By HE Ambassador Ma Jianchun
It is a time of great opportunity; it is also full of uncertainties. Today, interactions between people are presented with a much deeper and broader globality than ever before in history, and countries are much more interconnected with each other than ever before.
Globalization is the basic tone of the world today; it is also an irreversible trend. When changes create new possibilities, there are also risks and challenges, including non-traditional security concerns that have yet to be carefully considered, such as the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world today. . We are at a crossroads in history, faced with a choice which is to shape the future of humanity.
Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that “no country is capable of tackling all the challenges the world faces today on its own, and no country can retreat to the island of self-isolation.” He proposed a vision of building a community of destiny for humanity. This vision, at this particular moment, is embodied in a more urgent, specific and common call: to build a public health community for humanity.
China’s ‘People’s War’ Against COVID-19
Earlier this year, the outbreak of a new coronavirus pneumonia known as COVID-19 overwhelmed China. To combat it, the Chinese government has mobilized medical and human resources across the country and taken the most comprehensive and stringent prevention and control measures.
Wuhan, the city most severely affected by the epidemic, has suspended its internal and external public transport, and all citizens of Wuhan have been quarantined at home. In just two weeks, two emergency hospitals were built on the outskirts of the city and immediately started operating, and stadiums and many other large public buildings were turned into makeshift hospitals, to ensure that all patients can receive appropriate treatment.
Countless Chinese fought in this battle, including doctors and nurses working on the frontlines to save lives, community workers commuting between their neighbors, scientists working tirelessly to create medicines and vaccines … The list is long. For their own health and that of others, ordinary Chinese people canceled their long-awaited traditional Lunar New Year celebrations, voluntarily stayed at home and strictly practiced social distancing, calmly waited for the disaster to end.
To prevent the spread of the epidemic, China has worked timely and closely with the international community, adhering to transparency and openness. When China was in trouble, countries like The Gambia and international organizations sent us many messages of solidarity and support, helping hands were extended to us, and urgent medical supplies were delivered from all over the world. These touching moments made us stronger and more confident.
I heard that a Gambian student named Ebrima Barry, who studies in Wuhan city, actively played his volunteer role during the difficult times in Wuhan. Ebrima and her Chinese and overseas peers have served as bridges between school staff, teachers and students, making daily life easier for her fellow students and contributing to Wuhan’s overall efforts to overcome COVID-19. Ordinary volunteers are respected, and volunteers in these difficult times are true noble heroes!
March 18 marked another milestone in China’s war on the epidemic. It was on this day that the number of confirmed cases in Wuhan fell to zero for the first time. At midnight on March 25, the suspension of outbound transportation from Hubei Province, where Wuhan City is located as the provincial capital, was lifted and Wuhan’s revitalization is now in sight. China is gradually getting back to work.
It was the contribution of the people that made this day happen earlier, and it was the arrival of this day that made us believe more firmly that, as long as proper action was taken with concerted effort, the virus can be defeated!
“Receive drops of water when needed, and I will return kindness with a spring”
Today, many patients are still discharged from hospitals in China, and imported infections have been reported every day in various Chinese cities. Risks still exist and we are continuing our efforts towards ultimate victory. Meanwhile, in many other places such as Europe, North America and the Middle East, outbreak situations are cause for concern. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have also been reported in most African countries. It calls on all people around the world to work together to fight the virus.
It is a common belief among the Chinese people that one should always return any favor they receive in the event of a problem, so China is now reaching out to countries around the world who are battling the pandemic, including the African countries.
The Chinese government is offering test kits to Africa and will provide more; Chinese health experts held an in-depth video conference for their African counterparts as well as officials from African countries and the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sharing their experiences in containing the virus; Chinese medical teams in Africa are actively cooperating with their colleagues and local partners, engaging in Africa’s fight against the pandemic.
Recently, confirmed cases have been reported in The Gambia. The Gambian government, political parties, businesses, civil organizations and ordinary citizens are all now battling COVID-19.
Earlier this month, China provided the Gambian government with vehicles, medical equipment and drugs for medical purposes, hoping to help build the Gambia’s public health capacity. The Chinese government will provide The Gambia with another batch of medical supplies, including test kits, face masks, protective clothing, forehead thermometers, safety glasses, disposable gloves, etc.
In addition, Chinese foundations Jack Ma and Alibaba donated a massive amount of medical supplies to 54 African countries, in which 100,000 face masks, 20,000 test kits, 1,000 sets of protective clothing and many more equipment is reserved for The Gambia. The Chinese Embassy is actively coordinating with several parties the delivery of all these goods, working to get them to arrive as soon as possible.
Solidarity! Solidarity! Solidarity
What has happened over the past few months has once again proven an undisputed fact: the countries of the world today share happiness and unhappiness as they are much more connected to each other than ever before.
We must note that the coronavirus does not respect any national border, nor does it know any racial or ideological differences. COVID-19 is a common enemy of humanity.
Right now our strengths lie in our solidarity, just as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros has called it, “the incredible spirit of human solidarity must become more contagious than the virus itself”.
Throughout the global pandemic, we have witnessed many moving moments.
We saw people cheering for health workers from their balconies, volunteers offering groceries for the elderly in their communities, artists playing happy music for their quarantined neighbors at home, and doctors and nurses to faraway lands to bring hope to those battling infections.
Unfortunately, however, some jarring rumors against such solidarity have recently been brought to the international stage. Some politicians continue to use the pandemic to stigmatize China and the Chinese people.
They willfully confuse right and wrong, facts and lies, seeking to shy away from unfulfilled responsibilities of protecting their own people and distracting public attention from their national epidemic situation and containment performance. They have tarnished China’s combat efforts and wasted the precious time of two months of preparation which has been hard earned at the cost of the Chinese people.
To serve their own interests, they even tried to forcibly link China and the coronavirus, when the point is, scientists have yet to determine where this virus really comes from! WHO and the international community oppose the stigma or associate the virus with a certain country or region.
Marking a nation or race with a “virus” is unnecessary and rather harmful to the global fight against the pandemic. What to do instead is follow the advice of scientists and adopt protective measures, promote mutual understanding and assistance during this difficult time, believe in science, remain reasonable, work together and build a public health community for all of humanity.
The pandemic is forcing countries around the world to come together again and global solidarity is once again becoming a common call. On March 26, the extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders on COVID-19 was held, in which Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the world to act quickly to stem the spread of the virus and to be determined to lead a total world war. against the COVID-19 epidemic.
It will be noted that as long as we all work together and help each other, the challenge will be met. Humanity has passed through winters of despair one after another, as again and again sources of hope fall upon them. This time will be no exception.