Hu Zhangliang, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Sierra Leone.
On June 7, 2020, China’s State Council Information Office published a white paper titled “Fighting COVID-19: China in Action”, which is an authoritative, fact-based document recording China’s fight against the virus. It aims to keep a complete record of the process on China’s arduous efforts in fighting COVID-19, to share its experience with the rest of the world and to clarify its ideas on the global battle.
The white paper says that facing this unknown, unexpected, and devastating disease, China launched a resolute battle to prevent and control its spread. Making people’s lives and health its first priority, China adopted extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures, and has for now succeeded in cutting all channels for the transmission of the virus.
The white paper states that having forged the idea that the world is a global community of shared future, and believing that it must act as a responsible member, China has fought shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world. In an open, transparent, and responsible manner and in accordance with the law, China gave timely notification to the international community of the onset of a new coronavirus, and shared without reserve its experience in containing the spread of the virus and treating the infected. China has great empathy with victims all over the world, and has done all it can to provide humanitarian aid in support of the international community’s endeavours to stem the pandemic.
However, for quite a time, some politicians and media in certain western countries kept slandering and scapegoating China to shirk responsibility in their inadequate responses to the pandemic. They deliberately turned a blind eye to China’s contribution in safeguarding the world public health security, claimed that China was the source of the virus and tried to politicize the COVID-19 pandemic. They played up the presumptions that China was accountable for spreading the virus and concealing the facts, which have no factual basis and disrespect science.
The white paper responds to those fallacies with a clear timeline and detailed data. It states that since the first case of pneumonia of unknown cause reported in Hubei, Wuhan on December 27, 2019, China acted immediately to conduct etiological and epidemiological investigations and to stop the spread of the disease. From January 3 on, China began to update the WHO, relevant countries including the US, and regional organizations on the development of the disease on a regular basis. As a crucial step to stem the spread of the virus, the Chinese government took the decisive measure to close outbound traffic from Wuhan on January 23, by then there was only one officially confirmed case in the US.
The timeline shown in the white paper clearly proves that some countries have been informed of the pandemic information very timely. The reason why situation in a certain country gets out of control at present is entirely the result of their own inaction and incompetence in the fight against the pandemic. The related accusations are totally untenable.
As the white paper points out, China has been doing all it can to support the international community in the fight against the pandemic. It has provided two batches of cash support totalling US$50 million to the WHO and has been active in providing medical aid to other countries. As of May 31, China had sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, and offered assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations. China has speeded up its resumption of work and production to produce much-needed medical supplies to support the world’s fighting against the virus. From March 1 to May 31, China exported protective materials to 200 countries and regions, among which there were more than 70.6 billion masks, 340 million protective suits, 115 million pairs of goggles, 96,700 ventilators, 225 million test kits, and 40.29 million infrared thermometers. At the virtual event of the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, President Xi Jinping pledged that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
As a sincere and reliable friend and good partner of Sierra Leone, China has provided six batches of much-needed medical materials to Sierra Leone to support its fight against the pandemic. The Chinese medical team, China CDC experts team and military medical experts team have also been working assiduously in case testing and treatment to support their Sierra Leonean counterparts in this battle. In the future, China will continue to provide support to Sierra Leone within its capacity.
As COVID-19 continues spreading, the world is still going through tough times. As the white paper points out, the most urgent task is to defeat it through solidarity and cooperation. The common enemy of humanity is this virus, not any particular country or any particular race. China calls on the international community to come together, acknowledge the facts and truth about China’s efforts in fight against the pandemic abandon prejudice and arrogance resist scapegoating and other such self-serving artifices, and stand against stigmatization and politicization of the virus. In doing so, we will see that the spirit of solidarity, cooperation, responsibility and dedication leads people around the world towards victory in our fight against the pandemic.
The sun will always shine again after a storm. As long as we don’t lose hope, we will prevail on the pandemic and the world will be a better place for all to live in.