BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Seek profit or partake in China's coronavirus battle? That has become an inopportune question for some people who believe they see a window of opportunity in this public health emergency of international concern.
As China and the rest of the world are racing to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), some overseas politicians are talking up the potential windfalls of the global epidemic.
The U.S. secretary of commerce was earlier quoted as saying that the virus could help bring jobs back to the United States -- a textbook example of schadenfreude and a zero-sum mindset.
The remarks were insensitive at best. Correlating an all-out fight against the highly contagious virus with a stronger U.S. manufacturing sector couldn't be more ill-conceived and ill-advised.
For one thing, the virus knows no borders. So far about 20 countries, including the United States, have reported confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection. Capitalizing on other countries' woes will not help stop the spread, but will only stoke panic, fuel health management risks and undermine international morale.
The cries of bringing jobs back also make no economic sense. The 2019-nCoV epidemic, like previous ones, is unlikely to last long enough to deal a real blow to China's manufacturing sector. The Chinese people are going all out to fight against the epidemic, with the government keeping the international community well-informed, releasing timely updates and relevant data.
While the epidemic could dampen China's manufacturing sector in the short term, the country's appeal to foreign manufacturers will only continue to grow in the future with deeper opening-up and ease of doing business rising in the global rankings. Foreign manufacturers will keep operating, investing and growing in this vibrant economy.
The foreign investors operating in this country have a better understanding of the value of the Chinese market, and will not unwisely give up long-term prospects due to short-term pains.
While some are seeking to fish in troubled water, countries and international organizations have been quick to offer their support to and enhance cooperation with China to prevail over the disease.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations stands firmly with the Chinese government and people, has full confidence in China's ability to prevent and control the outbreak, and is willing to provide China with all possible support and assistance.
Confidence in China is widely shared. Foreign firms in China have promptly chipped in at this fight-or-flight juncture, with over 120 companies making donations worth more than 740 million yuan (about 106 million U.S. dollars) as of 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The disease will surely be cured with the joint efforts of all stakeholders. The zero-sum mindset, however, might prove to be a harder virus to kill.