李云龙:新冠肺炎疫情防控过程体现出的生命价值观差异 - 第一单元:人权价值观与抗击新冠疫情 - 中国人权网

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李云龙:新冠肺炎疫情防控过程体现出的生命价值观差异

2020-06-01 15:09:42来源:中国人权网

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中央党校(国家行政学院)国际战略研究院教授李云龙(网络会议视频截图)

  2020年5月30日下午,由中国人权研究会指导、华中科技大学人权法律研究院主办的“疫情防控中的中西方人权观比较”国际视频研讨会召开。会议采取现场和网络相结合的形式,来自联合国人权高专办、联合国人权高专办驻几内亚办事处、奥地利、荷兰、英国、巴基斯坦、尼泊尔和中国等国家和地区的40余名人权专家、官员参加了线上研讨。中央党校(国家行政学院)国际战略研究院教授李云龙在”第一单元:人权价值观与抗击新冠疫情“上作题为《新冠肺炎疫情防控过程体现出的生命价值观差异》的发言。

新冠肺炎疫情防控过程体现出的生命价值观差异

李云龙,中共中央党校(国家行政学院)教授

  生命是人类社会的基础和文明的载体。自古以来,人类都高度重视自身的再生产和生命的维护。珍视生命、守护健康是全人类的共同价值。中国古代素有“重生”、“贵生”传统,认为天地之间“人命最重”、“寿为最善”。孟子认为,爱护生命是人天生的本性。如果有人忽然看见一个小孩要掉进井里面去了,必然会产生恻隐之心,把他拉住。欧洲文艺复兴时期的人文主义者称扬人的价值,认为人是一切存在的中心,是一切价值的终极来源。布鲁纳多.拉蒂尼说:“上天下地万事万物都是为人造的,而人是为人本身造的。”人使一切存在具有了意义,规定了其他存在物的价值。作为一个种类,人高居于一切生物之上,具有任何生物都不具备的尊严和价值。后世的欧洲启蒙思想家更进一步认为,人是最高目的,不能仅仅被当作手段看待。每一个人都有维护生命的权利,生命权是第一位的人权。美国《独立宣言》认为生命权是造物主赋予的不可转让的权利。第二次世界大战后,这些重视生命的价值观念得到国际社会的普遍承认,生命权成为基本人权。《世界人权宣言》第三条规定,“人人有权享有生命、自由和人身安全。”《公民权利和政治权利国际公约》第六条规定,“人人有固有的生命权。这个权利应受法律保护。不得任意剥夺任何人的生命。”《经济、社会及文化权利国际公约》第十二条规定,“人人有权享有能达到的最高的体质和心理健康的标准。”这是对生命权的更积极规定。毫无疑问,在21世纪的今天,重视生命、保护生命和维护健康是所有国家和人民共同持有的信念。

  但是,面临新冠肺炎这样严重的疫情,在如何维护生命权和健康权的问题上,世界各国仍然表现出显著的生命价值观差异。有的国家坚持生命绝对优先,不计代价地保护和救治每个生命。有的国家重视群体,以牺牲部分生命为代价保护大多数人的生命。有的国家更关注救治生命的成本,强调要在生命救治与经济代价之间保持平衡。这些生命价值观差异充分表现体现在各国的疫情应对策略中。

  第一种生命价值观的特点是坚持生命至上,努力拯救每一条生命。这种生命价值观表现在抗疫措施中,就是采取全面隔离+全力救治的策略。传染病的危险在于传染。在无法消灭病源的情况下,根本的应对之策就是实行隔离,阻止病毒传染。这是传染病防治的常识。理论上说,只要所有人都停止跟其他人的来往,疫情就会结束。但是,这在现实中很难做到,因为一味完全隔离意味着社会经济活动的彻底停顿,要付出高昂的代价,也可能因饥饿、营养不良以及缺医少药造成更多的死亡。因此,实行最大限度的隔离并增强救治力度,就成为最现实的政策选择。这是许多国家,尤其是东亚国家的做法,中国是其中的典型代表。疫情发生以后,中国政府把控制传染源、切断传播途径作为关键着力点,做出武汉封城的重大决策,并全面严格管控湖北省人员外流。多省市启动重大突发公共卫生事件I级响应机制,许多地区暂停运输服务,控制人员流动,推迟节后复工复产时间。各地广泛的封路、封村、封社区措施造成全国范围的“停摆”,长期高速运转的中国社会突然按下了暂停键。为了拯救生命,中国付出了巨大的代价。一季度,中国国内生产总值增长-6.8%,是改革开放首次出现的负增长。

  第二种生命价值观的特点是聚焦整体,牺牲一部分人的生命,换取绝大多数人的生命安全。这在新冠肺炎疫情应对中就表现为群体免疫策略。群体免疫(herd immunity,community immunity)是指一个社会中相当大比例的获得免疫力,就可以使其他没有免疫力的人因此受到保护而不被传染。拥有抵抗力的人的比例越高,易感个体与受感染个体间接触的可能性便越小。英国首席科学顾问帕特里克·瓦朗斯表示,约60%的英国人感染新冠病毒,就可以使英国形成“群体免疫”。在形成群体免疫过程中,会导致大量感染和相当多的死亡。通过有效的医疗救治,可以将病亡率控制在可接受范围内。这种疫情应对策略的典型代表是瑞典。疫情发生以来,瑞典采取不封城、不强制社交隔离措施和不进行大规模检测的抗疫政策,基本维持了国内社会经济活动。政府要求易感人群,如老年人和有基础疾病的人,自愿居家隔离。轻症患者在家休息,自动康复。重症患者送医院治疗,全力救治。随着疫情发展,瑞典政府发布了社交距离指南,不鼓励不必要的旅行,建议70岁以上的人待在家里,并且禁止50人以上的集会,禁止探访养老院,但学校、餐馆和购物中心依然开放。瑞典的群体免疫策略的主要代价是死亡病例较多。

  第三种生命价值观的特点是重视保护生命的经济成本,力求在拯救生命与维持经济正常运行之间取得某种平衡。这种观点认为,保护生命是有代价的;通过减少经济活动来遏制病毒的政策,可以减缓病毒发展并降低死亡率,但也带来更大的经济代价;如果实行严格隔离政策,中断经济活动,尽管可能减少感染带来的死亡,但可能增加饥饿和贫困造成的死亡。因此,应对新冠疫情也不能不计成本,不能不惜一切代价,不能造成社会经济活动全面停顿,而要采取适度的措施,把经济成本控制在合理水平。这种疫情应对方法的典型代表是美国。在疫情出现早期,由于担心对经济和股市的负面影响,美国一直不愿意采取严厉的隔离和封锁措施,导致疫情迅速扩散。当疫情暴发、不得不进行一段时间的隔离后,在每天新增确诊病例超过2万的情况下,美国政府仍然坚持推动复工复产。早在3月下旬,特朗普就反复要求复工。他说:“我们的人民希望重返工作岗位,”“防控措施不应该比问题本身更糟(糟很多)!”目前,美国疫情仍然持续在高位运行,但多数州已经解除封锁,前景并不乐观。尽管如此,特朗普重启经济的决心依然坚定。他说,即使第二波疫情到来,他也不会重新进行封锁。

  三种生命价值观指导下的三种疫情应对方式,产生了三种明显不同的结果。以生命优先、生命至上为指导原则的中国抗疫行动,已经全面胜利,基本控制住疫情。4月7日武汉解封,标志着中国抗疫取得重大阶段性成果。到5月21日,中国累计报告确诊病例82971例,累计死亡病例4634例。无论从感染人数还是从死亡人数说,中国应对效果都是比较好的。如果考虑到中国是在对新冠病毒一无所知的情况下开始应对的,那么,中国的应对效果应该得到更高的评价。实行群体免疫的瑞典,尽管基本保持了经济社会的正常运行,但在牺牲很多生命的情况下,至今没有形成群体免疫,且感染和死亡病例仍在持续增加。截至5月22日,瑞典新冠肺炎死亡3871例,每百万人死亡387人,比采取严格封锁措施的北欧邻国高十几倍,百万人口死亡率甚至高过目前疫情最严重的美国。高度关注救治生命成本的美国,对疫情持机会主义态度,时刻考虑抗疫措施的成本,游移于封锁与不封锁之间,结果既造成严重的经济社会停摆,又付出重大生命代价。新冠肺炎暴发以来,美国累计有近4000万人失业,失业率升至 17.2﹪。截至5月22日,美国新冠肺炎累计死亡94566例,每百万人口死亡300多人。美国应对效果最差。

Differences in Life Values in COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control

Li Yunlong, Professor of the Party School of

the Central Committee of CPC (National Academy of Governance)

Life is the foundation of human society and the carrier of civilization. Since time immemorial, humankind attached great importance to reproduction and protection of life. Cherishing life and safeguarding health are the shared values of all humankind. Ancient China had the tradition to “respect life” and “dignify life”, considering “life the most precious” and “longevity the best” in the universe. Mencius believed that it was human nature to protect life. Once a man saw a child was going to fall into the well, he must feel pity for him and pull him back immediately. During the Renaissance in Europe, humanists extolled human values and believed humankind was the center of everything, as well as the ultimate source of all values. Brunetto Latini once said, “The universe is created for humankind, and humans are created for themselves.” Everything takes on significance because of humans and humankind define the values of other beings. As the supreme species, man overrides any other creatures in dignity and values. Later, European enlightenment thinkers went a step further, believing that human is the supreme end and cannot just be treated as means. Everyone has the right to protect life, and the right to life is the primary human right. The Declaration of Independence regarded the right to life as a nontransferable right endowed by God. Values that cherished life were widely recognized by the international community after World War II and the right to life became the basic human right. Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights prescribes, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prescribes, “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” Article 12 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights prescribes, “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” These are more positive stipulations about the right to life. Nowadays, in the 21st century, it is undoubtedly the common value of all nations and peoples to value and protect life and safeguard health.

However, when we confront the catastrophic COVID-19 epidemic, there is still a big difference in the life values of nations on how to protect the right to life and the right to health. Some countries insist that life comes first and save every life at any cost. Some countries attach great importance to the mass and sacrifice some lives for most people. And some other countries pay more attention to the cost to save lives and emphasize keeping the balance between life-saving and economic cost. The differences in these values are fully reflected in the coping strategies of all nations.

The characteristics of the first value are to insist that life comes first and save every life with all efforts. Such a life value is reflected in the countermeasures of quarantine and life-saving with all efforts. The danger of an epidemic is its infectious nature. It is the common sense of epidemic prevention that quarantine is the way to stop virus transmission when the pathogen cannot be eliminated. Theoretically, as long as everyone keeps away from others, the epidemic will be over. However, it’s hard to realize in reality since complete quarantine means the standstill of social and economic activities, a high cost and probably more deaths due to hunger, malnutrition and lack of medical care and medicines. Therefore, it’s the most practical policy to quarantine and save lives with the most significant endeavor. This is the way to fight against the epidemic in many countries, especially East Asian countries. China is the typical representative of them. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Chinese government made a significant decision of Wuhan lockdown and strict outbound travel restriction on Hubei Province with a focus on controlling the source of infection and cutting off the transmission route. Many provinces and cities initiated Class I Public Health Emergency Response Mechanism to stop transportation in lots of regions, control movement of persons, and postpone work resumption after the Spring Festival. The block-down on roads and lockdown of villages and communities led to a “halt” nationwide and it seemed that Chinese society in high-speed running was suddenly paused by pressing a stop button. China paid a heavy price to save lives. China's GDP increased by -6.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the first negative growth since the reform and opening up.

The second life value focuses on the mass and sacrifices the lives of some people to safeguard the majority of them. This is reflected in the herd immunity strategy in fighting against the COVID-19 epidemic. Herd immunity means that a large part of the population is immune to protect those not immune from infection. The more significant the number of resistant people, the less possibility of contact between individuals vulnerable to infections and infected people. British Chief Scientific Advisor Patrick Vallance said “herd immunity” can be built up as long as about 60% British people caught the disease. In building up the herd immunity, a lot of people will be infected and dead. Through effective medical treatment and care, the mortality rate can be controlled within an acceptable range. The typical country adopting this countermeasure is Sweden. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Sweden took the policy of no lockdown, no mandatory quarantine and no mass testing to fight the virus and basically maintained domestic social and economic activities. The government required people vulnerable to infections such as elders and persons with underlying diseases to conduct voluntary home quarantine and asked patients with mild symptoms to stay at home for recovery. Patients with severe symptoms were sent to hospitals for medical care and treatment with all efforts. With the spreading of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Swedish government published a guide of social distance, discouraged unnecessary travels, advised people over 70 years old to stay at home, prohibited gatherings of over 50 people and visits to the nursing home. However, schools, restaurants and shopping malls are still open. The price for herd immunity policy in Sweden is lots of deaths.

The third life value feature is paying attention to the economic cost of life protection and pursuing the balance between saving lives and maintaining normal commercial activities. Such a view believes that there is a cost for life protection. Although the policy of less economic activities to inhibit the virus may slow it down in spreading and reduce the mortality rate, it also costs heavily in the economy. While strict quarantine policy and pause of economic activities may reduce deaths caused by infections, they may also increase deaths caused by hunger and poverty. Therefore, it’s impossible to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic at any cost, price, or standstill of social and economic activities. Instead, the government should adopt proper countermeasures to control the financial loss at a reasonable level. The United States is the typical representative with such an approach. In the early period of the epidemic, due to worries about the negative impact on the economy and the stock market, the American government was reluctant to adopt strict quarantine and lockdown, which led to the quick spreading of the epidemic. When the quarantine had to be carried out in the outbreak and there were over 20,000 new confirmed cases every day, the American government insisted on promoting work resumption. As early as late March, Trump asked people back to work repeatedly. He twittered, “Our people want to return to work.” “THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM!” Now, even the COVID-19 epidemic keeps spreading quickly but most states have lifted the restrictions and the outlook is not promising. However, Trump is determined to open up. He said there would be no lockdown any more even the epidemic came back in the second wave.

Countermeasures, under the guidance of three life values, yielded three distinct results. Fight against the COVID-19 epidemic in China with the guideline that life comes first is entirely successful and the outbreak is generally under control. Lift of restrictions on Wuhan on April 7 marked an interim achievement of China’s fight against the disease. Up to May 21, China reported 82,971 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths. In the light of infection or death numbers, China’s countermeasures are effective. These countermeasures are even better considering China started the fight knowing nothing at all. Though Sweden basically maintains the normal functioning of its society and economy with herd immunity policy, it fails to build up herd immunity even with many lives sacrificed and infections and deaths keep on increasing. By May 22, the total number of deaths in Sweden is 3,871, and 387 deaths per million people are over ten times higher than the neighboring Nordic countries with strict quarantine, and its mortality rate per million people is even higher than the United States, the most affected nation. The United States holds an opportunistic attitude towards the epidemic, pays much more attention to life-saving costs while calculating the cost of countermeasures, and wavers between lockdown and no restriction, resulting in the severe standstill of economy and society at a heavy price of many lives. Since the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, the unemployment rate in the US increased to 17.2%, with nearly 40 million jobless persons. By May 22, the total number of deaths due to Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia in the US is 94,566, and there are over 300 deaths per million people. The countermeasures of the US are the worst.


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