The writer is China’s ambassador to the UK
The spread of Covid-19 has been the most severe challenge that mankind has faced this century. How to win the battle against the virus is a question every country and government must answer. China’s answer is three-fold.
First, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of the world is just as important as protecting one’s own people. With this in mind, China has taken up its responsibility. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government met the challenge head on. In the war against the virus, the most comprehensive, thorough and strict measures were taken, which bought time for the world by containing the spread of the disease.
Thanks to these measures, preliminary but important success was achieved. This made it possible for China to balance counter-epidemic measures with gradual restoration of the economic and social order. All this was done with both domestic and global impacts in mind.
Second, the initial success in China has bolstered international confidence in beating the virus.
While Covid-19 will remain on the government’s agenda for some time, China is losing no time in seeking to get economic activity back on track. Looking ahead, China remains committed to deepening reforms and opening its market wider to the world, stepping up co-ordination of macroeconomic policies, steadying market performance, maintaining growth, safeguarding people’s wellbeing and ensuring that global supply chains are open, stable and secure.
China’s experiences in containing Covid-19 have been also helpful in the global response to this challenge. The first experience is the importance of saving lives and safeguarding public health. The second is to enforce measures that are based on science, including the principle of early quarantine and treatment. Last but not least is the need for a joint response: from the central government to local communities, joint prevention and control efforts quickly formed a tight net. The whole nation was mobilised to support Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, where more than 42,000 medical workers from around the country fought on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19.
Lastly, the battle cannot be won unless the world comes together, as no country is immune to the virus. Since the beginning of the outbreak, China has carried out international co-operation in an open, transparent and responsible spirit. In record time, China identified the pathogen of the virus, shared its full genetic sequence with the World Health Organization, sent 17 teams of medical experts to 15 countries, and shared its experience with more than 150 countries and international organisations, including the UK.
As a country of 1.4bn people, China still faces enormous pressure from a possible rebound at home as well as imported cases. But this has not stopped China from taking part in the global response by supplying the international market with pharmaceutical ingredients, daily necessities, and medical and protective equipment and material.
China has been supportive of the leadership of the WHO, having donated $50m to the organisation. It also supports international co-operation, more effective global governance in public health and greater assistance to developing countries with weak public health systems.
However, in a recent campaign of stigmatisation, China has been accused of covering up data, while the WHO is accused of being controlled by China. Some have even demanded an apology and compensation from China. This “political virus”, born of prejudice and ignorance, distracts attention from the real efforts required to meet this crisis. In face of a raging pandemic, international co-operation is not a choice but a must-do.
I believe those who seek to stigmatise China owe the Chinese people an apology. As the president has said, solidarity and co-operation are the most powerful weapons for the international community to defeat Covid-19. China stands ready to fight with the rest of the world in a spirit of community and a shared future. If the world comes together, the time will come when the dawn breaks and ends this dark hour.