Experts from China speak to COVID-19 approach in webinar series

Featured illustration of the novel coronavirus
An illustration showing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, upending millions of lives and taxing public-health and social systems worldwide. Effectively fighting an unprecedented pandemic requires global cooperation. While adopting a whole-of-society approach to fight COVID-19, China has also reached out to the world to share precious knowledge and resources with the global community.

Claudia Chaufan
Claudia Chaufan

In a lecture series titled “Whole Society Approach to COVID-19: Dispatches from China” out of York University’s Faculty of Health, attendees will learn from China’s experience with COVID-19. The series features faculty members from universities in China, with research and lived experience from the world centre of the outbreak. Professor Claudia Chaufan, director of the Graduate Program in Health at York, will introduce the speakers and K.J. Noh, independent scholar and expert in the geopolitics of Asia, will facilitate the Q-and-A after the lectures.

Graduate students from Chinese universities will be present to address questions from the audience. MobilizeU, Knowledge Mobilization Unit at York University, are sponsors of the series.

While Toronto public spaces, restaurants and so on go back to varying degrees of lockdown, China, including Wuhan, have all but recovered, with people enjoying open schools, restaurants, entertainment centres and much more, even as vaccines are still not available.

The strong anti-China sentiment, coming from powerful social institutions, and a campaign of disinformation and name calling (e.g. “China virus”) has prevented the Western public to access scientific knowledge on sound prevention policy, including that developed by China, says Chaufan. This series offers the rare opportunity to Western audiences to hear directly from individuals who experienced the onslaught of COVID-19 when the Western world was being led to believe that “it could never happen to us”.

“The best way to combat the disinformation about sound COVID-19 prevention policy is to listen to all key players involved. It has been extremely hard for Western audiences to hear and learn from China’s experience, given the strength of the anti-China sentiment in major Western social institutions,” said Chaufan.

The series ran two events in 2020 and continues in 2021 with:

Webinar 3: Jan. 28, 7 to 8 p.m. – How to achieve a world free from Covid-19; what Covid-19 can teach about global health governance with speaker Professor Jiayan Huang, Fudan University.

Webinar 4: Feb. 26, 7 to 8 p.m. – Dealing with the double burden of COVID-19 and the dominant Western narrative on China (discussion includes the geopolitical dimensions of COVID-19 in the context of the new, Western-led Cold War); lessons learned towards greater global health equity with speaker Professor Xiaotong Zhang, Wuhan University.

Each webinar will last one hour, with 30-minute for presentations followed by a 30-minute Q-and-A organized around questions from attendees.

To learn more, or to register, visit bit.ly/COVID19KMbWebinars.