Beijing, China / TimesNewswire / January 23, 2023 – Over the past three years, were China’s COVID-19 containment measures as scary as some in the Western media projected them to be? What has been China’s approach to vaccination? And why have the COVID-19 restrictions been optimized now? What’s the true picture? To answer all these questions and beyond, CGTN presents “Every Life Counts,” a documentary featuring first-hand accounts from over 40 expat vloggers who lived through the pandemic in China.
Hailing from countries including the U.S., the UK, Spain, Israel, Colombia and South Africa, expats who have made China their second home share their personal experiences of containment measures, the state of vaccination and, finally, how life has gradually recovered.
Marissa Sylvia Siu, a vlogger and English teacher from the U.S., lived through the entirety of the pandemic in central China’s Wuhan City with her partner and witnessed the gradual recovery of the city.
“When people ask about why I stayed, aside from China’s modern conveniences, my answer is simple: the people,” she said, citing the care the city’s residents showed toward each other in hardship. She praised the exemplary role played by the doctors, volunteers and workers who all came together to meet people’s medical and daily needs. She and her partner also criticized a media outlet for distorting an interview they gave, making it look like they were “starving” in China.
Spanish vlogger Noel Sirerol also spoke out against international skepticism about China and lambasted people who post false information and exaggerate data to scare people and attract more views. In this regard, he explained how a video of a woman eating a bat in Palau in 2016 was wrongfully attributed to the outbreak in China in 2020. “This cuisine has nothing to do with Chinese food,” he said.
Moreover, many expats, including Israeli vlogger Raz Galor and Argentine vlogger Brian O’Shea, helped China, including Wuhan, in the fight against COVID-19. They shared how they put together tons of medical supplies and overcame various difficulties, such as flight cancellations and complicated customs requirements, to get them to the people in need.
China officially joined COVAX on October 8, 2020 and has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. However, when some media outlets discredited China’s vaccine aid and supply, British vlogger Lee Barrett was among many to call this out.
Slamming the accusations of “vaccine diplomacy,” Barrett explained how China cared for people around the world when countries like the U.S. chose to keep vaccines to themselves.
The documentary also features American vlogger Richard Sears, also known as Uncle Hanzi (Chinese characters), sharing the process of his vaccination in China.
As of the end of 2022, 92.9 percent of the Chinese population had been fully vaccinated, including more than 90 percent of people aged above 60.
Given the high vaccination rate, weakened pathogenicity of the virus and availability of effective treatment options including traditional Chinese medicine, China had adapted its COVID-19 response policy to the new conditions.
Consequently, COVID-19 testing booths have disappeared, subways are packed to capacity again and malls are bustling as people gain a renewed feeling of hope and security.
Life is recovering. And behind this success are the people-centered measures and the 1.4 billion Chinese people who backed them, never allowing despair to get the best of them. Indeed, every life counts.