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Strong leadership critical in winning COVID fight

Peter Morgan (right), associate dean of the Business School of the University of Nottingham Ningbo, answers questions from the audience at the Vision China event, which was organized by China Daily, in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, on Sunday. (WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY)

The Communist Party of China has played an incredible role in leading the entire nation through the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and its people cooperated so well, said a university professor from the United Kingdom who has lived in Zhejiang province for nine years.

Such strong and systematic CPC leadership and the rapid and unanimous response from the public has allowed a sense of normalcy to have returned to most parts of China, said Peter Morgan, associate dean of the Business School of the University of Nottingham Ningbo.

"The Party has done something really special, and it is accountable to the people of China and is dedicated to their needs," Morgan said during a speech at the latest Vision China event in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, on Sunday.

"No other country has had the ability to manage, control and then recover from something that has wiped out millions elsewhere. No other system has enabled a country to lead recovery so fast, and no other places have created a place where I can feel so at home in the middle of a global catastrophe," he said during the event held by the Publicity Department of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, China Daily, and the CPC Jiaxing city committee.

Zhejiang has had roughly 1,300 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while the UK currently has more than double that on a single day, said Morgan. Only one death caused by the contagion has been reported in Zhejiang, he continued.

Morgan said that he was in the UK when the epidemic broke out in China early last year. After making his way to China not long after, he witnessed how the Chinese people took prompt actions and did all they could in fighting the virus under the strong leadership of the CPC.

"It ensured that China is now the safest place to be," he said, adding that life in China was restored very rapidly. People went to work and companies began trading again. Supermarkets and shopping malls were filled with people.

In the big picture, the growth of retail and shopping malls is a sign of how life for local residents is getting better and better, Morgan said while sharing what he saw and heard during his Chinese experience.

For more than two decades, Zhejiang has remained the fourth-fastest-growing economy in the country, and the Party and the government have made continuous efforts to further improve the living standards of locals, Morgan said.

"Zhejiang has recently been chosen to be the demonstration zone for common prosperity because it has achieved progress in resolving the problem of unbalanced development, under the CPC leadership," he said.

Morgan said that he was also impressed by the Party's plan to let an eastern region and a western counterpart pair up, which runs across such a huge country for the benefit of all.

Zhejiang has invested in eight counties in Qinghai province in the Northwest. Taking the education field as an example, schools were built and teachers were dispatched from Zhejiang to assist in rural education, he said.

Morgan recalled that he once read an article in China Daily. It said "Zhejiang province represents a juncture of China's past and future. The birthplace of the Red Boat spirit, the eastern province embodies the country's revolutionary hallmarks of innovation, hard work and dedication".

"And all these ideas-economic and cultural development and harmony-have been at the core of what began in 1921 on the Red Boat right here in Jiaxing, announcing the Party's official founding with the boat symbolizing the courageous and pioneering spirit of the Party's early leaders," he said.

zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn