Heroes honored for helping China 'pass historic test'Top News | AGENCIES 9 Sep 2020
China has passed "an extraordinary and historic test" with its handling of the coronavirus, President Xi Jinping said at a triumphant awards ceremony for medical professionals decorated with bugle calls and applause.
Xi doled out gold medals to four "heroes" from the medical field in front of hundreds of applauding delegates yesterday.
"We have passed an extraordinary and historic test," Xi said, praising the country for a "heroic struggle" against the disease. "We quickly achieved initial success in the people's war against the coronavirus We are leading the world in economic recovery and in the fight against Covid-19."
The four awardees included 83-year-old Zhong Nanshan - the country's most famous medical expert who emerged as the face of China's fight against the contagion.
He was awarded China's top national medal by Xi, who placed it around Zhong's neck.
"We will join hands with the world's medical workers to continue the fight in tracing the origins of the virus," said Zhong.
Beijing is also touting progress on its vaccines as a sign of global leadership and resilience.
China put its homegrown vaccines on display for the first time at a Beijing trade fair this week and authorities hope the jabs will be approved for use by year-end. The vaccines are among nearly 10 worldwide to enter phase three trials, typically the last step ahead of regulatory approval.
Beijing has insisted the source of the virus - which first emerged in Wuhan late last year - is still unknown.
Yesterday's event provided a sharp contrast against scenes unfolding elsewhere around the world, including the United States, where the country's struggles have eroded President Donald Trump's chances at winning reelection.
Trump, who initially praised Xi's virus response, has since accused China of deliberately causing the pandemic to hurt him politically.
Xi had stern words for China's doubters saying "selfish moves, any buck-passing and deeds that confuse right and wrong" risk inflicting damage across the world.
There was no mention however of whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, who was among the first to be silenced for raising the alarm about the outbreak and later died from the disease.
China appears poised to emerge from the pandemic-driven economic downturn before other large nations. The country reported a 3.2 percent year-on-year increase in economic output in the second quarter, reversing a 6.8 percent decline in the first three months of the year.
According to official numbers, there have been 4,634 deaths in China from the virus.