This is not the first time that in the face of serious external challenges such as a huge natural disaster, the state government has refused the federal government’s intervention for private gain. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and the consequences were extremely serious, beyond the control of the state government. But when the federal government assistance team arrived, they could not enter: because the state government disagreed, they just watched the situation deteriorate.
Later, under the severe pressure of the disaster, the state government was forced to agree. Later, the city of New Orleans appeared anarchic: rampant robbery, robbers in front of the guards and police, looting and looting and rape, and gun fights with police. 300 National Guard members who have just withdrawn from Iraq have arrived in New Orleans to maintain law and order and are authorized to shoot and kill the mob at any time. Until September 4, a gun battle between armed groups and police took place in the city.
The structural problems of the system are often unsolvable, from Catalina to the new corona virus today, to future disasters, it is difficult to change.
Whether it is a natural disaster or an epidemic situation, if it cannot be effectively controlled at the initial stage, the consequences will be extremely serious. When China announced the closure of the city, the number of confirmed cases was less than 1,000, and the final epidemic still reached more than 80,000. New York is now over 100,000, and it is still open. From this, one can imagine the extent to which the US epidemic will reach.
I have always wondered why the West has repeatedly criticized China for its slow response. If this rate is still slow, what is the West? How can it claim to be qualified to talk irresponsibly to China? Now, can the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, five countries with more than one hundred thousand (and four more than ten thousand deaths) be comparable to the original Wuhan? Does this look like a failing student who is laughing at a 99-point student who lost that point?
The second is the separation of powers in the United States. Very few countries in the world really adopt the separation of powers. The United States is an exception. It also emphasizes that different power institutions should be controlled by different political parties as much as possible. In a parliamentary system, the majority party in parliament can govern, so the parliament and the executive unite, and the role of justice in political life is not very prominent.
It is the semi-presidential system like France, after two or so co-rules have emerged-that is, the majority of the parliament and the president are not from the same political party and the opposition party is the prime minister. The Congress and the President are from the same political party.
The advantage of this European approach is the high efficiency of the system (human efficiency is still very low). In fact, Huntington pointed out this difference between the American and European political systems very early. At least this time in the fight against the epidemic, the overall performance of the US system is worse than that of Europe.
For example, the governor of Wisconsin decided to cancel the April 7 primary election. However, the court controlled by the Republican Party believed that this decision was illegal and forced elections under the epidemic. France also made the same mistake, but that was the fault of the president ’s judgment, not the reason for the separation of powers, and the president subsequently canceled the second round of elections.
Here I would like to say one more thing, apart from France, no major Western country has directly elected leaders, whether it is the President or the Prime Minister. Once a CNN reporter asked Premier Wen Jiabao when China can directly elect officials like him. This question is wrong in itself, because Western presidents still have direct elections, and the prime minister has none.
The last point is that the United States is in the election year. A simple issue of people’s livelihood in fighting the epidemic has become a domestic political issue. This is why Trump has always deliberately underestimated the epidemic situation, and has always actively advocated the resumption of work as soon as possible, including actively dumping the responsibility on China.
As for New York State ’s opposition to the closure of the city, in addition to economic factors, I am afraid that there is also a Democratic Party and a Republican Party. There have been media reports that Biden may invite Comer as a vice presidential running partner and jointly challenge Trump. It is also the norm of the American system that the political party struggle affects people’s livelihood, such as the government closing.
Of course, strictly speaking, the US medical system and system also have serious problems. According to US law, in order to ensure the quality of testing, when facing a national public health emergency, a medical institution laboratory must first obtain an emergency use authorization (Emergency Use Authorization, EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before developing and using its own The detection module performs disease screening.
Due to this restriction, one month after the first confirmed diagnosis in the United States, only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a few public laboratories across the country have obtained authorization to conduct screening and have appropriate testing tools.
According to the CDC data, from the outbreak to February 26, only 445 Americans were screened; at that time, South Korea had been able to detect 20,000 people every day. In addition, the CDC’s initial screening standards are strict, and only doctors are allowed to detect suspected cases who have recently been to China or have been exposed to a confirmed disease, resulting in a large number of infected people missing the test.
In addition, because about 27 million people do not have medical insurance and cannot afford the high testing and treatment fees, they will not only dare not go to the hospital but will continue to work once they become infected. It was not until the beginning of April that the United States tested and treated everyone for free, but it was too late.
All this has led the United States to miss the opportunity to understand the real situation and take corrective measures early in the epidemic.
Today, the first lady of the United States put on a mask and advocated that everyone should do the same, but it was found to be worn down. Although the first lady is not an official, its symbolic significance and role far exceed that of ordinary officials. By Chinese standards, this is a big flaw, but in the US it is just a tidbit. The epidemic situation in the United States has reached this level, and the first lady is wearing the wrong mask, which shows how careless it is.
This new crown epidemic has put Western ideology in an unprecedented dilemma: China faced an unknown virus and simply defeated it, showing its strong mobilization ability, organizational ability and response ability. The West has the experience explored by China and has more than a month of preparation time, but the performance is very disappointing.
There are three countermeasures in the Western ideological circle: The best policy is to recognize China’s institutional performance and its own institutional problems before it is possible to make profound changes. Now it is publicly affirmed that there are not many Chinese models, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is one. The Chinese policy is like Fukuyama, who blames Trump on himself, and in the future, he just needs to choose the right one. The next strategy is to transfer contradictions and cover up the truth, just like American and German publishing houses.
Which strategy the West chooses to a certain extent determines its future destiny. As for the next strategy, I feel that this time may not be effective, and I am afraid that it will also have a counter-productive effect: it will prompt the affected people to change over. The current global death toll has exceeded 100,000, most of which are in Europe and America (Europe accounts for 70%). If such a catastrophe cannot make the West reflect deeply, does it still have the ability to reflect?
Today, the British epidemic continues to deteriorate rapidly, with an unprecedented 980 deaths in a single day, with a total of nearly 9,000. The number of deaths in Belgium, a small country, is close to 500 a day, and the cumulative number is more than 3000, which is close to China.
There is bitter news in Germany: Thousands of Romanian seasonal workers, despite the threat of the epidemic, are still waiting in line at the airport to fly to Germany. At the beginning of April, Germany decided to allow foreign workers engaged in agricultural picking to enter, so the above scene appeared.
Romania has embraced Western democracy for more than thirty years. What role does it play in the Western system? When China, which insists on taking its own path and rejects the Western political model, exports 160 million tourists to the world every year, what does this country export? (Public figures released by the Paris police show that sex workers mainly come from Eastern Europe).
France ’s shocking news came one after another: a child less than ten years old died of illness; France ’s only aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has infected 50 people, interrupting the emergency return to the Baltic Sea exercise. Charles de Gaulle has not had any contact with the outside world since March 15th. Why did the outbreak occur? Four aircraft carriers in the United States have become infected. No one knows the reason for lack of transparency.
60% of the nursing homes in the Greater Paris area are infected, and there are 433 new deaths in nursing homes throughout the country (plus a total of 997 hospital deaths). The government has always emphasized that nursing homes that are strictly protected have become the hardest hit areas, and no one knows why.
It seems that this time the West lacked not only accountability but transparency.