Wei SONG, National Academy of Innovation Strategy, CAST, China
Since the onset of the pandemic, I have observed how pre-conceived notions and prejudices can also adversely affect the perception of science among citizens, especially in those countries that have adversarial political relationships with each other.
In ancient Chinese literature, and in Daoist scripture particularly, the occurrence of plague derives from the appearance of seven gods who lead an army of a quarter million ghosts who wreak havoc in the form of pestilence upon the world. While this is an understandably apocalyptic description, one could be forgiven for seeing a similar hyperbolic jeremiad in the form of continuous denunciations of China as to all things relating to the coronavirus of 2020. This has been particularly notable in the expressions that US President Trump and members of his administration have used since January 2020 to gain political traction in national and international agendas.
Even while acknowledging that in China dissent is not tolerated in the same way as it is in the United States, there appears to be a mechanism, from the Chinese side of the equation, that can serve as an important template for how a society can move on from blame to remedy, expeditiously, for the sake of all who have been affected. The virus knows no political discourse; as a pathogen, it operates with ruthless nondiscriminatory efficiency in all countries no matter what form of governmental structure is operational, be it communism or capitalism.
The purpose of my presentation, then, is to provide a possible rationale for moving both populaces away from ossified positions of blame to those that promote mutually beneficial remedies. Furthermore, by illustrating that even a nascent understanding of what unites both cultures, in the way scientific ideas are passed down and how thought progresses through the centuries in both the West and the East, a concept of scientific globalism can be created; one that is most essential in overcoming obstacles to meaningful cross-boundary dialogues especially during this present world health crisis.
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