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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

A Fast – and Slow – Post-Crisis Economic Recovery
Friday, April 17, 2020
A Fast – and Slow – Post-Crisis Economic Recovery

Wu Ge, Chief Economist at Changjiang Securities, in Caixin (April 16, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

A Fast – and Slow – Post-Crisis Economic Recovery

While a threat remains from imported cases and asymptomatic infections from abroad, China's Covid-19 epidemic situation has now been effectively controlled. With the country gradually returning to work, what will the economic recovery look like and what are the limitations?

China's important industries such as real estate and automobiles are starting to show signs of recovery from the stark lows reached during the first quarter. Services such as the food-and-beverage sector continue to struggle, with demand at around only half what it was at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, there are still some positive signs of recovery. Furthermore, while domestic demand remains sluggish, there are signs that a broader slow-but-steady recovery is underway.

The economic impact of the Covid-19 virus spans both supply and demand. With the steady resumption of economic activity, labor and other supply factors have subsequently improved. In contrast, the sharp drop in the number of orders combined with the rise in the unemployment has resulted in a contraction of demand, leading to a wider economic recession. Falls of both China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index PPI support this trend.

The speed of the economic recovery will depend largely on the success of countercyclical adjustment efforts. It is, however, also inevitable that other major economies will attempt to address their respective economic shocks. As such, to hedge against the severe challenges stemming from a drop in external demand and a broader global economic downturn, an expansion of China’s domestic credit will need to take place. Based on the evidence so far, the economic recovery will be an unbalanced process as domestic demand will be higher than external demand, while capital-intensive industries continue to recover faster than labor-intensive ones.


A Critical Juncture in the Battle Against Covid-19
Friday, April 17, 2020
A Critical Juncture in the Battle Against Covid-19

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 1997, in Lianhe Zaobao (April 15, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: huntergol hp / Shutterstock.com)

A Critical Juncture in the Battle Against Covid-19

During the first stage of epidemic, after the first case of Covid-19 was reported on January 23, 2020, Singapore’s approach was seen as the "gold standard”. The second stage started after the epidemic had rapidly spread across the globe, prompting many infected citizens to rush back home. While strict quarantine measures ensured these returnees would be isolated, there were still signs of community spread within nursing homes, preschools, construction sites and offices, while the number of people infected from an unknown source also increased. 

After the number of returnees had decreased, the number of imported cases also fell sharply. Community transmissions, however, have now soared, particularly within dormitories housing foreign workers. This has triggered a dangerous stage of the battle – a third "circuit breaker". 

How can countries can remain under lockdown for so long, with a vaccination still potentially 18 months away? Singaporeans must dutifully comply with the new circuit-breaker measures and be mentally prepared for a long battle. The question now is: What to do next?

First, Singapore must quickly control the epidemic in the dormitories housing foreign workers. There are as many as 43 such accommodations across the whole island, housing tens of thousands of guest workers. The government has already set up a working group to control this problem.

Second, the government must do everything in its power to halt community infection. As the number of cases where no association can be found is increasing, this stage of the battle is challenging and entails high risks. If we lose, it will be difficult to manage the consequences.

If the epidemic is under control by May 4, we can gradually resume economic activity. This is a deadly battle, and everyone must cooperate. The consequences of failure must be emphasized, and society must remain vigilant. 


Fear and Hope Amid Uncertainty
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Fear and Hope Amid Uncertainty

Randy David, sociologist and journalist, in his Public Lives column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (April 12, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: PCOO EDP/King Rodriguez)

Fear and Hope Amid Uncertainty

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the coronavirus has confirmed that the government is extending the lockdown across Luzon till the end of April. In a speech the night before, President Rodrigo Duterte had appeared reluctant to do so not because he thought an extension was unnecessary but because he was concerned that prolonging the shutdown would not be sustainable. The government, he acknowledged, would run out of funds to feed those most in need.

For the first time, the president sounded helpless in confronting a problem. He admitted that he is waking up at three o’clock in the morning and pondering what to do. He ended by requesting citizens to join him in prayer that the nation may survive this pandemic.

It must be difficult for Mr Duterte to moderate his default rhetorical swagger. He was struggling to contain the virus of narcissism and arrogance that seems to prod him to pontificate on any issue. He thinks that a president must know everything.

If I were he, I would say only a few heartfelt words to comfort the nation and then step aside and let those with adequate knowledge explain the situation and clearly tell us what to do. A leader must have enough humility to admit that we still know little about the virus. When to lift the lockdown and how to relax precautions are the most important questions to which those in charge need the answers. Yet nobody knows how this will end so it is hard to know what to do. Right now, clarity is needed no less than courage.


The Coming Coronavirus Shocks
Thursday, April 16, 2020
The Coming Coronavirus Shocks

TJS George, journalist, in his Point of View column in The New Indian Express (April 12, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Khabar Uttarakhand ki)

The Coming Coronavirus Shocks

These days, I feel insignificant as a citizen, looking to politicians as parents and obeying them. We should be happy to do so but they speak in so many tongues. One wants me to do yoga, which will somehow cure all the nation’s ills. Another wants me to know that the coronavirus panic is just a ruling party plot to divert attention away from the riots in Delhi in February.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, says it is important to tackle the spread of pessimism, negativity and rumor. He convened a videoconference with 20-plus editors and print-media owners and asked them to act as a link between the government and the people. But he did not spell out a policy plan or speak in reassuring tones.

Yet the media chiefs were enamored by the PM’s gesture and agreed to publish only “inspiring and positive stories”. Said one owner of the opportunity to interact with the prime minister: “We were privileged.” In which other country could the media be more cooperative?

Some are predicting that the US will suffer its worst recession in history. When the US economy goes into recession, everybody is affected. One estimate has the global economy shrinking by 1.5 percent in 2020. The negative impact on economies will be prolonged. This will require social adjustments. But how many societies are ready?

Religion has been a factor in this crisis. Crowds have defied common sense. I hope God blesses the careless and careful equally.

Industries are reeling. The entertainment sector has come to a halt. Retail shopping has been disrupted. Experts warn of an unforeseen consequence – mental health problems – mainly because of the strain of unemployment, especially if people are without a job for a long time. For the poor, the future is grim. 


Forced Conversions: Enticement Without Threat Should be Punishable
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Forced Conversions: Enticement Without Threat Should be Punishable

Sulema Jahangir, Honorary Executive Director, AGHS Legal Aid Cell, in Dawn (April 12, 2020)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: mariwara)

Forced Conversions: Enticement Without Threat Should be Punishable

The discrimination against women belonging to a religious minority has become worse. Women are becoming victims of rape, abduction, forced marriage and forced conversion. That largely underage girls are “converting” to Islam speaks volumes of their vulnerability.

In 2016 and last year, the government of Sindh attempted to outlaw forced marriages and conversions but religious parties objected both times, insisting that women of religious minorities convert willingly. While there are cases of forced conversion, there are also instances of influential men preying upon vulnerable young women, enticing them to convert and marry. Could enticement without the threat of violence become punishable?

Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that the right to freedom of religion includes the right to change one’s faith and that no one shall be subject to coercion to do so. Exploiting a position of power to entice vulnerable people or subordinates to convert amounts to coercion, which should be outlawed.

Once women convert, there is no going back, as apostasy would mean a death sentence. In many cases, women are also told that their families are infidels and they cannot meet them. This impedes their access to justice as they remain in the clutches of powerful men.

Pakistan has failed to comply with its international obligations to protect non-Muslim women and girls from exploitation by powerful groups and criminal elements. Even worse is the psychological impact on families of minorities who worry when their daughters venture out, and the culture of intolerance that is promoted when local leaders celebrate another conversion and marriage as a victory for the Muslim faith. This sends a chilling message to our most vulnerable people – that their girls are not safe.


Should We March in the Streets this June?
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Should We March in the Streets this June?

Dr Arisina Ma Chung-yee, President of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association (the union for public-sector doctors), in Stand News (April 12, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Studio Incendo)

Should We March in the Streets this June?

There are exactly two months until the first anniversary of "6/12" (June 12, 2019, the date of the first major demonstration against the government’s extradition amendment bill that led to months of protests in Hong Kong). It remains unclear, however, whether Hong Kong people will be able to take to the streets once again on this day. While society remains angry and deep divides have yet to be repaired, the Hong Kong government is unlikely to permit marches in light of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The second wave of the virus has slowed down somewhat, with the daily amount of infections falling from two digits to under 10. This trend, however, only reflects the drop in the number of workers and students returning from overseas and fails to indicate whether the virus is continuing to spread in the community. There have been sporadic cases with no obvious source. In addition, there are still 616 people in public hospitals for treatment, 13 of them in critical condition in intensive care units.

As the number of local infection cases and the age of infected persons rise slowly, there will inevitably be an increase in patients with critical illnesses and admissions to intensive care. There are already signs that Hong Kong’s intensive care services are inadequate and unevenly distributed.

In light of this danger, the logic of some citizens is odd. They expect people returning from overseas to comply with quarantine rules while they themselves still accept the risks associated with going out and potentially standing shoulder-to-shoulder with invisible carriers of the virus. We are facing a conflict between controlling the spread of the virus and protecting human rights and freedoms. To solve this public health crisis, citizens must be self-disciplined. Failing to do so will only give excuses to those in power to extend restrictions over our freedoms further.


International Cooperation is the Only Way to Tackle the Global Crisis
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
International Cooperation is the Only Way to Tackle the Global Crisis

Da Wei, Assistant President and Professor, University of International Relations, in The Global Times (April 8, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: US Department of Defense/Glenn Fawcett)

International Cooperation is the Only Way to Tackle the Global Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic has become the "first global crisis" in human history. Four major factors distinguish this crisis from previous events.

First, unlike terrorist attacks or war, this crisis stems from nature rather than the decisions or actions of people. Second, unlike US-centered incidents such as 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the three major economic regions in the world: East Asia, North America and Western Europe, and spread to nearly 200 countries with more than 3 billion people now under lockdown. Third, in terms of duration, humans may have to coexist with this crisis before anti-viral drugs or a vaccine is successfully developed. Fourth, unlike the 1918-20 flu pandemic, this one has spread through modern societies that are highly globalized and interdependent. This interdependence has led to wider political, economic and social shocks resulting in an unpredictable "butterfly effect".

This pandemic is the first global crisis facing humanity, threatening not just countries but mankind as a whole. Some experts regard this crisis as a precursor to the looming climate crisis. How we deal with today’s global crisis will determine to a large extent how we respond to the next one.

Experts on Sino-US relations have often joked that only an alien invasion would prompt relations to return to its previous level of cooperation. Today, the "alien" has arrived in the form of a virus. At this historic juncture, China and the United States have no choice but to cooperate. Fortunately, Sino-US relations have already started to show signs of improvement with some positive momentum towards closer cooperation. Both China and the United States must urgently put aside politics and instead strengthen bilateral action. Cooperation is essential in tackling the first global crisis in human history.


Strengthen Quarantine in Red Zones, While Easing Them Elsewhere
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Strengthen Quarantine in Red Zones, While Easing Them Elsewhere

Lim Fangbiao (林方彪), writer, in his 想太多 (Overthinking) column in Sin Chew Daily (April 8, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Ajai Arif)

Strengthen Quarantine in Red Zones, While Easing Them Elsewhere

The Minister of Health recently stated that the goal of the second phase of control measures would be to reach zero new cases of Covid-19 in a day. It is likely the current measures will be extended, as there have been more than 100 new cases daily. But if the Minister takes into consideration the specific regions with no increases, then it may be possible to strengthen quarantine rules in red zones (those with over 40 cases), while gradually relaxing them in green zones.

The number of red zones has increased to 21. The information provided, however, is not detailed enough. Officials should include data for those still receiving treatment, as it will let the public know more about the current situation. With this information, the situation in the red zones can be analyzed in greater detail. The zones can then be isolated effectively and quarantine controls strengthened, while ensuring sufficient supplies continue to flow into these areas.

In green zones, it will be possible to loosen restrictions gradually and allow normal life to resume. Before the entire country improves, however, those in green zones will have to continue to wear masks, wash hands and maintain social distance. Outbreaks in many countries have erupted after celebrations and large gatherings. Even if the number of newly diagnosed patients in Malaysia drops slightly, society should not get complacent.

This year’s fasting month of Ramadan (April 23 to May 23) and the ensuing Eid al-Fitr activities will likely be canceled or scaled down. Officials must try to communicate effectively with Muslim communities to gain support and understanding for these necessary measures. Ultimately, while the government must act to control the epidemic, these measures cannot lead to the collapse of the whole economy. People have to continue working to maintain their livelihoods.


In Fight Against Covid-19, Public and Private Sectors Need to Work Together
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
In Fight Against Covid-19, Public and Private Sectors Need to Work Together

Chow Hsing-yi, Professor, Department of Finance, College of Commerce, National Chengchi University, in United Daily News (April 11, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Alix Lee)

In Fight Against Covid-19, Public and Private Sectors Need to Work Together

Taiwan's epidemic situation remains significantly better than the rest of the world, with only over 300 infections and fewer than 10 deaths, despite being geographically close to mainland China. We should thank the government and medical personnel at all levels for their efforts. Otherwise, we might have been caught in a difficult quagmire as Europe and the United States have been. Taiwan must appreciate its situation and strive to maintain it.

While the international media praises Taiwan, we risk becoming complacent. There were already signs of this over the recent Qingming holiday (April 4) with the media reporting a spike in vacations to Kenting. This highlights the fundamental contradiction in the fight against the virus: On the one hand, it is necessary to maintain social distance; on the other, it is necessary to keep up economic activity. China, too, is eager to resume work. Yet this risks the resurgence of the epidemic. In the US, President Trump's reluctance to declare a state of emergency may have made the virus harder to control there.

As Taiwan is an export-oriented economy, the world’s problems arising from the virus will inevitably become ours. When we face the economic crisis, it will be impossible to rely on the government alone. We must rely on some form of public-private partnership to overcome difficulties together and prepare for the recovery. The business community should quickly respond to workplace conditions and assist the government in recommending the direction and focus of relief policies, formulating strategies and practices to reduce the impact on employees.

Taiwan ’s performance has attracted worldwide attention. As long as the public and private sectors work together, we can provide key assistance when the world needs Taiwan. At the same time, doing so will benefit Taiwan economically.


Nth Room, Telegram – and Why this Won’t Be the Last Cybercrime Scandal
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Nth Room, Telegram – and Why this Won’t Be the Last Cybercrime Scandal

Kim Hyun-kyung, Professor, Graduate School of Public Policy and Information Technology, Seoul National University of Science & Technology, in The Asia Business Daily (April 13, 2020)

Summary by Soomi Hong

Nth Room, Telegram – and Why this Won’t Be the Last Cybercrime Scandal

South Korea has been caught up in the Nth Room cybercrime case, in which a shocking number of women and minors were subject to pornographic enslavement. Several individuals including Cho Joo-bin, now under investigation, were blackmailing victims and spreading sexually exploitative videos through the Telegram app. This case is the most recent in a series of similar cybercrimes, including the Burning Sun scandal of 2019 in which a number of high-profile K-pop stars were implicated.

Why is South Korea unable to put an end to such cybercrimes against women and minors?

First, the country has relatively lenient laws against cybersex crimes. From 2011 to 2015, out of 1,800 indictments for filming, distribution and sale of illegal pornographic content, only a meagre 5 percent resulted in imprisonment. In 2018, the average sentence imposed on people convicted of cybercrimes committed against children and minors was just two years. By contrast, child pornography in the US is a serious offense, the production of illegal content punishable by 15-30 years in prison.

Second, South Korea has not been proactive in cross-border cooperation against cybercrime. Media platforms that are often implicated in cybercrimes, such as Telegram, do not disclose server locations and do not store all their data in one place. The South Korean government must step up its international cooperation, starting by joining the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and discouraging use of uncooperative foreign platforms.

Finally, the government has not taken enough measures to address cybercrime. The government has increased monitoring of illegal digital pornographic content and applied more pressure on platform providers to take responsibility and implement controls. But such measures have been insufficient and ineffective.

Given what little has been done so far, it seems unlikely that the Nth Room case will be the last of its kind in South Korea.


The Covid-19 Pandemic was not a “Strategic Surprise”
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
The Covid-19 Pandemic was not a “Strategic Surprise”

Evan A Laksmana, Senior Researcher, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in The Jakarta Post (April 13, 2020)

Summary by Keith Loveard (Photo credit: Mohamad Sholeh)

The Covid-19 Pandemic was not a “Strategic Surprise”

Indonesia was and remains utterly unprepared to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. Many have argued that the pandemic has been Indonesia’s biggest “strategic surprise” in decades. But by uncritically painting the pandemic as such an unforeseen occurrence, some analysts may implicitly or inadvertently absolve the government of any responsibility. After all, they argue, Covid-19 was a “non-natural disaster” that many states could not have predicted.

This claim is clearly wrong. Scientists, epidemiologists and global health scholars have warned about a pandemic for years. Over the past two decades, various public health outbreaks, from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to Ebola, should have driven this point home.

Despite ample warnings from dozens of countries hit by Covid-19 outbreaks throughout February and early March, Indonesian policymakers were in denial. They publicly clung to unfounded assumptions about the “saving power” of Indonesia’s temperature or humidity. Some even implied that traditional herbs or dishes could be antidotes to the virus, while others suggested that prayers would be sufficient to stem any viral tide.


The Global Economic Depression is Real
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
The Global Economic Depression is Real

Jin Keyu, Associate Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE), in Caixin (April 10, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

The Global Economic Depression is Real

Economists are already comparing the current economic downturn to the Great Depression of the 1930s. The main difference is that this one took just three weeks rather than three years to play out.

The notion of a mild recession and a strong V-shaped recovery has now been abandoned, and the economic outlook grows grimmer by the day. We now face a virtual complete halt to all economic activity. The question is: How long will this last? The longer the recession, the lower the long-run growth trend will be. Many jobs that have been destroyed will never come back again. No one can say anything with certainty at this point as we have insufficient information about three things:

First, whether the pandemic can be suppressed. Nobody can say with confidence if current mitigation strategies will be effective. Second, whether there will be another wave of infections in the autumn. We cannot rule this out, even in China, and this raises questions about how long borders can feasibly remain closed. Third, whether government policies around the world will be effective. The optimistic scenario assumes that all of the right policies are in place – health, monetary and fiscal policies in the major economies in the world must work in concert without any disruption.

The unlimited amounts of quantitative easing and liquidity promised by the European and American governments are absolutely necessary. They suggest governments are preparing for the situation to get worse. As such, these aggressive policies are an alarming sign of what is to come. In addition, stagflation and inflation are not unreasonable risks to expect not only in China but also around the world.

Nevertheless, these expectations can change as new data comes in. After all, it is the virus that determines the timeline, not economists.


Legislative Council Members Should Cut Their Salaries
Monday, April 13, 2020
Legislative Council Members Should Cut Their Salaries

Fanny Wong Lai-kwan, columnist, in Headline Daily (April 9, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Legislative Council Members Should Cut Their Salaries

The government announced details of more crisis support funds. In addition to spending more than HK$130 billion (US$16.7 billion) to pay the salaries of employees of enterprises affected by the epidemic, the Chief Executive, senior government officials and members of the Executive Council will reduce their salaries by 10 percent over the next year to share the economic burden with the people.

Many in the private sector have already had their salaries cut, been forced to take unpaid leave, and even been fired. So it is reasonable for private companies to receive government support as the crisis deepens. The leaders of Hong Kong are paid well and are able to take pay cuts.

Yet members of the Legislative and District Councils have not taken similar steps. When it comes to salary reductions, members of LegCo, especially those in the pan-democratic camp, deserve cuts the most. How many days work have they put in over the past six months? How much work have they done to support the economy and job security for citizens? Think about the farce that they have staged time and again in LegCo meetings. Besides damaging the economy further, practically nothing has been achieved.

Not all members are so shameless. Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) announced that they would donate a total of HKD$3 million (US$385,000) a month to help the unemployed and those facing immediate livelihood difficulties. Five legislators have donated one month's salary to a newly established emergency fund for the unemployed. The pro-democracy camp has not followed suit.

LegCo members have a very good life. It is time for the public to let them know that they have no reason to be exempt from sharing the economic burden of the crisis.


The WHO is heartless to Taiwan, but we'll never be heartless to the world!
Friday, April 10, 2020
The WHO is heartless to Taiwan, but we'll never be heartless to the world!

Hu Wenhui, political commentator, in his 胡,怎麼說 (What Do You Say) column in Liberty Times (April 6, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Office of the President, Taiwan/Makoto Lin)

The WHO is heartless to Taiwan, but we'll never be heartless to the world!

The world has become a battlefield against the Wuhan Virus (Covid-19). There have been 1.3 million confirmed cases worldwide and nearly 70,000 deaths. These figures are still climbing.

The whole world can see that Taiwan’s performance in the crisis has been excellent. Even though the virus will not show mercy to any person or any country, the strength of each government's epidemic controls can be compared. These are not things that can be denied by the opposition, nor can they be distorted or rejected by slanders from China.

The government's anti-epidemic team was on alert early. As a result, Taiwan has controlled the first wave of virus outbreaks from China as well as the second wave from Europe and the United States. So far, these controls have been well maintained. Taiwan, however, should not be complacent, especially after receiving compliments from international media and other governments.

In addition, the epidemic situation in neighboring Asian countries continues to rise rapidly. Taiwan is therefore still in a crisis surrounded by danger. Complacency will only expose us to the virus. Nevertheless, Taiwan must also hold on to love and empathy for all of humanity and share its knowledge and experience in controlling the epidemic with the international community as much as possible.

Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) is both useless and incompetent, Taiwan should not fail in participating in global efforts to battle the virus. While the WHO is under Chinese manipulation and consequently heartless to Taiwan, Taiwan will not be heartless to the world. Therefore, Taiwan ’s recent donation of 10 million masks and other epidemic prevention materials should be just the beginning. We must continue trying our best to help countries so that the international community knows that Taiwan's helping hand is there.


Not the Sinking Titanic but Noah’s Ark
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Not the Sinking Titanic but Noah’s Ark

Hansen Yang (杨瀚森), business leader, in Lianhe Zaobao (April 7, 2020)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Prime Minister’s Office Singapore)

Not the Sinking Titanic but Noah’s Ark

As a world economic and transportation hub, Singapore has fought aggressively against the Covid-19 virus. As a small country, however, Singapore must strike a balance between controlling the spread of the virus and maintaining economic operations. Policy measures affect every citizen. It is only when citizens are united and prepared for the worst scenarios can we win this battle.

In the face of this crisis, we must surrender our individualism and move forward in a collective spirit. When governments introduce stricter measures, such as closing borders and cities, citizens cannot selfishly invoke their individual freedom as an excuse to ignore the ban. On a national level, implementing restrictions on the cross-border movement of people to slow and stop the spread of the virus is not the same as shutting down the country. The global supply chain must remain in operation, and the necessities of people's livelihood and medical supplies must be able to cross borders.

In addition, countries must refrain from engaging in a debate over the origins of the virus. This not only leads to discrimination and promotes xenophobia but also is not conducive to international cooperation. It also increases the decoupling of economic and trade links and fuels the risk of political conflict.

During the G20 virtual special summit on March 26, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong suggested that countries should work together on the aspects of public health, economics and scientific research needed to cope with the global challenges stemming from the virus. Leaders of all countries must work together after the crisis to rebuild domestic confidence in globalization. While the epidemic is fierce, this is definitely not the end of the world. We are all on the same ship. This ship is not the sinking Titanic, but Noah's Ark on which humanity will rise again.