Fight COVID-19 through solidarity and cooperation and build a global community of health for all

The Consul General of China in Jeddah Tan Banglin.
The Consul General of China in Jeddah Tan Banglin.

By Tan Banglin

OCT. 1, 2020 marks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In 2020, China, like many other countries, encounters the dreadful pandemic of COVID-19, which is causing devastation all over the world.

Humanity shines through the dark cloud of the pandemic. Solidarity, cooperation and mutual support of all countries are the most powerful weapon against the diseases.

At the beginning of this year, in response to the unexpected reports of unexplained pneumonia, the Chinese government acted immediately to pool the country’s top scientific research resources and identified the pathogen and the transmission route in the shortest time. In a timely manner, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries of the pandemic, and shared the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus. In the spirit of putting people and their lives first, the Chinese government quickly pooled nationwide resources in response to the pandemic and wasted no time to wage an all-out people’s war on the prevention and control of the pandemic.

Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, the Chinese government acted decisively to quarantine Hubei Province in timely and adopted the most extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures around the country, making tremendous sacrifice. In little more than a single month, the rising spread of the virus was contained and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan. China has accumulated experience of pandemic prevention and control for other countries and made significant contributions.

During China’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese people will never forget that many state leaders including Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman of Saudi Arabia, leaders from international organizations such as the United Nations, foreign-funded enterprises, and international friends expressed sincere greetings and provided valuable support to the Chinese people in various ways.

The virus respects no borders nor distinguishes between races. It is a common challenge faced by mankind. Only through solidarity and cooperation can the international community prevail over the pandemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, upholding the idea that the world is a community with a shared future for mankind, the Chinese government has actively fulfilled its international obligations in an open, transparent, and responsible manner, closely cooperated with WHO and relevant countries, and shared with the international community the updates on the pandemic, diagnosis and treatment plans, as well as prevention and control plans. China has conducted more than 70 exchange actives on pandemic prevention and control with many countries, international and regional organizations, and share its experience in containing the spread of the virus and treating the infected without reservation.

After the COVID-19 pandemic eased in China, China has offered assistance to the international community to the best of its ability. As of June 7, 2020, China has provided two batches of cash support totaling $50 million to WHO and has made donations to international organizations including the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. China has sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries, offered 283 batches of assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations, and offered and exported anti-pandemic materials to more than 200 countries and regions. China has helped saving lives of tens of millions of people around the world with its practical actions, showing China’s sincere desire to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

As the pandemic remain severe, vaccines represent a strong shield to defend against the virus. China is in the top tier of the research and development of the COVID-19 vaccines in the world. According to WHO, more than half of the COVID-19 vaccines that have entered phase-3 clinical trials were developed by China. President Xi Jinping announced at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, “COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made global for public good. This will be China’s contribution to making vaccine accessible and affordable in developing countries.”

With strict prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has steadily resumed work and production and restored the economy, overcoming difficulties to win the critical battle against poverty.

Today, with COVID-19 yet to be brought under full control at the global level, all economies hit hard to varying degrees, and international personnel exchanges, trade and investment seriously affected, all countries face the formidable task to combat the virus, stabilize the economy, and protect livelihoods. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, China has made coordinated efforts to advance COVID-19 prevention and control and promote economic and social development, promptly restored the order of work and life and gradually overcome the adverse impact of the pandemic. Since the second quarter, China’s economy has been gradually growing and recovering, with its GDP expanded by 3.2 percent, back into positive territory, making China the first major economy in the world to restore from the recession since the outbreak of COVID-19.

In September, the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services was held in Beijing. At a time when the global pandemic is yet to be brought under full control, the event contributed China’s wisdom to promoting openness and cooperation and world economic recovery, demonstrating China’s achievements in dealing with the pandemic and economic recovery, and proclaiming China’s confidence and strength to create a new situation of mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with higher-level reform and opening up. As an indispensable link in the global industrial chain, China makes important contributions to maintaining the stability of global supply chain by persisting in deepening opening up and international cooperation, strengthening communication and coordination with its economic and trade partners, and giving priority to ensuring the resumption of production and supply in leading enterprises and key links. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that China will be the only economy that will achieve significant growth in 2020. Between 2020 and 2021, China’s contribution to world economic growth will reach 51.2 percent and its economic growth will exceed that of the rest of the world combined.

The year 2020 is the final year for China to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and win the decisive battle against poverty. The pandemic has brought new difficulties and challenges to poverty alleviation, hindering poverty-stricken workforce from working, undermining the production and operation of impoverished households, and delaying the resumption of work and production of poverty alleviation projects, leading enterprises and workshops. At a symposium on securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation in March, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that lifting all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty by 2020 is a solemn promise made by the CPC Central Committee, and it must be fulfilled on time. Different sectors and national poverty alleviation systems in various regions have tackled difficulties and spared no efforts to make positive progress in poverty alleviation. As of June 30, officials are stationed in the impoverished villages, and efforts to lifting the remaining counties out of poverty are already sped up. The number of poverty-stricken workforce reaches 103.7 percent of last year’s total. Public welfare posts are offered for 4.332 million poor workers in the central and western regions. The recovery rate of leading poverty alleviation enterprises is 98 percent, that of poverty-relief workshops is 99.6 percent, and that of poverty-relief projects is 95.2 percent. Sales of poverty alleviation through consumption reaches 7.846 million yuan (about $1.159 million). On the whole, China has gradually overcome the impact of the pandemic on poverty alleviation and the fight against poverty will not be influenced.

In the next stage, we will urge the local governments to speed up efforts in lifting the remaining 52 poor counties and 1,113 villages with a large impoverished population and difficulty in poverty reduction out of poverty. We will strengthen measures to alleviate poverty through creating jobs for the unemployed, channeling consumer spending to poor areas, and monitoring and assisting people who fall back into poverty to ensure that the remaining poverty alleviation tasks are completed as scheduled. China has the confidence, conditions and ability to win the battle against poverty as scheduled, and achieve the poverty reduction targets set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, and write a new chapter in the history of mankind’s fight against poverty.

Work together to continuously deepen China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 30 years ago, China and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed steady bilateral relations and yielded fruitful results in the cooperation of various fields. In particular, the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries has promoted the bilateral relations to the “fast track”. Saudi Arabia is an important emerging economy and an Arab country with significant global influence. China has always placed its relations with Saudi Arabia at an important position in its overall diplomacy.

This year, facing the sudden attack of COVID-19, China and Saudi Arabia has supported each other and worked together to fight against the pandemic. President Xi Jinping and King Salman have had conversation via phone for three times, and the Saudi government and all sectors of society have provided substantial emergency supplies to China, while China has sent medical experts and supplies to Saudi Arabia to fight the pandemic. The two countries have established close cooperation in fields such as the prevention and control of the pandemic and the scientific research and jointly safeguarded the health and well-being of the people as well as the global and regional public health security, leaving behind touching stories of mutual assistance and support between China and Saudi Arabia.

China appreciates the Saudi Arabia side’s positive role in international affairs including strengthening the control and prevention of the global pandemic, and stabilizing the world economy as the rotating chair of the G20. China supports the leading role played by Saudi Arabia, and will continue to practice multilateralism, and work together with the Saudi Arabia side to promote global governance and economy recovery in the post-pandemic era, in a bid to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia to promote the in-depth integration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Vision 2030, and further expand and deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields, enhance mutual understanding through people-to-people exchanges and dialogues between civilizations, work together to deal with the traditional and non-traditional security threats, so as to bring more benefits to the two countries and peoples and promote the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level. We believe that with profound traditional friendship, interwoven development interests and similar visions on development, China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership will surely achieve constant and in-depth development.

With a long history of over 5000 years, the Chinese nation is a great and persevered nation that has withstood hardships and adversity. Rumors and stigmatization can neither beat the Chinese people nor deceive people of the world with conscience. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, with the notable advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and the powerful force of hundreds of millions of Chinese people, no difficulties and disturbances can stop the Chinese people from advancing towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese dream.

— the writer is Consul General of China in Jeddah