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【博编荐文】重温 | 赵启正:走出SARS

(本文以英文发表于2003年5月15日的China Daily,中文见《向世界说明中国 下编》新世界出版社2006年1月。)
 
 
国务院新闻办原主任  赵启正(资料图)
 
 
 
让中国难忘的春天
 
文|赵启正
 
正当我们进入新世纪第三个春天的时候,一场突如其来的SARS灾难以迅雷不及掩耳之势袭击了中国大地。
 
它来得如此迅猛,在很多人还不知SARSSARS(注:Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome,在国际上简称为SARS,在中国简称为“非典”。)为何物的时候,它就在我国的广东、香港地区、北京和其他地区肆虐。据世界卫生组织(WHO)公布的数据,短短几个月,全球已有32个国家和地区报告了SARS病例,患者超过了8000人,死亡人数超过了800人。中国是重灾区,是全球抵抗SARS的前线。
 
这是一个让中国难忘的春天。北京,经历了从未有过的寂静。疫情更大范围扩散的可能性犹如悬在人们头上的达摩克利斯利剑。为了防止它万一的下落,生命和生命必须保持距离。
 
SARS的突然到来,使中国政府和人民经历了一场自建国以来从未有过的严峻的瘟疫流行的考验。
 
灾难之初,我们有关机构的组织指挥不统一,信息渠道不畅通,应急准备不充分,统计的病例有误,一度引起社会的恐慌和不安。
 
中国政府果断地对此事进行了彻查,并及时采取了坚决措施。于4月20日撤销了两省部领导人的职务,重新核定疫情数据,举行新闻发布会,让世界零距离了解SARS在中国的情况。
 
至5月8日,世界上有110个国家限制中国人前往旅游,有的甚至拒绝入境。SARS在极短的时间内使中国人陷入一种意想不到的境地。人与一种未知病毒的“战争”就这么来了,比一场真正的战争还来得迅速。中国的春天被蒙上了口罩,街道上少了人群,商店的顾客少于售货员。历史睁大了眼睛,每个人都在关注着这场“战争”,每个人都在心中祈祷:早一天结束灾难!
 
中国一时成为世界关注的焦点
 
中国一时成了世界媒体关注的焦点。外国媒体对中国报道的数量之大,评论之多,是近年来很少见的。有些西方媒体不顾SARS是一种至今原因不明的传染病的事实,强行将这一天灾附和为中国社会的人祸。有一家杂志甚至将感染了SARS病毒的肺叠加在中国国旗上作为封面,这样做对任何国家来说当然都会被认为是一种无礼和侵害。
 
许多经济部门和研究机构不断预测中国乃至东亚经济发展将受SARS传播的严重影响,认为“SARS将使东亚陷入金融危机以来的另一场严重经济危机之中”,“疫情将严重影响中国的投资环境,减缓经济增长速度”。世界多家金融机构普遍下调中国GDP的增长预测,说中国今年GDP增长率将下降一个百分点,甚或下降一半。
 
对于SARS究竟来源于何处,全世界的医学家至今仍众说纷纭,有人说来自某种野生动物,甚至有人归因于太空微生物……无论它来自何处,都如人类历史上无数次瘟疫的流行一样,是大自然带给人类的灾难。
 
人类发展史,就是一部人类与自然灾害斗争的历史。而病毒在自然界的历史远比人类要长。直到1996年,人们才弄清楚,疟疾的传染源来自9000万年前。正如艾滋病是美国首先报告的,但不能说美国就是艾滋病的发源地一样。这场危机告诉我们,在这个更加全球化的时代机遇与风险并存的道理。它教给我们一个重要经验,就是我们需要更好的疾病监督机制。中国国务院为建立有效的监督机制,于5月12日公布了《突发公共卫生事件应急条例》。
 
世卫组织专家的想不到
 
今年5月,一位来中国的世卫组织专家说,他想不到他本来打算在中国呆一个星期,却因为领略了中国新一代领导人面对SARS危机的智能与果断,亲历了中国与世卫组织合作的一步步进展,结果让他在中国呆了45天。他说,如果没有亲身经历,你无法体会过去短短一个多月里,中国经历了一种怎样的进步,这是中国开放历程中的又一个里程碑。国外有人评论说,在抗SARS斗争中,人们看到了中国政府一种清新、务实、果敢的政治气象。新一届领导人面对SARS的挑战,采取了出人意料的严厉行动。中国的政治风气、社会氛围、干部作风、新闻媒体等方面,都发生了细微而可喜的变化。对于中国人来说,这种变化给他们带来了信心和鼓励。领导人的一个行动,比一百句空洞的口号更能鼓舞人心。人们至少知道,他们正竭尽全力!人们不会忘记他们所做的一切。
 
虽然非典疫情使上半年的中国经济受到了一些影响,但从整体上来看,这种影响只是局部的、暂时的,中国经济的总体发展形势仍然良好,也没有改变经济快速增长的势头。据初步预计,上半年国内生产总值的增长率仍在8%以上。中国经济对灾难的抵抗力在亚洲金融危机之后又一次得到了证明,尽管这两次灾难的性质有那么大的不同。
 
 中国经济经受考验
 
我们观察到,一方面,中国的旅游、餐饮、零售业等部门一度萧条,同时我们又看到电讯、体育运动产品、家庭用汽车大幅度地增长。这种消费者的选择在部门之间的替代,也会降低SARS对国民经济的直接影响。世界三大经济组织——国际货币基金组织、世界贸易组织和世界银行也呼吁不要过分夸大SARS对经济的影响。他们说,SARS对亚洲经济的影响是可以控制的,对全球经济的影响也是有限的。美国有人评论说,由于中国的疫情仅仅集中在几个主要疫区,并没有在农村地区蔓延,加上防治措施得当,疫情在较短时间得到有效控制,中国受到的影响并没有原先估计的那么严重。农村和非疫区所受的影响比较有限。同时,外来投资只是稍稍减缓了速度,并没有出现转移外撤的现象。随着疫情的缓解,各种大型基建项目相继开工,这些都在一定程度上减小了SARS对经济的冲击。可以说,SARS对中国经济只是损及皮毛,并未伤及筋骨,如果疫情不再反复,这种不利影响应该可以较快弥补回来。新加坡《联合早报》援引德意志银行报告称,SARS对经济的影响小于市场预测,中国经济正在恢复迅猛的增长势头,德意志银行对中国GDP增长的预测将调高至7.5%。英国《金融时报》称,如果中国能在今年第二季度控制住SARS疫情,那就可以避免对经济产生结构性破坏,对中国今年GDP增长的冲击也应只在0.5%之内,中国依然是一个全球性的市场。而且,经受SARS磨炼的中国将变得更加成熟,向着现代化迅速发展。
 
中国政府的适应力与透明度
 
也有人质疑我们的应急体制,说我们透明度不够,说中国的医疗系统应对公共卫生突发事件的能力较差。在这一点上,美国摩根士丹利资产管理公司的报告认为,中国新领导层这次的处理手法,凸现出令人鼓舞的适应力和透明度。中国政府的果断措施和取得的积极成效受到国外媒体的广泛肯定。SARS在中国各大城市表现不同,有的城市蔓延严重,而有的就轻得多,结论是我们的机制和工作中的一些地方需要改进,并且能改进。
 
为抗击SARS,中国中央政府投入20多亿人民币,各地方政府共投入50多亿人民币。北京政府用8天时间建成了有1000多个床位的小汤山SARS医院。仅此一个项目北京就投资2.4亿人民币。各地政府对城市贫困市民和农民、农民工实行免费救治,对在城市间和城市与农村间的流动人群采取了几种防止SARS扩散的措施。各省建立了县、乡、村三级防护网络。中国通过2000多种报纸、400多个电视台在几天之内向全国城乡普及了防治SARS的基础知识,做到了家喻户晓。乡村的田边地头可以见到防治SARS的招贴画。由中国国务院新闻办公室编辑以中、英文分别出版的《画说非典》画册也受到了广泛的欢迎。中国成功地防止了最令人担心的SARS在中国广大农村的蔓延。这场中国特色的反SARS之战,体现了中国政府和人民的一致性和中国社会主义制度的高效率,随着中国抗SARS不断取得的成效,中国越来越多地得到了全世界的广泛赞扬。
 
世界已经看到,当这场灾难向中国人民袭来的时候,他们表现出了前所未有的从容和坚强。在灾难面前,大家坚守自己的岗位,通过各种方式相互鼓励和支持。基层街道、居委会等组织有效结成网络。胡锦涛总书记所呼吁的和衷共济、众志成城抗击SARS,成了对抗SARS的有力武器。
 
爱与责任凝聚一个民族
 
在北京的小汤山新医院,每天有1000多位医务工作者不顾个人安危,为挽救每位病人日夜奋战。“健康所系,性命相托”,他们以理性、科学、敬业的精神和超负荷的工作与SARS抗争。“这里危险,让我来!”在危险面前,他们把自己宝贵的生命放在了一边,把一个个垂危的生命拉出了死亡的边缘。SARS出现以来,我国有900多名医护人员被感染,占SARS病例总数的五分之一,不少人已为抗击SARS献出了自己最宝贵的生命。然而,许多刚刚康复的医护人员又义无返顾地纷纷走上前线。他们每天以南丁格尔的名义,实践着希波格拉底的誓言(注:希波格拉底(Hippocrates),公元前五世纪的希腊名医。有著名的希波格拉底誓言:“我要遵守誓约,矢志不渝。对传授我医术的老师,我要像父母一样敬重。对我的儿子、老师的儿子以及我的门徒,我要悉心传授医学知识。我要竭尽全力,采取我认为有利于病人的医疗措施,不能给病人带来痛苦与危害。我不把毒药给任何人,也决不授意别人使用它。我要清清白白地行医和生活。无论进入谁家,只是为了治病,不为所欲为,不接受贿赂,不勾引异性。对看到或听到不应外传的私生活,我决不泄露。”。)我们应该永远记住白衣战士被感染和殉职的人数,也必须记住其中的教训。
 
世卫组织的官员说,中国的医护人员工作极其努力,“世界上没有哪个国家的医护人员能做到这样,中国应该为他们感到骄傲”。
 
在中国的其他城市,每天也都有不少的志愿者走上街头献血。所有迈出的双脚都不会停留,所有伸出的双手都没有犹豫。众志成城,抗击SARS,正是全国民众每一天的实际行动。在中国大地,到处都能听到感人肺腑的故事,感受到临危不惧的心跳。自强不息,厚德载物,人人为我,我为人人。在这场灾难的浴火中,中华民族精神又得到一次提炼和升华。五千年中华文明的力量正是我们自信和坚强的最真实的依据。一开始SARS好像加大了人们的距离,结果拉近了人们心灵的距离。
 
在灾难中,危险无处不在,但爱与责任,已使平凡和伟大变为一体。人们的信念是:让力量传递力量,让生命挽起生命,挺起我们民族的脊梁!让我们用凯旋的圣火,照亮宇宙间的苍茫!
 
现在,在北京的街道旁、胡同里,在新建的草坪和现代化广场上,我们到处能看到人们积极健身的身影和挂在人们脸上自信和必胜的笑容。在他们的脸上,恐惧已经消失,阳光依然灿烂。中华民族与世界人民一样,正在以人类的自强不息和科学态度直面SARS的威胁,并将如世界期望的那样,以永不言败的生命精神走出SARS,走向更加幸福的生活。
 
此刻,我想起了诺贝尔文学奖获得者、波兰女诗人维斯瓦娃·希姆博尔斯卡的著名诗句:
 
我们的战利品就是懂得了世界
 
它是那么伟大,两只手就能够把它抓住
 
那么艰难,可以面带微笑地将它描写
 
那么奇怪,就像祈祷中的古老真理的回声
 
……
 
今天的世界需要相互关爱和支持
 
就在写作本文的时候,得到了关于中国SARS疫情的最新数据:临床病例连续13天为零,疑似病例连续13天为零,死亡人数连续12天为零。总计出现5326例患者或疑似患者,347人死亡,治愈出院4895例。WHO在6月24日向世界宣布,从即日起解除对北京的旅行警告,并将北京从“近期有当地传播”的SARS疫区名单中删除。至此,中国大陆地区所有城市已经全部解脱。我们期盼着,也确信台湾地区也会在最近几天内从SARS的疫区名单中解脱。
 
这场传染病爆发得快,全世界动员得也快,取得成效也快。这似乎说明:经济全球化使传染病可能在24小时内传至世界各地的重要城市,但经济全球化也推动了全球的联合的力量抵抗传染病。
 
我想借此机会,对在我国抗SARS之战中,给予我们大力援助的日本、美国、德国、英国、韩国等许多国家和国际组织及国际友人表示最真诚的谢意!
 
这场SARS危机使我们更深刻地感受到:我们共同生活在一个地球上,相互关爱和支持是多么的重要。
 
附英文原文如下:
 
A hard-won victory by nation and its people
( 2003-07-01 07:39) (China Daily)
Zhao Qizheng
 
In the third spring of the new millennium, China was struck by the sudden outbreak of SARS. It had been wreaking havoc in Guangdong Province, Beijing and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region even before many got to know what severe acute respiratory syndrome was. In the weeks that followed, 32 countries and regions reported SARS cases. Worldwide, SARS infected more than 8,000 people, over 800 of whom  died.
 
China was the hardest-hit area. In a sense it was also the frontline in the global war against SARS.
 
The outbreak of the disease put the Chinese Government and its people to the toughest ever test posed by an epidemic since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
 
At the beginning, a lack of co-ordinated action among different departments, smooth information flow and a properly functioning emergency response mechanism led to misreporting and inaccuracies concerning the number of SARS cases. This, in turn, led to rumour and counter-rumour and eventual public panic.
 
When it acted, the Chinese Government's response was swift and unswerving. On April 20, the former health minister and Beijing mayor were removed from their posts, an unprecedented move. Statistics on SARS cases were corrected and released at a press conference, which presented to the world the real picture of the extent of the SARS epidemic in China.
 
The response was instantaneous. China found itself the focus of the world's media.
 
Some sections of the Western press, ignoring the accepted fact that SARS is a contagious disease, about which we know little even today, unfoundedly reported this natural disaster was a man-made calamity of China's. One publication even carried a picture of an infected lung embedded on the Chinese national flag across its cover, an image which would be considered offensive by any country.
 
To date, medical experts around the world have not yet reached a consensus on the source of the SARS virus. But no matter where it originated, it is a natural disaster, just like many other epidemics that have occurred throughout history.
 
In the midst of the health scare, economic institutions churned out predictions that the economy of China, even that of East Asia, would be severely affected by the SARS epidemic, asserting that East Asia would be dragged into another economic crisis, possibly worse than that of 1997, and that the SARS epidemic would impact seriously on China's investment environment and dampen its growth.
 
Economic institutions revised down their forecast on China's gross domestic product growth, predicting that China's GDP growth would drop by one percentage point, or be reduced by half.
 
It is true that the tourism, catering and retail sales sectors in China have suffered badly. On the other hand, sectors such as telecommunications, sports goods, healthcare products, and family cars have seen their business soar, which has gone someway to making up for economic losses in other areas.
 
The three major international economic organizations - the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank - all urged that the SARS impact on economic development should not be overestimated. They pointed out that the influence on the Asian economy could be contained and controlled, while that on the world economy would be limited.
 
Comments in the US ran that the epidemic was confined within limited areas of China and had not penetrated the vast rural areas, thanks to efficient preventative measures. So the impact on China's economy was not as serious as had first been estimated.
 
The inflow of overseas investment was slowed, not withdrawn or re-directed to other areas, and large infrastructure projects which had been delayed got under way as soon as the disease outbreak eased. So the impact of SARS on the Chinese economy was not fundamental.
 
With no resurgence of the epidemic, economic losses will quickly recover.
 
A report by the Deutsche Bank said China's economy is gaining momentum for rapid growth, and it revised up its prediction of China's GDP growth to 7.5 per cent.
 
The London-based Financial Times said that if China could get the epidemic under effective control by the second quarter, structural damage to the economy would be avoided, and the influence on its GDP would be capped within half a percentage point.
 
SARS did have a negative influence on China's economic development in the first half of the year. But that influence was partial and temporary. The general situation of the Chinese economy is sound and the momentum for rapid growth has been maintained.
 
Primary estimates by relevant departments indicate that the GDP growth for the first-half will stay above 8 per cent.
 
This bears witness to the ability of the Chinese economy to resist crises, although SARS and the Asian financial crisis were of a very different nature.
 
Some targeted China's system accusing it of lacking transparency. The medical system was blamed for being inefficient when it came to dealing with public health emergencies. On this point, a Morgan Stanley report stated that the new generation of Chinese leaders' handling of the SARS crisis displayed their high level of flexibility and encouraging transparency.
 
Timely action by the Chinese Government and the proven positive outcome have won broad acclaim from many quarters, including some areas of the world's media.
 
The disease has exposed weaknesses in some areas of our systems and the need for improvement. But as a nation we are fully capable of making those improvements.
 
In the midst of the fight against SARS, the State Council signed into effect a regulation on May 12 to deal with emergencies concerning public health.
 
Central funds allocated more than 2 billion yuan (US$240 million) for the battle to combat SARS, while local budgets provided 5 billion yuan (US$602 million).
 
It took a record seven days for Beijing to build a 1,000-bed hospital for SARS patients in Xiaotangshan, at a cost of 160 million yuan (US$19.33 million).
 
SARS victims from among the urban poor, farmers and migrant workers were all given free medical treatment. And preventative measures were taken among the transient population in the cities, and from cities to rural areas. A three-level prevention network, encompassing county, town and village levels, was established nationwide.
 
Basic knowledge on SARS prevention was popularized in the vast urban and rural areas via the more than 2,000 newspapers and 400 television stations, while a poster campaign on SARS prevention targeted farming communities.
 
Thanks to the extraordinary and efficient preventative measures enacted, China avoided potentially devastating consequences by successfully blocking the epidemic from penetrating the extensive rural heartland.
 
In May, a visiting World Health Organization (WHO) official recounted his three "surprises" in China. One was that he planned to stay for a week, but after witnessing the wisdom and resolve displayed by the new generation of Chinese leaders in tackling the SARS crisis, he prolonged his stay to 45 days, during which he experienced the ever-closer and better co-operation between the Chinese Government and the WHO.
 
He said that one could not have imagined what great progress China had achieved in so a short period as one month. It is a new milestone on China's road of reform and opening-up.
 
Foreign commentators wrote that in the fight against SARS, the world witnessed the no-nonsense working practice of the Chinese Government, who took surprisingly harsh measures against those who neglected their public duties.
 
Subtle and positive changes have taken place in the country's political and social environment, the working practices of officials, and in the media. Such changes inspired the Chinese people and enhanced their confidence.
 
One concrete action by the leaders is more encouraging than a hundred empty slogans. What the government has done will be long remembered by the people.
 
Under the threat of SARS, the Chinese people also displayed unusual calmness and strength. They stood fast at their own posts, encouraging and supporting each other in various ways.
 
The united will of the people, as called for by President Hu Jintao, proved to be the most powerful weapon in combating SARS.
 
In the newly-built Xiaotangshan hospital in the northwest of the capital, more than 1,000 medical staff worked round-the-clock shifts, putting aside their own safety. They fought a ruthless battle against SARS with the weapons of science, faith and professional devotion.
 
Altogether more than 900 medical workers in the Chinese mainland were infected with SARS, accounting for one fifth of the total. Some even lost their lives. Many who had recovered from SARS resolutely returned to their posts.
 
In the true tradition of the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, they lived up to their Hippocratic oath.
 
The contribution and sacrifice of the medical workers will be remembered always.
 
A WHO official praised the Chinese medical staff, remarking on how very hard they had worked and saying China should be "proud of them."
 
To support the work in those disease struck epicentres including Beijing, volunteers everyday in other cities queued to donate blood. Moving stories mushroomed across this vast land. At this testing time of crisis, the national cohesion of the Chinese people was strengthened and expanded.
 
The 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization is the source of our confidence and strength.
 
SARS prevention measures enlarged the distance between people, but shortened that between their hearts.
 
Today, people are back outside doing their exercises in streets, in alleys, in green areas and squares, wearing confident smiles. They have emerged from the shadow of SARS and have grown from the experience.
 
On June 24, the WHO lifted its SARS travel advisory on Beijing and removed it from the list of areas with recent local transmission. Beijing was the last city on the Chinese mainland to be taken off the alert.
 
We expect, and believe, that Taiwan will also be free from the threat of SARS in the next few days. The WHO travel advisory was earlier lifted, but that concerning recent local transmission remains in effect.
 
As quickly as the disease exploded, the world has witnessed an equally abrupt mobilization in fighting SARS, and equally rapid achievements. Globalization has made it possible for epidemics to spread to major cities around the world within 24 hours. But that same economic globalization has also encouraged the formation of joint forces in the world to fight such diseases.
 
Here I would like to pay my sincere thanks to those countries and international organizations who have contributed greatly to China's winning the battle against SARS.
 
The SARS crisis shows us again that mutual care and support are so important since we share one planet.
 
The author is minister of the State Council Information Office.
 
(China Daily 07/01/2003 page4)



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