II． Quantitative estimation of the cost of heavy measures
III. Estimation of international economic results of long-term implementation of heavy measures
IV． Model introduction and specific mechanism
Although different countries have different epidemic prevention models, they can be roughly divided into two categories. The first is the “dynamic zero- Covid” mode in mainland China, which aims to completely eliminate the virus. Therefore, it does not hesitate to take extreme measures to close down the cities for up to 30 to 70 days at a time. The whole people will conduct nucleic acid detection every day, the large-scale centralized isolation regardless nucleic acid Yin or Yang, close the market shut down the communities, cancel logistics, disinfecting and sterilizing in houses, etc. One is other countries outside mainland China. Although they have different degrees of strictness in epidemic prevention policies and different policies and measures, from no measures to nucleic acid positive isolation at home for 7 days, they have not taken such extreme measures as mainland China in general.
Assuming that these two kinds of epidemic prevention measures continue for a long time, mainland China has completely eliminated coronavirus at some time, but it is uncertain whether it will occur in the future; other countries have finally achieved mass immunization. They also need to carry out trade, tourism and other exchanges. On the premise of maintaining the existing epidemic prevention mode, how can they communicate? What impact will these epidemic prevention models and the restrictions on international exchanges have on the economies of the world and these two kinds of countries?
I. A simple imagination
Now the world is divided into two parts. The mainland China is called a “heavy-measure economy”, and countries in the world outside the mainland China are called “light-measure economies”. From the perspective of development trend, as long as the goal of “zero-Covid” remains unchanged, it is impossible for heavy-measure economy to gradually reduce measures. Its logic is that once there is an infection case, because Omicron has strong infectivity, it will spread in a short time, so it cannot be relaxed. The goal of light-measure economies is to achieve herd immunization. Finally, most people have antibodies. Even if there are some residual viruses, they will not be quickly infected. Even if they are infected, most people will not get sick, and the severe disease rate and mortality rate are very low. So when the light-measure economies reach their goals, they will gradually reduce their measures until the epidemic prevention measures are completely eliminated.
It is reported that the number of countries in the world that have relaxed the entry restrictions on the COVID-19 has increased to 57 (jiaxin.com, 2022), of which 45 have completely lifted the restrictions (fool visa, 2022), including large and important countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. Other countries are also adjusting in this direction. No compulsory isolation is required for entry into the United States, only a vaccine certificate is required. As a result, light-measure economies may evolve into economies without measures. The heavy-measure economy may also relax some entry restrictions on the basis of the original overly stringent restrictions, but people still need to be isolated for at least 21 days after entry after two nucleic acid and one antigen tests before boarding. If the nucleic acid is positive, one needs to be isolated for a longer time. An extreme example is that a Chinese returned to China to visit his relatives was quarantined for three months (Lawyer Xue Liangquan, 2022). Leaving aside this extreme example, omitting nucleic acid test, antigen test and vaccination, the difference in the entry cost between the two different epidemic prevention modes is equivalent to the cost of 21 days.
The second cost difference between the two epidemic prevention models in international economic exchanges comes from the uncertainty of epidemic prevention measures in the heavy-measure economy. Due to the unpredictability of the emergence of the virus, the model emphasizes “early detection, early report, early diagnosis, early isolation and early treatment”, and takes “early closure of the city” measures against the strong infectivity of the virus. In fact, it is the practice of comprehensively closing the market, closing the community and interrupting the traffic in the whole city, which will bring about the expected instability, which brings high costs for international economic cooperation with high specialization and division of labor. Light-measure economies do not have such problems and their costs.
Third, as the heavy-measure economy in China will have viruses from time to time and the accompanying stringent control measures, the economic division and specialization among domestic regions will also be interrupted from time to time, resulting in a shortage of raw materials and parts, leading to work stoppages, which also weakens China’s original low-cost advantage. Light-measure economies do not have this problem.
The differences in the above three aspects will affect the investment. Investment requires high-frequency exchanges between personnel, talks, investigation, establishment of joint ventures, and application to the government. If the entry and exit are restricted by heavy epidemic prevention measures, these exchanges will be reduced or even suspended due to the high cost. Moreover, investment should also consider the international trade of goods or services, domestic costs, and the stability of the economic and policy environment. If there are negative factors in these aspects, foreign investment will further stagnate.
In addition, the severe restrictions on entry and exit imposed by the heavy-measure economy also affect the exchange of personnel, science, technology, education and culture. The development of science and technology depends on the flow of scientific and technological information, the mutual stimulation of innovative ideas, and the long-term development of science and technology depends on education. These exchanges have been hindered by the cross-border movement of people due to epidemic prevention, which will have a negative impact on the long-term development of the heavy-measure economy.
When the cost increases caused by epidemic prevention in these three aspects are superimposed together, the cost of goods and services in the heavy-measure country rises by a large margin, the cost of tourism also rises by a large margin, and the investment cost rises by a large margin, resulting in a decline in investment, which brings disadvantages compared with the light-measure economies. The light-measure economies are composed of many countries. Due to the lack of obstacles and costs caused by epidemic prevention measures, they are unobstructed in terms of goods, service trade and tourism. Compared with the heavy-measure economy, they have formed a relatively close light-measure economy, forming a more effective division of labor and cooperation, thus replacing the original division of labor and cooperation with the heavy-measure economy.
Therefore, if the heavy-measure economy and the light-measure economies implement the existing epidemic prevention policies for a long time, it will lead to a substantial decline in the former’s trade in goods and services, tourism and investment, significantly reduce its economic growth, or even negative growth, and seriously weaken its economic strength. On the other hand, since there is no barrier of epidemic prevention measures among the light-measure economies, they can smoothly trade, travel and communicate with each other, so as to form closer economic ties and show the trend of integration. If these two modes remain unchanged and parallel for a long time, the heavy-measure economy may have obvious cultural differences from the light-measure economies.
II. Quantitative estimation of the costs of heavy measures
The first is the cost estimation of entry quarantine measures. For simplicity, we assume that entry will bring a transaction income equivalent to the annual per capita GDP of the country of entry. That is to say, he or she may be engaged in international trade, investment investigation, or tourism, and the value it creates is equivalent to the per capita GDP of the country to which he or she belongs. This is, of course, too high an estimate, but it is acceptable for the sake of conservatism and convenience. For the same reason, the cost of entry epidemic prevention is only the isolation cost, and other costs, such as nucleic acid detection and vaccination, are ignored. The isolation cost is calculated according to the isolation days, which is 21 days in mainland China and zero days in other countries. Isolation not only brings the cost of not working, but also causes physical and psychological losses, so it cannot be estimated only by the loss of work income. Assuming that the physical and psychological losses are equivalent to their losses of work income, the cost of isolation should be 42 days.
Then estimate the relative value of this isolation cost, that is, dividing 42 days by 365 days a year, and get 11.8%. Since we estimate the value of international exchanges according to the per capita GDP of each country, this ratio directly represents the relative value of the cost of international exchanges and epidemic prevention of each country. That is equivalent to 11.8% tariff increase for all trade, investment, services and tourism.
Second, it is necessary to estimate how much the uncertainty brought about by mainland China’s epidemic prevention measures is equivalent to the cost for international partners. When financial economics estimates the risk, it thinks that the risk means the cost, and the risk uses the fluctuation standard deviation as the index to measure the cost. For example, for two kinds of financial assets with the same expected return, the financial asset with small price fluctuation, that is, the financial asset with small fluctuation standard deviation, is a better choice. This shows that volatility means increased costs. However, the nature of the uncertainty caused by the epidemic prevention model in mainland China is not quite the same. This is not a cyclical fluctuation with roughly regular patterns, but an interruption of production and cooperation that does not know when it will occur. Assuming that there is a 10% probability of such a situation in a year, and each time it is interrupted for one month, it is also a heavy blow to international collaborators. This will affect the contract execution of partners and even lose the market. If an asset has a 10% probability of interrupting production and operation, the asset will be depreciated by 10%. In the long run, this is equivalent to a 10% increase in tariffs in the field of trade and investment.
Third, it should be estimated that the uncertainty of epidemic prevention measures will lead to the loss of domestic specialization and cooperation. The estimation method is roughly the same as the above method. Only in China, the probability of interrupting production and operation is higher. Because any one of the cooperative parties may be interrupted by sudden epidemic prevention measures. Not only the places where the epidemic occurred would be closed, but also the national or local transportation system would be interrupted. Therefore, we assume that there is a 20% probability that the production and operation will be interrupted. If each interruption lasts for one month, it may be interrupted for two months in a year. This is equivalent to a 20% increase in production costs for domestic enterprises.
Taken together, these three parts account for about 41.8% that is the cost of products or services in mainland China has risen by 41.8%.
III. Estimation of international economic results of long-term implementation of heavy measures
According to some data, assuming that the average cost of goods or services in other countries is 13.5% higher than that in mainland China (Ten Dimensional Vision company, 2021; this is certainly a higher estimate), we estimate that there is only the cost of entry isolation, equivalent to 11.8% of per capita GDP; adding international uncertain cost 10%, together is 21.8%; again adding the domestic uncertain cost 20%, together is 41.8%. These three cost increases are equivalent to the imposition of tariffs at the same rate. Put the data into the international trade model of ten dimensional spatial economics and institutional economics model, and the results are shown in the figure below.
Figure 1 estimation of economic contraction caused by heavy measures of epidemic prevention
When the cost of entry isolation is 11.8%, the GDP drops to 88% of the normal level. 11percentage points are the demand directly reduced due to the increase of costs, and 1 percentage point is the demand of Chinese enterprises whose goods or services were replaced by other countries.
When the international uncertain cost is added to 10% and the cumulative cost is 21.8%, the GDP drops to 78% of the normal level. 12 percentage points of the decrease are the reduction in demand caused by the increase in cost, and 10 percentage points are reduced by the replacement of the market by other countries.
When the domestic uncertainty cost is added to 20% and the cumulative cost is 41.8%, the GDP drops to 51% of the normal level. The 14 percentage-point drop is the demand reduced due to the increase of cost, and the 35 percentage points are the market share replaced.
Figure 2 Schematic diagram of Chinese enterprise market being replaced by foreign enterprises
Of the three situations, one is more serious than the other. In fact, if we take the existing epidemic prevention model in mainland China as a whole, the most likely scenario is the third. In this case, the economy is equivalent to collapse. The market shrank by a large margin, and capital (not only foreign capital) fled in large numbers. Due to the lack of investment, the economic prospect was even bleaker.
If this epidemic prevention model is implemented for a long time, the mainland China will be isolated from all other “light-measure economies” and finally become decoupled. This is epidemic prevention decoupling. If decoupling, the mainland China and the world will lose the benefits of global integration. Compared with mainland China, all other countries can maintain smooth economic exchanges, so they are a relatively close economy compared with mainland China, and they suffer less losses in decoupling from mainland China. This is because their enterprises partially replace Chinese enterprises, and the price is higher.
Figure 3 Estimation of economic consequences of epidemic prevention decoupling
The above figure is the result of using the “International trade model of ten dimensional spatial economics and institutional economics model” to simulate the decoupling of mainland China from the rest of the world due to excessive epidemic prevention. After decoupling, the world economy is equivalent to 92.4% of that before decoupling, while the economy of mainland China has dropped to 68.6% and that of other countries is equivalent to 97% of that before decoupling. The reason why other countries do not reduce much is that they obtain the market the mainland China gives up. This estimation method is different from the previous method of considering epidemic prevention measures equivalent to tariff hikes. The reason why it is not reduced to 51% is that the domestic cost increased due to heavy epidemic prevention measures in China is not taken into account here.
Decoupling does not seem to reduce much of world GDP. In fact, this is not the whole loss of decoupling. The benefits of free trade are mainly the increase of consumer surplus, which is reflected in the decline of prices. The price decline will not be reflected in GDP. Decoupling is equivalent to the suspension of free trade, and it will not reflect the loss of the reduction of consumer surplus.
It is worth pointing out that the above estimates are only static estimates, without considering the dynamic results of decoupling losses, including the multiplier effect caused by decoupling static losses, the reduction of division of labor and specialization, the weakening of competition, the enhancement of monopoly, the weakening of innovation intensity, the slowdown of scientific and technological development caused by the reduction of international exchanges, and so on.
IV. Model introduction and specific mechanism
The model used in this paper is developed on the basis of the “ten dimensional spatial economics and institutional economics simulation model” (Sheng Hong, 2022) that I constructed to analyze international trade. Because this model has the function of institutional economics, it can be used to test policies and institutions, and it can also be used to test the limitations on international exchanges. In our analysis of China US decoupling in 2020, I used this model to make a rough estimate of the results (ten dimensional vision company, 2021). The figure below shows the static loss estimation caused by chip decoupling in this study.
Figure 4 Static loss of the world market of China’s electromechanical products caused by chip decoupling
On the basis of testing the population density distribution, economic distribution, industrial distribution and their institutional policies, this model converts epidemic prevention restrictions into equivalent tariff hikes, and can estimate the situation of heavy-measure economy. In economics, an obvious difference between trading and non-trading is that trading will bring trading dividends, while non trading will not. In the calculation, it simply shows the difference between the total income after the accumulation of the cost function and utility function of both parties to the transaction and the sum of the income formed by their respective cost function and utility function before the accumulation.
We have seen that the authorities have a clear understanding of the consequences of decoupling. It once proposed “never decoupling” and adopted a series of counter decoupling measures.
However, on the other hand, it claimed that it would “unswervingly” adhere to the heavy measures. The above research shows that the result is epidemic prevention decoupling. This is to use its own policies to achieve the goals it “never” want to see.
“Unwavering” in adhering to heavy measures for epidemic prevention and “never decoupling” cannot be achieved at the same time. Therefore, this shows that the authorities lack the logical consistency of policies on the macro level.
The reason for this result is that a single administrative goal is above the constitutional principles and comprehensive social goals, and a government that theoretically takes into account the overall social situation is narrowed into an epidemic prevention department.
The way to overcome this problem is to return to the Constitution and put epidemic prevention under the Constitution; the authorities return to a theoretical government, and cannot continue to be an epidemic prevention department above the theoretical government.
Jiaxin. Com, “The 57 countries do not need vaccination and isolation”, Jiaxin. Com, May 27, 2022.
Fool Visa, “list Summary – 45 countries / regions in the world have cancelled all entry restrictions related to Covid”, Tencent News, May 28, 2022.
Sheng Hong, “Simulation and comparison of several epidemic prevention models”, Professor Sheng Hong, May 5, 2022.
Ten dimensional vision company, “The degree of decoupling between China and the United States and its impact”, Professor Sheng Hong, February 26, 2021.
Lawyer Xue Liangquan, “My three-month magical journey in China”, Lawyer Xue of the United States, April 6, 2022.
Note: the “+” sign in front of each measure represents that this measure is an additional measure based on the previous measures, and the results are cumulative. The same after.
Look at the leftmost column in the figure, “No Measures”. The infected index (the number of infected people on a day is equivalent to the percentage of the previous day) exceeds 100%, which is 215%. It is obviously an exponential expansion, and the virus infection does not converge. Compared with the increase of various epidemic prevention measures, such as reducing unnecessary contacts, non-face-to-face transactions, maintaining social distance, personal protection, etc., its the infected index is the highest, and the death caused by Covid-19 is also the highest (0.14).
B. Dynamic zero-COVID policy
“Dynamic Zero-COVID” reduced the death toll of Covid-19, but it was not significant, from 0.14 to 0.03. However, the additional deaths from other causes are as high as 5, which is obviously disproportionate. Meanwhile, the GDP index decreased from 100% to 5%. The economy was hit hard. This shows that the benefits of the epidemic prevention measures cannot cover its costs, including the cost of lives.
C. Non-mandatory Measures + the infected home isolation
After taking six measures such as reducing unnecessary contacts, non-face-to-face transactions, maintaining social distance and personal protection, the infected people index fell below 100%, to 98%, indicating convergence. But it is still close to 100%, which should be said to be on the edge of convergence and expansion. At this time, the measures of the infected home isolation (assumed to be 7 days), reduce the basic reproduction by half. Because anyone who tests positive for nucleic acid at any time will be quarantined immediately. Due to the large number of people, on average, it will reduce the time of infecting others by half. At this time, the infected index further dropped to 71%. The death toll fell to 0.05. No additional deaths. GDP remained unchanged.
D. Simple comparison
I will put reducing unnecessary contacts, non-face-to-face transactions, non-contact transactions, maintaining social distance, personal protection, institutional protection and other measures together as “non mandatory measures”, and put them together with the infected home isolation as a model. Closing the market, closing the community and difficult medical treatment are called “Compulsory Measures” as the “Ddynamic Zero Covid” mode.
Obviously, in the three models, in reducing the the infected index, “No Measures” is 219%, which has strong divergence, and the number of infected people will increase rapidly, which is obviously undesirable. The “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode is the best, which is 47%. However, compared with “Non-mandatory + Home Isolation”, the benefit is limited. The latter index is also significantly lower than 100% , 75%, which is convergent. In nature, they are all inhibiting the spread of the virus, but the speed of “Non-compulsory + Home Isolation” is not so fast.
In terms of reducing the death of the Covid-19, “No Measures” did not reduce. Although the death of the Covid-19 on the first day was 0.14, but because the infected index was 219%, there would be many after many days, but the upper limit was limited by the total population. So it’s not advisable. The “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode is the best, but it is limited. There are only 0.02 fewer people in a day than “non-mandatory + home isolation”. However, at the same time, the “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode has the largest number of additional deaths from other diseases, up to 5 people per day. This will increase with the extension of the implementation days, and the additional death toll is equivalent to 5 people multiplied by the number of days. In the sense that life is equal, the “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode directly leads to death, violates the basic moral principles of behavior, and brings more deaths, which is costly. The additional death toll of “No Measures” and “Non-compulsory + Home Isolation” is zero.
In terms of GDP index, both “No Measures” and “Non-compulsory + Home Isolation” remain 100%, that is, epidemic prevention will not affect the economy. The “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode is 5%, indicating that the economy has been hit hard.
Comparatively speaking, “Non-compulsory + Home Isolation” is the best in various indicators and comprehensive effect. The infected index is 75%, which is obviously convergent; the additional death toll is zero; its GDP index is 100%, which does not affect the economy.
E. Some notes
The models here are pure and does not exist in reality. There is no complete model of No Measures, there are still some measures, such as banning large-scale gatherings, vaccination, self-isolation of the infected persons, etc.. There is no perfect Zero Covid-19 mode. It is assumed that the “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode does not have the cross infection caused by crowded nucleic acid detection, rush to buy before the closure of the city and grab food in the shelter; there are no administrative departments that violate human rights and harm people’s livelihood, and so on. However, if the perfect “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode is not desirable, those with these phenomena are even less desirable.
The city closure policy of closing the market, restricting online shopping and closing the community will bring hunger panic and make people who are qualified to work at home panic all day. They spend most of their time on survival, such as grabbing vegetables and group buying. They are often harassed by the police and epidemic prevention personnel under the pretext of “epidemic prevention”, thus losing the conditions and time of work from home. Therefore, this model does not assume that people can work effectively from home during the closure of the city.
These models do not consider the role of vaccination. Because according to a large number of observations, the vaccine does not prevent infection, and if it has the effect of reducing severe illness or death, it has been included in the existing statistics.
2. Model introduction
The model used here is the “Ten Dimensional Spatial Economics and Institutional Economics Simulation Model” constructed by me, and its core concept is “agglomeration”. Market network externalities are generated by agglomeration, that is, the number of transactions between people will increase faster due to the increase of population density. The basic research unit is “transaction”. A transaction can bring transaction dividends and transaction costs. Spatial economics estimates the number of transactions according to the population density of different spatial locations, and then estimates the total income from the transaction dividend. Institutional economics also takes transaction as the basic unit of research, and transaction cost is the core concept. Therefore, spatial economics and institutional economics are connected here. This model can estimate the economic output according to the degree and scale of population agglomeration, and estimate the optimal industry in a specific location according to the population density. And we can also use the nature of institutional economics to test institutional change and policy. I explained the basic mechanism of this model in the article “Transaction and City”. We have used this model to compile three industrial plans for local governments, all of which are relatively successful.
Figure 5 Distribution of population density of a city
In order to simplify, this model assumes that epidemic prevention measures will be taken after the virus has been infected for 10 days and the number of infected people has reached 2549. Comparing the second day after taking epidemic prevention measures with the previous day, it is the concept of rate, that is, the change between two days, but it can also be seen that the general trend of epidemic prevention is expansion, invariance or convergence. The “death toll” in the model is also the absolute number of a day, which can be compared with the scale of the model itself (population, GDP, area).
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020, I found that the spread of the virus was similar to the transaction, which was realized through human contact. “Agglomeration” makes the virus easier to spread. Therefore, the original spatial economic model is extended to estimate the impact on economic output under the condition that epidemic prevention measures limit people’s contacts. I use the model to simulate the results of Wuhan City closure, which shows that under the limited effect of resisting the spread of the virus, the economic output is significantly reduced. I also tried to find a way to balance epidemic prevention and economy by reducing the contacts of virus transmission without hindering the transaction, so I wrote “We need both epidemic prevention and transaction”.
Later, I found that the Basic Reproduction Number (R0) of the virus has not only natural attributes, but also social attributes. It is related to the communication frequency and population density between people, which is related to social development and mode of production. When people reduce their contacts, the Basic Reproduction Number decreases. If we find a method that can reduce direct contacts without affecting the transactions, and do not pursue virus clearing, but just set the goal to reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than one, we can make the virus spread converge and eventually die out. I also extended the model with this consideration, simulated several measures to reduce contacts and maintain trading, and tested the results, so I wrote the article “The appropriate goal of fighting the Covid-19 is to reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than one”.
3、 Basic mechanism
First of all, we don’t have to pursue virus clearing, because it’s too expensive and difficult to achieve. As long as we reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than one, the spread of the virus will fade and eventually disappear. As shown below. This is the downward trend of the virus in 365 days. Although slow, if compared with the actual effect in the past two years, it doesn’t seem to be slow now.
Figure 6 schematic diagram of virus infection with Basic Reproduction Number less than 1
Assuming that the Basic Reproduction Number is the product of natural factors and social factors, it is expressed as: Basic Reproduction Number = natural factor coefficient × Social factor coefficient This means that the Basic Reproduction Number will change in the same proportion with the change of social factor coefficient. If we count the average number of contacts per day as 100%, assuming that reducing the frequency of contacts will reduce the Basic Reproduction Number in the same proportion, that is, if we reduce the average number of contacts by 10%, the Basic Reproduction Number will also be reduced by 10%; the average number of contacts decreased by 50%, and the Basic Reproduction Number also decreased by 50%; Then we can infer that if we reduce the interaction frequency to a certain number, the Basic Reproduction Number will fall below 1. For example, when the Basic Reproduction Number is 3.77, if we reduce the interaction frequency to 25% of the normal level, the Basic Reproduction Number will drop to 0.94. This means that as long as we reduce the interaction frequency to 1/4 of our daily life, we can reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than 1. In other words, we don’t have to close the city and roads, and we don’t have to stay at home to fight COVID-19 (Sheng Hong, 2020).
In this article, I put forward measures such as “reducing unnecessary communication”, “non-face-to-face transaction”, “non-contact transaction”, “maintaining social distance”, “tested in advance of going to the gathering place”, “halving the carrying capacity of public transport”, “personal protection” and “institutional protection”, which can reduce infection and do not hinder transactions. The simulation is done with the model, and the results are feasible.
Fig. 7 Schematic diagram of cumulative effect of four epidemic prevention measures
Source: Sheng Hong, 2020b.
The above measures can be summarized into one category, that is, they are non-mandatory measures. Mandatory measures, such as “closing the market”, “closing the community” and “difficult to see a doctor”, are very different. First, while reducing virus infection, we will reduce transactions by a larger margin, so as to reduce economic output; second, compulsion is bound to go against the will of citizens. Because everyone is the best judge of himself, compulsion brings violations of civil rights and damage to interests, health, freedom and dignity. So mandatory measures are costly.
4、 Basic description of this model
This is to borrow a model of spatial economics. Its basic scale is 100 square kilometers, with a population of about 430000 and a GDP of 13.5 billion. The space consists of 100 * 100 grids, each of which is 1 hectare, i.e. 100 meters * 100 meters.
Because the transmission of the virus is uncertain, the infected people are randomly distributed, which varies with time and density.
Fig. 8 Random distribution of infected persons
For simplicity, I only consider the infection rate in one day. If it is greater than 100%, it is divergent, indicating that epidemic prevention is unsuccessful; if it is less than 100%, it is convergent, indicating that epidemic prevention is effective.
I estimated the infection rate based on the Basic Reproduction Number and the intergenerational interval of virus infection. Although the intergenerational interval is actually normally distributed, considering the staggered and successive time of many infected people, we regard the intergenerational interval as the average. The Basic Reproduction Number is calculated by the intergenerational interval (days), and the daily infection rate is obtained. Please experts correct this point.
Used to estimate the effect and cost. By multiplying the number of infections by the case fatality rate, we can see that the number of Covid-19 deaths reduced by infection’s reducing. At the same time, use the model to estimate the GDP under specific measures and obtain its economic cost. Additional deaths from other diseases caused by specific measures should also be estimated as the life cost of specific epidemic prevention measures. In this model, because the number is small, I use the absolute number instead of the ratio. However, it can be compared with the population size of this model.
In this model, the non-mandatory measures I adopt are to eliminate unnecessary contacts, non-face-to-face transaction, non-contact transaction, maintaining social distance, personal protection and institutional protection. Mandatory measures are to close the market, close the community and make it difficult to see a doctor. Closing the market includes closing physical stores and banning online shopping. Closing the community means that residents cannot go out of the community to work, study, purchase and entertainment. What is difficult to see a doctor is that epidemic prevention measures hinder and delay medical treatment.
All Non-mandatory Measures have the effect of reducing contact infection without reducing transactions; Mandatory Measures reduce contact infection and trade at same time. Reducing contacts reduces the Basic Reproduction Number; if the transaction frequency is reduced, the output brought by the transactions is reduced. In the specific calculations, the parameters affecting infection and transaction are different, so the results of infection or transaction of Mandatory Measures and Non-mandatory Measures are different.
5、 Data selection
The first is the Basic Reproduction Number and the Average Intergenerational Interval between infections. This is one of the main differences between Covid-19 original strain and Omicron. The original data I used was proposed by Zhong Nanshan’s team. The Basic Reproduction Number of the original Covid-19 strain is 3.77 and the intergenerational interval of infection is 7.5 days. At present, the Basic Reproduction Number of Omicron is 10 (epidemic investigation to the end, 2022), and the time interval is 3 days (China Network Live Broadcast, 2022).
Another important parameter is mortality. I noticed that there are two kinds of data in the official data of mainland China, one is “confirmed cases” and the other is “asymptomatic infected persons”. The current controversy over mortality may arise from this. Some people use confirmed cases as the base to estimate the case fatality rate, while Zhang Wenhong’s case fatality rate is based on all infected persons, that is, the number of confirmed cases and asymptomatic infected persons is added. Since the authorities regard all nucleic acid positive people as patients, they are forced to be isolated; therefore, we should base on all infected persons (nucleic-acid positive persons).
If we are stricter, we can use the case fatality rate and the infected death rate. Infection does not mean illness. Of course, here, this is equivalent to Zhang Wenhong’s “case fatality rate”. We are following the difination of Zhang Wenhong, but we can’t use the data of Shanghai. Because there are political factors behind this. In order to provide a legal basis for “Dynamic Zero-COVID”, officials have recently stuffed many non Covid-19 deaths into the Covid-19 death data (Liu Zhongliang, 2022). So we should avoid the data of Shanghai. Choose another large-scale but not politicized data.This is the data of Jilin Province.
From March 1 to May 4, 2022, there were 36818 asymptomatic infections, 39640 confirmed cases, together is 76458 infections and 2 deaths in Jilin (Baidu, 2022). The case fatality rate was about0.000026.
According to China Health Statistical Yearbook 2020, the number of outpatient and emergency patients is 65643 80000 person times (National Health Commission, 2020, P. 181), about 0.469 of the total population. Admissions per 100 emergency patients are 4.41(National Health Commission, 2020, P. 130). The emergency admission rate of residents was 0.02. 0.000056 per day. This parameter represents the rate of serious illness in the emergency department. If it is delayed, patients may die. It is assumed that it is difficult to see a doctor due to “epidemic prevention”, resulting in the delay of treatment of about 50% of patients, of which the probability of death is 20%. The death rate of residents with delayed emergency was 0.0000056.
6、 A few more words
(1) If the unit cost remains unchanged, when the basic parameters of virus transmission, the Basic Reproduction Number and the average inter-generational interval of infection change to the extent that Omicron is compared with the original Covid-19 strain, the cost of epidemic prevention is completely unbearable. The change of this parameter has a great impact. If the two novel coronavirus types start to infect at the same time, the number of people infected by Omicron on the 20th day is 134821 times that of the original strain. As shown below. Even if the epidemic prevention cost of Omicron is 1 / 10 of that of the original strain due to economies of scale, the cost is still unbearable. This is an important factor that needs to change the epidemic prevention mode.
Figure 5 multiple of the number of people infected with Omicron relative to the number of people infected with the original coronavirus
(2) At this time, it is a requirement to distort the allocation of medical resources to emphasize that “all must be inspected if should”, “all must be quarantined if should”, “all must be collected if should”, “all must be treated if should”. The so-called “all must be inspected if should”, which means that all medical resources are used for nucleic acid testing, which is a simple work, crowding out professionals for the treatment of various diseases; The so-called “all must be quarantined if should”, “all must be collected if should”, “all must be treated if should”, the boundary is the most mild patients – asymptomatic infected people, which makes the scarce medical resources occupied by lighter patients, and excludes the severe patients with other diseases, and even the really severe Covid-19 patients.
(3) In the “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode, from the idea of “early detection, early report, early isolation and early treatment” to “early closure of the city”, it is believed that the virus can be suppressed and the city be unsealed as soon as possible, but it is not. Since the emergence of the virus is random, people do not know when the virus will appear. No matter how fast the city is closed or unsealed, it will interrupt the transaction and production. The modern division of labor system requires that cooperation is stable and predictable. The loss of city closure is not measured by the length of time, but the uncertainty brought by “Dynamic Zero-COVID” will lead to the instability of economic division of labor and the loss of contract, even losing markets forever.
(4) The comprehensive closure of the city and the forced isolation of others beyond patients and close contacts obviously also bring the price of unwarranted restriction of human freedom. This cost can be compared and weighed against the lives saved. Therefore, the upper limit of quarantine is that the social cost should not be higher than the social benefit. See the following formula.
Social cost: number of people isolated × Days ≤ Social benefits: the reduced number of infections due to quarantine × Mortality × (reduced life expectancy of Covid-19 death) × 365 days (Sheng Hong, 2021)
At present, the practice of closing cities with few cases is a great waste of social resources and human life.
(5) Forced nucleic-acid positive but asymptomatic infected persons leave home for shelter isolation, which is even worse than home isolation in terms of reducing infection and treating diseases. The actual data show that asymptomatic people turn negative in about seven days without special treatment (Lei Ceyuan, 2022), so they can achieve this goal at home; shelter isolation increases the risk of cross infection, while home isolation does not. Moreover, shelter isolation has also increased the investment of a large number of public resources. Home isolation only uses residents’ ready-made houses.
(6) Originally, the problem that the power of the party and government system in mainland China is not constrained has not been solved. Excessive epidemic prevention provides them with the opportunity to abuse public power for personal gain and violate human rights. They took advantage of the opportunity of epidemic prevention to restrict market supply, suppress competitors, and even take support materials from other provinces and sell them to residents at high prices. Without any legal basis or following any legal procedures, police or epidemic prevention personnel have repeatedly broken into civilian houses and kidnapped residents.
(7) Although the strong infectivity of Omicron will be greatly alleviated by the low case fatality rate, it seems right to say that “the absolute number of deaths due to China’s huge population base is also large”. However, the conclusion that “Dynamic Zero-COVID” must be implemented is specious. First, even a huge population base has an upper limit. According to the current population of mainland China, even if all are infected, according to the case fatality rate we get from Jilin Province, the death toll will not exceed 37000. Second, the population base is huge, and the implementation of “Dynamic Zero-COVID” will lead to more additional deaths; Third, to say not to “Dynamically Zero-COVID” is not to go to the other extreme – “lying flat”, but to adjust to “non-compulsory measures + nucleic-acid positive home isolation”, which will inhibit the spread of the virus, reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than one, and will not lead to a great increase in the death of Covid-19.
(8) Due to the requirement of “Dynamically Zero-COVID” and the lack of probability concept, it will lead to the high-frequency testing of nucleic acid to “all”, which will not only waste resources, but also bring the result of gathering people for cross infection. If the goal is to “reduce the Basic Reproduction Number to less than one”, the method of random sampling can be adopted. For example, if a sample accounting for one thousandth of the total population is taken each time, it can judge whether the Basic Reproduction Number is less than one by observing whether the number (proportion) of positive samples in the two-time samples increases or decreases. This will bring great savings and security.
(9) Because the current “Dynamic Zero-COVID” mode is strongly tied with all people nucleic acid, forced asymptomatic infected people to isolate out of home, closed communities, closed markets, obstacles to emergency treatment, etc., it is heavily dependent on the unrestricted administrative system, which is characterized by repeated aggregation and forced contact, resulting in it becoming a virus infection system, resulting in the long-term non remission of virus infection, And it will inevitably spread to other areas, so it itself is a huge obstacle to epidemic prevention, and the goal of “Dynamically Zero-COVID” can not be achieved.
(10) Now it seems that the current epidemic prevention policy lacks the data and research basis of human behavior. If spend 1 / 100 of the current cost of epidemic prevention, hire anthropologists and sociologists to observe and study the epidemic anthropology, and find out the epidemic prevention effect of people’s behavior, for example, which can easier lead to the spread of the virus, to buy from the market or to organize group purchase by the neighborhood committee? Which is more conducive to epidemic prevention and treatment, to isolate at home or in the shelter? And which can reduce virus infection more effectively, to set up checkpoints everywhere to check the health code or Nucleic acid proof or remove these checkpoints? And so on, on the basis of these observations and studies, the formulation of relevant epidemic prevention policies will be closer to the actual situation and achieve better results.
Finally, it should be emphasized that this model is a very simple model, and the simulated results only have schematic reference value. In particular, I am a layman in epidemic prevention, and there will be many unprofessional mistakes and even hard errors. I hope professionals can point them out. At the same time, I also believe that my different knowledge structure and perspective will enlighten and supplement them and help them improve their research and scheme suggestions. My simulation and comparison is also provided to policy makers as a reference if they see it and are willing to see it.
Baidu, “Real time big data report of epidemic situation \ Jilin Province”, Baidu, May 5, 2022.
National Health Commission, China Health Statistical Yearbook 2020, China Union Medical University Press, 2020.
Lei Ceyuan, “President of Shanghai fangcang hospital: many patients didn’t know how to get infected, but they turn negative in an average of 7 days”, Shangguan News, April 22, 2022.
Liu Zhongliang, “People’s daily interviewed Zhang Wenhong and Chen Erzhen. Does Shanghai and Hong Kong data tell you that you should fear the Omicron”, Headline Article, April 28, 2022.
Sheng Hong, “We need both epidemic prevention and trade”, FT Chinese, February 12, 2020.
Sheng Hong, “Transaction and city”, Research on Institutional Economics, No. 3, 2013.
Sheng Hong, “The appropriate goal of fighting the Covid-19 is to reduce the basic reproduction number to less than 1”, Professor Sheng Hong, April 23, 2020.
Sheng Hong, “Scientific epidemic prevention under the constitutional framework”, Forget talk Hill Study, November 27, 2021.
After the Epidemic Investigation, “Hard core evidence-based R0 = 9.5 = 1 transmission 10? What can’t R0 tell us?” Surging, April 26, 2022.
Live Broadcast on China.com, “The average generation spacing between Omicron infection cases is 3 days, and the transmission capacity is twice that of delta mutant”, Live Broadcast on China.com, April 27, 2022.
Recently, there have been many criticisms of excessive epidemic prevention, which can now be ignored. Just one point is enough to show that excessive epidemic prevention is wrong. That is, excessive epidemic prevention must be associated with violations of freedom of expression. Two years ago, when Wuhan was blocked down, the writer Fang Fang wrote A Diary of Blocking the City. In my opinion, it was very gentle, but it was suppressed and attacked by the authorities. A number of people who reported the truth about Wuhan were also banned or arrested. A few days ago, when Xi’an was closed, there were some voices telling the truth and calling for improvement, but they were also deleted or suppressed. I once criticized it in the article “The uglier if covering up the scandal, ridiculed when boasting”, saying that “the act of suppressing exposure of the scandal is uglier than the scandal itself”. Freedom of expression is a constitutional right of citizens, which is clearly stated in Article 35 of the Constitution. Constitutional rights are fundamental rights, embodying the lessons of blood and tears from the rise and fall of ancient and modern times, at home and abroad. They can not be limited or denied under any excuse. Of course, the “epidemic prevention” is no exception.
Freedom of expression is not only the natural right of individual citizens, but also the best principle to form the best public decision-making from the perspective of epistemology. A society is composed of many individuals, and the quality of public decision-making depends on the number of people who agree with it; the best public decision is the decision agreed by all citizens; Of course, in practice, in order to reduce the voting cost, the majority principle and representative system are adopted. If you want to know how many people agree with a decision, you first need them to express it. Voting in the legislative stage, hearing in the policy-making process, and speaking in daily life. If the freedom of expression is restricted, the will of citizens cannot be fully expressed, and it is impossible to make public decisions that fully absorb the opinions of the majority. Epidemic prevention policy is also a kind of public decision-making. It should be made based on scientific research and analysis on the basis of full expression of public opinions and a comprehensive and true understanding of the costs and benefits of epidemic prevention. If citizens’ freedom of expression is restricted, the epidemic prevention policy will have no basis and go wrong way, resulting in great social losses.
Violations of freedom of expression should add the word “more” in Shanghai today. The two articles I wrote about the epidemic situation in Shanghai, the articles referred to in “It can’t ‘prevent epidemic’ by killing people intendedly” and “The mistakes of ‘Zero Covid'” were deleted in a very short time. In particular, the “list of deaths of epidemic prevention in Shanghai” recorded the names and causes of death of people who died in Shanghai due to excessive epidemic prevention, but it was chased and killed by the Shanghai authorities, posted and deleted repeatedly. Shanghai people still keep it on the Internet. So far, more than 180 dead people have been recorded. Among them, 9 people jumped from the building, 4 people were cut off due to oxygen supply, 4 people were not provided with enough dialysis equipment, 12 people were not treated in time for heart disease, and 4 people had cerebral hemorrhage originally. An ordinary government should apologize and mourn for the abnormal death caused by its improper measures. However, the Shanghai authorities did not apologize and regret at all, but wanted people to forget that these people died. Its direct motive is to cover up mistakes, but this is not only a direct violation of Article 35 of the Constitution, but also a great insult to the dead. When the body is dead, do you want the name to die?
It should be said that these vicious events are encouraged by the violation of free expression. For a long time, many local governments in China have regarded monitoring citizens’ speech and suppressing free expression as routine work, which is in violation of the Constitution and the Police Law. The property rights of private enterprises have been infringed, the houses of residents have been illegally demolished, women have been kidnapped and raped, children have been disabled due to vaccination, and all citizens whose rights have been infringed want to complain and criticize, they have their posts been deleted, or “admonished” by the police, or even arrested. Therefore, the violations of citizens’ rights by the local government have been sheltered, not corrected, but worse. Shanghai is not much better than other places. In fact, two years ago, the police forced an old man to be isolated from home at 2:00 in the middle of the night. The old man was tossed into a cerebral hemorrhage on the spot and later died. His son’s information published on social platforms for many times has been deleted (List of deaths of the epidemic prevention in Shanghai, 2022, No. 109). The Shanghai government and police are used to this, but it is only this time that the scope involves the whole of Shanghai that attracts people’s attention.
Deleting the information of the dead and suppressing all kinds of criticism is tantamount to expressing an attitude that is, refusing to admit and correct mistakes. Therefore, the vicious events that have occurred cannot make the Shanghai authorities moderated. When Nurse Zhou Shengni lost her life due to delayed treatment due to nucleic acid restriction, the Shanghai authorities received a lot of criticism. I also wrote an article that “closing the emergency room” is tantamount to deliberately killing people, which is tantamount to personal homicide “(2022). The Shanghai authorities will not be unaware of this truth. However, despite the Shanghai authorities’ statement that “it cannot be closed”, after that, 16 people died due to delayed treatment due to “epidemic prevention” obstacles such as nucleic acid (List of deaths of the epidemic prevention in Shanghai, 2022), which is “intentional killing”. They can tie the critically ill old people out of his home in the middle of the night, but they can’t be swift and resolute in treating emergency patients. It’s obviously just perfunctory. Therefore, violating the right to freedom of expression means adhering to the evil policy of “epidemic prevention”. This “epidemic prevention” must be wrong if it is associated with the violation of free expression.
Violation of freedom of expression, deletion and suppression of cries for help, information of the dead, and criticism, is to refuse social feedback. A good epidemic prevention policy should be synthesized and refined after absorbing information from all aspects of society and listening to the opinions of various experts; And in the implementation process, it is constantly adjusted with the change of parameters and implementation results. Without social feedback, there can be no correct policy. For every ordinary person, he or she knows where the life danger comes from, whether it is the current basic disease or the Covid-19; whether at home or in the shelter is better for his health; Especially for some elderly people, when they judge that isolation from home will be more likely to hurt their lives, their refusal is the feedback of reasonable information. This kind of information is also valuable for policy makers and implementers. If they really want to protect people’s lives, respecting these individual judgments will minimize the social loss of lives. Ignoring these feedback from specific individuals will inevitably lead to greater loss of lives. The best state of social epidemic prevention is the balance of the game between the government and the people, rather than the government enforcing what it considers “correct”.
The official propaganda we have seen only talks about the “COVID-19”, not about other life losses, as if its entire task was to eliminate novel coronavirus. When they say “life is supreme”, it seems that this “life” has nothing to do with the above “Deaths of epidemic prevention in Shanghai”. It can be heard from the official tone, as if the voices of the people of Shanghai for help, their mourning for the death of their loved ones, and the petitions and suggestions of elites from all walks of life on epidemic prevention had never happened. This is not just a matter of arrogance, but also blocking the conditions for correct decision-making. This is to put the single goal of epidemic prevention in the “overriding” position, which destroys the normal social feedback mechanism. It does not regard these 180 non-Covid-19 dead as mistakes caused by this excessive epidemic prevention, so there is no need to correct or adjust existing policies and measures, but it goes to extremes retaliatorilly. For example, the official responsible person said that “four should and four done” and “there is no discount and no exception”, which is more stringent than before, and there are no “exceptions” for old age and serious illness. After April 18, due to these “policy changes”, the 94 year old who could still be isolated at home was suddenly doorbroken and tied away in the middle of the night (Shengdiya go, 2022), and a 73 year old hemiplegic died suddenly when he was forcibly transferred (Luhuo Media, 2022).
Officials are less concerned about how these non Covid-19 deaths. They are not normal deaths, but deaths in extreme pain, despair and anxiety. Due to the shutdown of oxygen plant in Shanghai, the supply of oxygen cylinders for 40000 users was cut off. In a nursing home, “three old people died slowly because they couldn’t keep up with the oxygen.” “Fingers and toes slowly blackened, breathing faster, and finally died.” (List of deaths of epidemic prevention in Shanghai, No. 151) Nurse Zhou Shengni and another old man died of asthma. Dyspnea before death should also bring great pain. Moreover, it is also a great deathbed pain for the elderly to isolate them from family due to nucleic acid positive and die without family around. Another thing we should pay attention to is the mental trauma. The daily harassment and pressing of excessive epidemic prevention bring spiritual torture to people; More “do not pass over overnight” and forcibly tie people away from their homes in the middle of the night; the “hard isolation” of buildings with iron nets, the prohibition of market supply, leading to hunger, are bringing a climate of terror, and so on. The suicide of nine people is the extreme result of this state. Therefore, we can’t simply look at the list of the deaths. It contains more pain before death.
It seems that the official is not unaware of the problem of excessive epidemic prevention, just doesn’t want to know. A video shows that a citizen shouted to the leader who came to inspect, reflecting the problem of material supply. As a result, he was arrested by the police. This is the most intuitive example of officials cutting off information communication between citizens and the government. Even in traditional China, this is the crime of “blocking the way of speech”. This directly shows that the official thought that by eliminating the voice of complaint and criticism, it eliminated its mistake The reason used to prove that the excessive epidemic prevention is “right”, is not whether it has fully absorbed information and opinions, but whether it comes from the mouth of leaders. I saw an article criticizing Zhang Wenhong in an arrogant tone, saying “a doctor shouldn’t think he is the Secretary of the municipal party committee”, as if the Secretary of the municipal Party committee was automatically superior to others. In fact, we cannot prove that officials are smarter than the people, and higher officials are smarter than lower officials. When we say “political leaders are more important”, we mean that they can make decisions with the help of mechanisms that fully collect and absorb all kinds of information in society, including the principle of “free expression”( Sheng Hong, 2017). The author’s logic is that what is endorsed by power is “correct”.
On the other hand, with its advantage in office, the official used the official propaganda machine to criticize the complaints of the people, politicized with the big hat of “class struggle” the criticism of excessive epidemic prevention, and raised the different models of epidemic prevention to the game of great powers. An article entitled “Shanghai wake up, this is a war” more clearly compares this “epidemic prevention” to war (Leng Ru, 2022). This obviously deconstructs the official declaration of “life first” epidemic prevention motivation. When the reason for “dynamic Covid zero” doesn’t make sense, it can also be said to be “a test of wartime system under the pretext of epidemic prevention”. This is even more absurd. First of all, there is no need to test the results of abandoning the market and replacing it with the administrative system. The experience and lessons of mankind for thousands of years have told us, and mature economics has proved it countless times. Do we have to prove it again with a lot of life, health and material losses? Moreover, if we do not hesitate to hurt a large number of people and cause hundreds of abnormal deaths for the sake of wartime system test, the war in preparation is not to defend life and rights, so it is not a just war. Nor should we prepare for such a war.
The article also pretended to be surprised to accuse Shanghai that “in more than two years of the epidemic, Shanghai unexpectedly has not yet had a mature wartime supply system” (Leng Ru, 2022). It seems that the author of this article doesn’t know the history of China’s planned economy. During more than 30 years of implementation, tens of millions of people were “unexpectedly” starved to death. Until the end of the Cultural Revolution, most people were still struggling for food and clothing. Once such a planned economy is implemented, it will inevitably be inefficient and full of flaws. If the administrative system wants to achieve one ten thousandth of the market, it even cannot maintain it. In the period of planned economy in mainland China, the State Planning Commission can only formulate plans for more than 400 products, which are often in shortage or surplus. Today, Jingdong alone has 40.2 million kinds of goods (2014). It’s not an order of magnitude at all. This is a philosophical impossibility. This is because the market is a mechanism for thousands of people to express their wishes dispersedly. Through competition or reference, the price gradually converges to an equilibrium price. This price system guides people’s behavior and allows them to make simple calculations. Therefore, the market is also a mechanism of free expression. The planned economy or “wartime system” is a mechanism to block free expression and replace people’s expression by people who call themselves “super genius”.
As for whether the epidemic prevention model is regarded as a competition related to system, civilization or “national foundation”, there is no positive conclusion. If there is no free expression, many personal information will not be known, so it cannot be combined and integrated into a good epidemic prevention policy, but it will be deceived by artificially manipulated false information and eventually fail. More generally, freedom of expression is one of the core principles of civilization, system and national foundation. At all times and in all countries there is no prosperous civilization which is without voice of people. On the contrary, freedom of expression is the fundamental principle of social prosperity and national strength. Due to the freedom of expression, the competition of different ideas will form an idea market, and innovative ideas will emerge one after another; The full expression of individual will provide public opinion and information basis for public choice; Only when the wishes of many individuals are absorbed into public decision-making can the government obtain the support of the people and form a sense of political identity and cohesion; Such a society will have the characteristics of innovation, justice and unity, and will be truly powerful. The suppression of freedom of expression will stifle innovation, blaspheme justice and distract the people. Who can win in the competition with the principle of freedom of expression by the rule of suppressing speech?
The “theory of national foundation” and the “theory of war” complement each other, suggesting that there must be a war in the “competition” of peace. Recently, the authorities compared epidemic prevention to war and used many war terms to describe epidemic prevention, such as “general attack”. Such words are exaggerated when used for viruses. Once exaggerated, it loses its seriousness. However, this is to attack people by attacking the virus. It seems that when it comes to war, “people” are gone, and their rights are gone. Only invisible viruses are left, and they can fight people. Kidnap the frail old people who are still isolated at home; the deaths caused by delay, insufficient equipment and insufficient hospital beds due to excessive epidemic prevention is also legalized. It turns out that the target of the “general attack” is people. According to the tone of the authorities, these people are only virus carriers, not people. Therefore, in order to eliminate the virus, their loss and pain is the “minimum cost”. The information sent by them can be deleted and ignored. The war nature of epidemic prevention is reflected in the cruelty to these people. Doesn’t the word “general attack” mean that it regards them as enemies? Why should the people support the “war” against themselves?
The “correctness” of “leadership” comes from unobstructed and sufficient information, from the ability to correct errors according to social feedback, not from the persistence of errors. I once said that people are inevitable to make mistakes, but it is an absolute mistake to persist mistakes and not correct them. If the facts have shown that a certain policy is wrong, insisting on mistakes can only make the mistakes bigger and more difficult to hide, and cannot prove the wisdom of “leadership”. Throughout ancient and modern times, it is not “always correct”, but “dare to admit mistakes” and “correct once you know your mistakes” are the most valuable qualities of leadership. “Zuo Zhuan” said, “King Yu and King Tang admitted their mistakes, and their prosperities were rising rapidly, while the King Jie and King Zhou blamed mistakes to others, their states were suddenly died.” A country will suddenly collapse if it whitewash its mistakes; only by taking responsibility bravely can civilization rise. If you have the spirit of “admitting mistakes of yourself”, you are not afraid of freedom of expression. I understand that officials hope to have a “epidemic prevention victory” worthy of boasting. But I said that only the victory under Article 35 of the Constitution is worth boasting. Because first, it is much more difficult for the epidemic prevention to follow the Article 35 of the Constitution than to ignore it; second, if we suppress freedom of expression and criticism, how can we know that other people’s praise is true?
Therefore, I suggest that the Shanghai authorities should learn to govern under Article 35 of the Constitution. Have the courage to face up to their mistakes, show the sincerity to the public, stop blocking the List of Deaths of Epidemic Prevention in Shanghai and relevant criticisms, frankly admit that they have their own responsibility for those deaths, sincerely apologize to the families of the dead and the Shanghai people, and choose an appropriate day to hold a public sacrifice ceremony for them. It may not be too late to do it now.
Leng Ru, “Shanghai, wake up, this is a war”, People’s Livelihood Culture, April 18, 2022.
Lu Huo Media, “73 year old hemiplegic died in transit: how many lives should be the ‘minimum cost’?” Tencent News, April 22, 2022.
Shengdiya go, “94 year old grandma, 93 year old professor couple, 92 year old paralyzed couple… Were all pulled to the shelter”, Wechat public account Shengdiya go, April 20, 2022.
Sheng Hong, “Can’t ‘prevent epidemics’ by deliberately killing people”, Professor Sheng Hong, March 31, 2022.
Sheng Hong, “Leadership is an institution”, which was launched simultaneously by FT Chinese website and Zhongping.com on September 26, 2017.
Spring comes again. The garden fully filled with spring has turned into desolation. Miss my beautiful yard destroyed illegally; miss the “Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall ” I once owned with my neighbors. (April 24, 2022)
My eyes are surprised by Spring's coming,
There is no perfume left when she goes;
The nest of Spring in my wish only,
Will attract Spring back years and years.
The Tao is very simple, and the fallacy is very “complex”
—– Why should we unequivocally condemn aggression?
A few days ago, I saw Chinese compatriots in Ukraine complained that some people in the domestic network made insulting jokes on Ukraine, saying that they wanted to “host” Ukrainian girls, which was quickly translated into Ukrainian, causing the indignation of Ukrainian people and transferring the anger towards Chinese overseas Chinese in Ukraine, which caused them to be cursed and their vehicles to be smashed. I think the trouble is caused by these scum without conscience, but the speech insulting Ukraine in China is mainly caused by the artificially controlled public opinion environment in China and the biased reports of the official media. In addition, the authorities refused to condemn the Russian aggression and publicly defended it, saying that the reasons for the Russian invasion of Ukraine were “very complex”; therefore, some people pry into “intention of the leader” and make extreme remarks. However, the authorities’ dilemma in diplomacy and inconsistencies in diplomatic statements are rooted in the lack of civilized value foundation in foreign policy and its guiding ideology.
When the United States and other western countries evacuated overseas citizens, the Chinese embassy did not call on the Chinese to evacuate. At the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Chinese Embassy suggested that the Chinese people stick the Chinese flag on their cars. This move is an extremely wrong signal, which is tantamount to saying: welcome Russian army! Can we understand like this? Certainly. Is the Chinese flag posted for Ukrainians to see? Chinese expatriates have lived there for many years, and most of them live in harmony with the local people. Did they start to hate the Chinese people as soon as Russia invaded? Obviously not. That’s for the Russian army. It means that I’m Chinese (I’m friendly), please don’t hit me. This is a hypothetical situation. The Russian army has invaded. Its meaning is to hope the Russian army come in and to believe that the Russian army can come in. “You can shoot Ukrainians, but you should see my flag clearly. I’m not Ukrainian.” This meaning will obviously annoy the people of the host country.
This is obviously not a technical error, but a problem of values. This is the attitude towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Is it just? Is it in conformity with international law? Does it conform to the rules of human civilization? Putin made a speech on the eve of the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, including the historical reasons for the Russian invasion; the problems of undemocratic and corruption in Ukraine itself; NATO’s eastward expansion poses a threat to Russia, Ukrainian politics is manipulated by western countries, and so on. Make the problem complicated. However, all the reasons he said were far-fetched and could not come to the conclusion that war should be used to solve the problems.
Lao Tzu said, “my words are easy to understand and easy to do. No one can understand and no one can do in the world.” Among them, “my words” is “Tao”. It means that the Tao is very simple, easy to understand and easy to implement; But people in the world seem not able to understand or implement it. Why? This is because people can’t see that the Tao will bring benefits to mankind as whole in the long run. For their immediate interests, they use seemingly “complex reason” to prove why they should deviate from the Tao; so “no one can understand, no one can do.” What is the Tao between countries? That is the basic rule of human civilization. This rule has two main points. First, as Kant said, it is a “universal law”. It means that a person is willing to follow the law, which he or she is willing to be regarded as the law of all people, which means that this law is the same to and beneficial to all people. Second, the principle of nonviolence. That is, disputes and conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means rather than war.
For the first point, the test is, when a rule is declared, do you want it to apply to you? For example, President Putin said in his prewar speech that Ukraine was wrongly established as a state due to Lenin’s mistake, so it should be corrected by war. In human history, the dividing and merging of countries and the borders between countries are often determined by violent means such as war. There are many injustices in history. As Hannah Arendt said, “no matter what kind of political organizations human beings can form, they all originate from crime.” (2011, page 9) today’s independent countries and borders are determined by international agreements after World War II and the cold war. If we want to solve historical problems with war today, there will be no peace for mankind. Moreover, historically, Russia owes far more blood debt to other countries than other countries owe it. Russia is a military empire. Most of its territory today is seized by its using force, including the territory seized from China. Can China launch a war against Russia to restore China’s former territory in the same way as Putin said? Obviously, Putin’s logic cannot pass this test.
On the second point, the principle of nonviolence is a denial of Putin’s logic. Ukraine’s problems should be solved by the Ukrainian people themselves. Moreover, Russia has more problems in “undemocratic” and “corruption” than Ukraine. Putin should first solve his own problems, let alone launch a war. The principle of nonviolence is the most basic principle. No matter how many conflicts there are between mankind, force should not be used. It can only be used in very few cases. First, resist aggression; the second is to resist slavery. In fact, the premise of these two points is that the other party used force first. Claiming to launch a war for a noble or necessary purpose cannot achieve a good purpose, because “war creates more bad people than it kills”. Mr. Jiang Qing said, “Good purpose can only be achieved by good means.” When it is claimed that evil means can be used for good purpose, the purpose has changed. Moreover, what Putin pursues is not a good purpose, so all the reasons for invading Ukraine listed in Putin’s speech cannot pass the test of this principle.
The two main points of the above civilized rules can be used not only to test the norms of international relations, but also to test the nature of a country’s internal political structure. It can connect countries and individuals. Generally speaking, the international civilized rules are expressed as the principle of constitutional rule at home. Roughly speaking, it includes the principles of market economy, rule of law and freedom of expression. They are all nonviolent or under “controllable violence”. The so-called “controllable violence” refers to the government’s use of power and its violent resources under the constraints of democracy and the rule of law to combat illegal violence and criminal acts, not for the purpose of deviating from the Constitution and law. The market is a collection of voluntary transactions between equal people. The rule of law is a fair judicial rule under the restricted power, and free expression means not to abuse public violence to interfere with citizens’ expression. Similarly, if the “universal law” is realized at home, it is necessary to eliminate the oppression, deprivation and restriction of others by some people of the country, which requires equal protection of everyone’s rights—economic freedom, freedom of expression and fair justice. Countries that deviate from the above constitutional principles are actually in a state of hostility with their people. As long as the countries are extended outward, it is violence against other countries, is a war of aggression.
From a longer history, Czarist Russia and its successor Soviet Union are a country that oppresses, enslaves and deprives the people at home. It implements rules that violate the basic rules of civilization. The people do not have full economic freedom, their speech is monitored and controlled, and there is no fair judicial system. Therefore, it has always been a country against the people. Expending this anti civilization rule outward, tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union are an empire specialized in military. It conquered and invaded neighboring countries with violence, formed its territory and formed some of its advantages. The international community does not discriminate against Russia itself, but condemns its violation of the rules of civilization; At the same time, in view of its long-term implementation of such acts of internal oppression and external aggression, it has also formed a certain habitual view of Russia, that is, it is an aggressive Empire and remains vigilant and even hostile to it. One of the reasons for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is to reintegrate Ukraine into the territory of Czarist Russia and become a part of his direct rule. This nostalgia for Czarist Russia is a nostalgia for the anti-civilization rules of oppression and aggression pursued by Czarist Russia; his rule is a violent rule without control; this is the anti-civilization rule that runs through the inside and outside, and it cannot be accepted by the world.
The Ukrainian people’s centrifugation of and fear of Russia have been formed in the Soviet era. During the Soviet period, Ukraine was an administrative region under the governance of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s treatment of Ukraine did not bring benefits to it, but caused several major disasters. For example, the Soviet Union imposed collectivization and severely suppressed the resistance of Ukrainian farmers. In January 1930 alone, 1700 riots and protests were suppressed; in 1930, 75000 people were expelled to remote areas such as Siberia. Due to agricultural collectivization and excessive grain collection, there have been many famines, including the great famine from 1932 to 34, which killed about 4 million people, about 1 / 8 of the population of Ukraine; in 2006, the Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution that it was a Soviet conspiracy to genocide in Ukraine (plokhy, 2019, pp. 435-436). The second disaster is that during the “great cleansing” period, 270000 people in Ukraine were arrested and about 130000 people were executed; these include many party and government leaders in Ukraine (Ploki, 2019, P. 438). The third disaster is the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident, which killed more than 90000 people and caused 270000 cancers (Baidu Encyclopedia). Behind these disasters, there is discrimination and malice from the Soviet Union against Ukraine, which is similar to the oppression of the Empire on the colonies, and naturally makes most Ukrainians hate the Soviet Union. This emotion will also continue to Russia, the successor of the Soviet Union.
Some people may disagree with the statement that “the Soviet Union has malice towards Ukraine”. It doesn’t matter. Even goodwill will cause harm to Ukraine and all the people of the Soviet Union. Because planned economy and public ownership are systems that will harm everyone, although the founders of this economic system might have a little goodwill in the beginning. Most importantly, this economic system violates the above-mentioned rules of nonviolence. The planned economy means that the planning authority formulates the production and consumption plan, because this plan is bound to be different from the market economy in which people trade voluntarily, so it must be enforced. If people deviate from the planned track according to their own wishes, the planned economy will collapse, so violence must be used to maintain the plan. If people have economic freedom, they will spontaneously carry out production and investment, which is contrary to public ownership. Therefore, to maintain public ownership, private property rights must be eliminated. This is manifested in cracking down on people’s voluntary transactions (it is called “speculation”) and any attempt of private production and operation; these attacks have taken advantage of state violence.
As mentioned above, if the government deviates from the constraints of the rule of law, it will improperly use violence and put itself in a state of war against the people. This was the case in the Soviet period, especially the terrorist rule established by Stalin, which was based on the abuse of state violence to suppress the people and suppress different opinions. Ukraine, like other Soviet republics and their people, has suffered. Today, Russia is not a country whose violence is effectively controlled. Its political opposition leaders were assassinated, poisoned or imprisoned from time to time. Although Putin claimed that he did not know it, under his rule, the insecurity of the political opposition still made it difficult to truly implement democracy; Putin suppressed non-governmental organizations. In 2009, he closed more than 9000 non-governmental organizations; He restricted free media, controlled all national television networks, and canceled satire and discussion programs (Li Ying, 2010). Behind all this is state violence.
Due to the exploitation and injustice of the Soviet Union to the participating republics and its deprivation of the rights of the general public, it cannot be defended by the centripetal defense of the republics, but also alienated by the people. Once there is a historical opportunity, the disintegration of the Soviet Union is very natural. This is not caused by the conspiracy of the United States and Western countries. It is completely defeated by its own anti civilization nature. Almost at the same time as the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Treaty Organization, a military organization controlled by the Soviet Union in Eastern European countries, also announced its dissolution. Eastern European countries have been incorporated into the economic and political system of the Soviet Union for a long time. Economically, they are repressed by the planned economic system of the Soviet Union, politically manipulated by the Soviet Union, and their sovereignty is likely to be violated by the Soviet Union at any time. Soviet tanks have driven into Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There is neither economic benefit nor security for these countries. Once there is an opportunity, they would escape from the Warsaw Pact. Therefore, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact was also caused by the anti-civilization rules of the Soviet Union, and it was not for how clever the strategy of the United States and Western countries was.
Of course, in the competition between the two superpowers, the pressure of the United States works. Due to the principle of constitutional rule—market economy, rule of law and freedom of expression— not only a “universal law” that is fair to every citizen, but also the improvement of efficiency, economic development and innovation due to the protection of people’s freedom and rights. On the contrary, planned economy, judicial injustice and repressing speech would only reduce efficiency, suppress growth and curb innovation. Therefore, in terms of economic strength, the Soviet Union is far behind the United States and Western countries, which is the basis of a country’s military strength. On the other hand, due to the suppression of freedom of expression and the obstruction of academic discussion, there was a lack of mechanism and source of theoretical innovation and technological innovation in the Soviet Union, and military technology depended on these innovations to a great extent. The Soviet Union can only obtain resources for scientific and technological innovation through exchanges with the western scientific communities or espionage, but this method of obtaining technology will make the Soviet Union lag behind at least one beat, so that the Soviet Union will also fall behind in the competition of military technology. Russia, which inherited the Soviet Union, still inherited some characteristics of the Soviet Union, such as the suppression of freedom of expression. At the same time, its expansion strengthen the vigilance of the West, which watch out for Russia to use its own technology, and block it. Therefore, Russia is still a second rate country in military technology.
As for the eastward expansion of NATO accused by Putin, from a large strategic point of view, was caused by Russia itself. On the one hand, its domestic anti civilization rules can be considered to extend outward, and all countries under its control or influence will be hurt. Just look at the dictatorships in Belarus and Kazakhstan supported by Putin. Moreover, the painful memory of the Soviet Union makes these Eastern European countries or former Soviet countries unwilling to return to Russia’s sphere of influence. They fear the threat of Russia as a military empire. Moving closer to the west is a wise choice to ensure their own security. On the one hand, it will not hurt their sovereignty by joining NATO. On the other hand, they believe that NATO has the ability to confront Russia. The key is that these countries voluntarily apply to join NATO, not because of the coercion and inducement of western countries. Why didn’t they take the initiative to move closer to Russia? This is Russia’s own failure. Instead of reviewing its own problems, it says that this is a conspiracy of the United States and Western countries, and even at the cost of killing the Ukrainian people to stop NATO’s eastward expansion. Isn’t it the opposite of the resolution of the problem? This will make neighboring countries feel threatened and strengthen their willingness to join NATO.
Of course, the constitutional system of the United States and other countries cannot guarantee that they will not make mistakes in the world, otherwise there will be hope for permanent world peace. President Putin accused the United States and NATO of invading Iraq and bombing Serbia, which is reasonable in itself, but it cannot defend his invasion of Ukraine. If he thinks these invasions are wrong, his invasion of Ukraine is also wrong; if he thinks he is right to invade Ukraine, he has to admit that the United States and NATO are right. But you can’t prove yourself right with the mistakes of others. And there is another difference, which makes Putin’s aggression different from the aggression of the United States and NATO. As mentioned earlier, Putin’s aggression against Ukraine is an extension abroad of political principles and of the use of violence at home; the international aggression or bombing of the United States and NATO violates their constitutional principles at home. The background of their international mistakes is different, but the reason is the same. They both violate the principle of nonviolence. The core principle of democratic principle is that a public decision-making needs the consent of stakeholders. I once suggested that if the United States wants to send troops to Iraq to overthrow dictator Saddam Hussein, if the Iraqi people cannot vote, they can ask Iraqis abroad to vote. The war cost the Iraqi people 600000 lives.
Historically, the constitutional system within a country is an institutional structure discovered by human beings after long-term exploration and paying a lot of blood. The most prominent manifestation of the process of human civilization is the reduction of human violent mortality from 15% to less than 4% (Morris, 2015, P. 481); the constitutional system has further solved the problem of resolving human conflicts in a peaceful way. If the rules contained in this constitutional system are introduced to the world, the problem of permanent world peace can be solved. However, this is a big problem because countries are not similar in terms of scale and strength. They cannot be as in a society— it is impossible to win or lose in the conflict between people, and can only form a balance in the long-term running in and finally form a rights system. Moreover, in military technology, technological breakthroughs often break the existing equilibrium. Therefore, it is difficult to form a world constitutional system. Even those constitutional countries will violate the rules of international civilization without an effective world government and a mature international constitutional mechanism. As a result, the above-mentioned US or NATO aggression occurred.
However, although the United States and other constitutional countries are not bound internationally and often do things that violate the rules of international civilization with their military advantages, they are still bound because they abide by the rules of civilization, the rule of law and freedom of expression at home. Free media often stand on the opposite side of the national perspective and expose the ugliness and losses of foreign wars. For example, the New York Times disclosed the secret report of the US Department of defense on the Vietnam War, and CBS exposed the prisoner-abuse scandal of the US military in Iraq; This will lead to the antiwar wave of domestic public opinion, and will also make the people’s antiwar will affect the parliament’s attitude towards the war. It allows a small number of opposition voices, such as Illinois Senator Barack Obama presented antiwar speech in 2002, which was only one at that time. A few years later, he was elected the President of the United States. Therefore, although the United States and other countries would make some mistakes in foreign war, they can finally be corrected. Countries without constitutional rules may lack this check and balance mechanism, which would make the war crueler, more unable to be stopped and corrected, until bring huge casualties and until the aggressor countries be completely defeated, such as Japan and Germany in World War II. Therefore, when we condemn the aggressive acts of Russia, the United States or NATO from a neutral position, we should also see that Russia’s aggressive acts are even more intolerable.
Russia’s war behavior proves that the concerns of neighboring countries such as Ukraine are justified. Russia’s threat has become the reality of invasion. Ukraine’s application to join NATO is not a conspiracy of NATO’s eastward expansion, but a rational move to face Russia’s threat and enhance its own security. Putin’s “NATO threat” seems to be an excuse to eliminate it by the “realized threat” on Ukrainian land. Countries are bordering on each other. If neighboring countries deploy defense forces at home, it is said to be a “threat”, which is obviously too overbearing. In this way, if Russia uses this excuse on China, will it be ok? Behind Putin’s excuse is the new hegemony plan – New Eurasiaism, an ambition similar to the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Circle” and a delusion of hegemony across Eurasia, which reminds people of the bloody expansion of Czar Russia and the wild massacre of the Chinese by the Japanese army. He wants to extend the anti-civilization rules to the world. “Eexpanding territory” is not only the customary trick of ancient kings to improve their reputation and consolidate their power, but also Putin’s militaristic means to consolidate and extend his power.
However, anti-civilization rules are not only barbaric, but also inefficient. As long as Putin sticks to this anti civilization rule, he will fundamentally fail – starting from his values. Anti-civilization rules, enslaving and invading others with violence, whether at home or abroad, will cause widespread hostility, which has neither moral appeal nor political cohesion. Therefore, it is not surprising that his war of aggression was generally opposed by the Russian people at home – Anti War demonstrations broke out in 147 cities (National Public Radio, 2022), He was condemned by the vast majority of countries – 141 countries at the UN General Assembly. He is isolated in politics, his strength is greatly weakened. At the same time, due to his suppression of freedom of expression, Russia lacks innovative mechanisms and is far inferior to the United States and other western countries in military technology. His military weapons are more than a generation behind. When the United States and other countries support Ukraine’s advanced weapons, Putin cannot win on the battlefield. Although Putin himself is intelligent and can win by surprise in tactics, he cannot make up for the major defects in strategy. He is doomed to failure. A wise man will not stand with him.
The above civilized rules do not refer to the unique rules of the western world. From the perspective that the western world has not solved the problem of permanent world peace, they are civilized rules that go beyond the existing western rules and are universal. Therefore, it is also the rule followed by Chinese civilization. Especially since modern times, China has suffered from foreign aggression and tasted the pain of being bullied in the jungle of social Darwinism. Russia, as a specific country, was the worst one to bully and invade China in modern times. When we see people cheering for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, just as we see people cheering for Japan’s invasion of China, we are deeply hurt; if such a person is a Chinese, it makes people feel that he is “regarding enemy as his father”. Applying the rules of civilization, “Do not do to others what you do not want others to do it to you”, China, which is unwilling to be invaded, should obviously condemn all aggression. No matter who the aggressor is, aggression is the same. As a historical Chinese, we should condemn all wars of aggression. However, the diplomatic attitude is ambiguous, which is not in line with the hatred and disgust of the war of aggression determined by Chinese history.
Moreover, Chinese civilization is a civilization with a long tradition of cosmopolitanism. In the Book of Changes, there is the theory of “World civilization”. “World” and “civilization” are inseparable. That is, the world is not only a physical world, but also a world with civilized rules. Only when the cultural value of benevolence, righteousness and morality appeared, the world began to become “the world”. As Gu Yanwu’s famous sentence shows, we should distinguish between “perishing of a country” and “perishing of the world”. The perishing of a country is just “changing the surname of the ruler”; “perishing the world” is “loss of benevolence and righteousness, and the beasts’ eating people, people’s eating with each other”. If there are no civilized rules, the world is just a wilderness, not a human society. In the existing constitutional texts of mainland China, the principles of “market economy”, “independent trial by the court” and “freedom of expression” are also written. Although they are far from being realized, they are at least consistent with the rules of civilization in the text. The Constitution and cultural tradition together constitute civilized rules that run through domestic and foreign countries. Therefore, starting from the constitutional text and the value of cosmopolitanism, as a Chinese in culture and constitutional text, we should also take a clear stand against Putin’s war of aggression.
National Public Radio, “Russia arrests nearly 5,000 anti-war protesters this weekend”, March 7, 2022
“Baidu Encyclopedia” and “Chernobyl accident” are reviewed by the entry compilation and application project of “popular science China” Science Encyclopedia.
Hannah Arendt, On Rrevolution, Yilin publishing house, 2011.
Li Ying, “An analysis of the relationship between the ’empire’ under Putin and the media”, master’s thesis, 2010.
Morris, Ian, War, CITIC press, 2015.
Plokhy, Serhii, The Gate of Europe: the 2000 History of Ukraine, CITIC publishing group, 2019.