After Mr. Qu was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Shiyan city, central China's Hubei Province, in February when the epidemic was raging, he was sent to a local hospital where he was attentively taken care of by a team of medical workers, including a psychological therapist, and was rescued multiple times from the jaws of death.
Following 47 days on a hospital bed, the 87-year-old Chinese man, whose full name was not revealed for privacy concerns, finally went back home, recovered from a disease that is believed much deadlier for seniors than for others.
Qu was only one of the tens of thousands infected Chinese saved during the epidemic. His story is testimony to an overarching principle China has diligently upheld in the arduous fight to contain the contagion since the outbreak, as well as in its cause to promote human rights over the decades: the right to life is the most fundamental part of human rights, and should be a priority at all times.
That is why Beijing has been more than willing to save lives at all costs, whether that meant locking down the hardest-hit city of Wuhan with a population of over 10 million, or to put its economy largely on hold.
Rigorous measures have indeed paid off. China's swift and rigorous measures activated in the first 50 days may have prevented more than 700,000 new cases, a research paper published in the journal Science said in April.
China's readiness to safeguard people's lives also has a global dimension. It has shared its anti-virus experiences with the rest of the world, and sent medical teams to struggling countries, which was described as timely help by many foreign leaders and medical workers.
Beijing's emphasis on the right to life is also embodied in its counter-terrorism and de-radicalization drive in northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
There was a time when separatists and international terrorists tried to penetrate into China through Xinjiang, where they conducted a series of terrorist attacks that claimed hundreds of lives of innocent people, including Uygurs. The Chinese government, shouldering the responsibility to protect the safety and security of local residents, has rolled out law-based measures to root out terrorism and extremism. The results have been inspiring so far -- not a single terrorist act struck Xinjiang in the past more than three years.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has also been devoted to protecting people's right to development on the basis of safeguarding their right to life, with an aim of helping everyone realize their dreams for a better life. China's war on poverty can be seen as an example in this regard.
In the past seven decades, more than 850 million Chinese people were lifted out of poverty, contributing to over 70 percent to worldwide poverty reduction work, official data showed. While China has managed to pull off an economic miracle and seek to promote domestic equality, it is the only one among all major countries that has done so without resorting to wars, colonialism or slavery -- all of which violate human rights to either life or freedom.
However, regardless of China's progress in human rights, some U.S. politicians have been fixated on smearing China over the issue. Yet in fact, Washington, which loves to brand itself as a human rights defender, holds a sorry human rights record, if not the world's worst.
Facing the ravaging pandemic, the U.S. administration has only made a half-hearted attempt to contain the outbreak. As a result, the country has been leading the world in both the number of confirmed cases -- over 6 million, and the number of deaths -- nearly 190,000.
While the deadly disease is killing more Americans, the long-standing problem of racial inequality and injustice is destabilizing the United States with one "I-can't-breathe" case occurring after another.
Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward, who led a team of World Health Organization experts for a nine-day joint mission investigating COVID-19 in China in February, once said that "If I had COVID-19, I'd want to be treated in China ... They know and they care about keeping people alive, and they do it successfully."
Human rights is certainly not all about the right to life. Yet no one can deny that the right to life is the prerequisite of everything else. Only when people's lives are well protected can it be possible for them to explore life's other possibilities. That fact is more relevant today than ever before in the face of the still-raging pandemic, and for the human race that shares one common future.