Winning a Decisive Victory Against COVID-19 and Promoting the Development of a Global Community with a Shared Future
The COVID-19 is a serious threat to the health and safety of the Chinese people and a major challenge to global public health security. In the face of this severe test, the Chinese people of all ethnic groups have united as one and brought together a powerful force for fighting against this epidemic under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core. Their stirring deeds of heroism have won the admiration and support of the international community. In this critical battle, which is still ongoing, we in the diplomatic service have resolutely implemented the important instructions of General Secretary Xi and the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee. We have enhanced our awareness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central authorities; boosted our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and firmly upheld General Secretary Xi's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole as well as the CPC Central Committee's authority and centralized, unified leadership. We have actively participated in the all-out people's war against the epidemic by doing our utmost to foster an external environment conducive to epidemic control and economic and social development at home, and making China a strong line of defense in the global response to the pandemic.
Since the onset of the COVID-19, we in the diplomatic service have focused our efforts on the overarching goal of containing and defeating the disease, and made epidemic prevention and control our foremost political task. With a strong sense of mission and responsibility, we have taken solid steps to advance foreign affairs work related to prevention and control. By doing so, we have done our best to share the burdens of the CPC Central Committee, fulfill our duties to the people and the nation, and contribute to the domestic fight against the epidemic.
We have made active diplomatic efforts to secure international support for the fight against COVID-19.
General Secretary Xi has projected calm and confidence as he has personally taken charge of China's epidemic response. In phone calls with over a dozen foreign leaders, including the leaders of France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Indonesia, Qatar, Malaysia, the United Kingdom (UK), the Republic of Korea (ROK), Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia, Chile, and Cuba, President Xi underscored that the entire Chinese nation has been mobilized in a rapid response, and that the most comprehensive, rigorous, and thorough measures have been adopted in the country. He stressed that we are confident in our ability to triumph over the outbreak and minimize its impact, and that we will strive to meet this year's targets for economic and social development. His remarks have sent a resounding message to the world that China will prevail in this fight.
To date, leaders of over 170 countries and heads of more than 40 international and regional organizations have sent messages or issued statements of sympathy and support to China. They have also commended China for the effective measures we have taken and the success we have achieved in responding to the virus. The United Nations (UN), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, BRICS, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN), the African Union, the Arab League, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the G77 have issued statements to express their confidence in and support for China's actions in this regard. We hosted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga on special visits to China, and jointly held the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Coronavirus Disease(COVID-19) in Laos. We have been working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO). I have spoken to over 20 foreign ministers, including those of Japan, the ROK, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, Iran, and Malaysia. These diplomatic communications have built broad international consensus for the world to cooperate and fight this virus together.
We have promoted international cooperation across the board to help reinforce domestic prevention and control.
China's diplomatic and consular missions have worked hard to secure medical supplies urgently needed at home, acted as go - betweens to facilitate overseas procurement, and fast-tracked the delivery of donations from foreign governments, overseas Chinese, and friends around the world. So far, we have received assistance and supplies from 50 countries and international organizations. Large quantities of badly needed medical supplies have made their way to Wuhan and other places where they are most in demand. In coordination with competent authorities, we have also facilitated active information sharing and cooperation on scientific research with other countries, helping to pool international expertise for diagnosing and treating the virus and for developing vaccines.
We have followed a people-centered approach to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of our compatriots.
Confronted by the sudden strike of the virus, we have taken resolute steps to ensure the safety of our citizens abroad and to protect their legitimate rights and interests. In response to the disproportionate reactions of a small number of countries, we have stated our position at the earliest opportunity in accordance with the policy recommendations put forward by the WHO. We have communicated and consulted with various countries to prevent normal personnel and economic exchanges from being impacted unnecessarily. With commitment to the tenet of putting people first in our work, we have set up special consular protection mechanisms, and used all of our diplomatic and consular missions to locate and contact our compatriots from Hubei who had been stranded overseas. More than ten charter flights have been sent to bring home over 1,300 Hubei residents from Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia. Under the overall coordination of the central government, we assisted the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in repatriating residents of Hong Kong and Macao who were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. Our diplomatic and consular missions have worked around the clock at this difficult time, assisting over 18,100 Chinese citizens who had not been able to return home due to flight cancellations, making and receiving over 10,000 calls regarding consular protection, and helping to resolve nearly 2,700 consular protection cases. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has sent a task force to Wuhan to coordinate the handling of diplomatic matters in epidemic response, the members of which have set an example for all of us in the diplomatic service through their bravery.
On February 24, 2020, the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 held a press conference in Beijing, inviting Liang Wannian, chief Chinese representative of the mission and head of the National Health Commission's expert group for COVID-19 response, and Bruce Aylward, chief foreign representative of the mission and senior advisor to the WHO Director-General, to present the findings of the group's on-the-spot investigations and to answer questions from reporters. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER XING GUANGLI
We have reached out to the world to share China's experiences in fighting the epidemic.
By participating in multilateral platforms such as the Munich Security Conference and by taking full advantage of multiple channels such as daily MFA briefings and new media, we have acted quickly to make our voice heard on the international stage. We have thoroughly informed other countries about the tremendous efforts we have made in fighting the virus and shown them that the prospects for China's future development remain bright, using facts and communication to shore up confidence and trust in China among the international community. Meanwhile, we have condemned instances of discrimination toward Chinese nationals as well as misguided actions and rumors that have incited panic, in an effort to foster an international climate conducive to fighting the virus. We have also held briefings on prevention and control efforts for foreign diplomatic missions in China, demonstrating that the Chinese government cares for the health and safety of foreign nationals in China. China's diplomatic envoys and missions all over the world have carried out intensive public diplomacy activities, participating in over 400 interviews on mainstream TV and radio channels, publishing more than 300 articles, delivering over 500 briefings and speeches, and posting more than 20,000 messages on popular foreign and domestic social media platforms. Their efforts have helped the world better appreciate the Chinese people's fight against the virus, and instilled greater confidence in the positive trajectory of the Chinese economy.
The Chinese people have put up a tenacious fight against the virus. As a result, there is a growing sense throughout the country that the situation is improving. Throughout this fight, China has remained committed to the concept of a global community with a shared future, lived up to its responsibilities as a major country, and made substantial contributions to global public health undertakings.
China's efforts to curb the spread of the virus have demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility.
Standing at the forefront of the battle against the virus, China has not only fulfilled its responsibility to protect its own people, but also lived up to its commitments to safeguarding global public health by taking the most thorough and decisive measures to prevent the virus from spreading beyond its borders. Chinese medical workers and researchers have raced against time to improve diagnostic and treatment protocols in an effort to raise the cure rate and lower the case fatality rate. Through its rapid actions, China has bought precious time for the international community to get prepared, and through its forceful response, China has served as a strong line of defense against the spread of the virus. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that China has made huge sacrifices for all mankind in fighting against the novel coronavirus and containing its spread. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that China's forceful actions have limited the spread of the virus both domestically and internationally, and have therefore protected not just the Chinese people, but people all over the world.
China has earned trust for promoting a joint response to this global challenge.
Since the very beginning, China has attached great importance to international health cooperation. In the spirit of openness and transparency, China has provided timely updates on the epidemic to all parties, shared the virus' genome sequence, worked closely with the WHO, neighboring countries, and other countries concerned, and invited international experts to join in the fight. Taking the health of foreign nationals in China seriously, we have worked in coordination with foreign missions to provide the latest information and consular assistance to the expatriate communities, which have expressed their trust in China, their gratitude toward China, and their support for China. Through concrete actions, China has won widespread approval and admiration from the world and demonstrated its firm commitment to developing a global community with a shared future. President of the 74th UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande commended China's exemplary leadership and transparency in fighting the epidemic. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that the whole world appreciates and commends China for the efforts it has made and the results it has achieved in the fight against the epidemic, and that no other country could have done better than China. A prestigious international journal pointed out that China has paved the way for the international scientific community to join the fight against the virus and laid the foundation for the mobilization of global cooperation on scientific research. The international community is in broad agreement that the Chinese people have contributed significantly to curbing the outbreak and that China's response to the virus has not only demonstrated its responsibility for the health and safety of its own people, but also its vigorous support for the global fight against the disease.
China has set the benchmark for improvement of global public health governance.
This outbreak is a major test of China's governance system and capacity, as well as the global governance system and capacity. China has been praised for its strength, speed, and efficiency in this fight, while the institutional advantages of China's governance have been put on full display. Under the unified command and coordination of the CPC Central Committee, working mechanisms for joint prevention and control were set up as soon as the novel coronavirus struck; a level I public health emergency response was activated in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities; and tens of thousands of medical workers and massive amounts of medical supplies and daily necessities were rapidly delivered to Hubei from across the country. These are vivid examples of the institutional strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics in pooling resources behind major undertakings. The international community shares the view that China has acted at speed, intensity, and scale rarely seen in the world, while China has impressed the world with its leadership, response, mobilization, and implementation capabilities. China has set an example for the rest of the world and accumulated effective experience for the international community in handling emergencies caused by infectious disease and advancing global public health governance.
Throughout history, human civilization has battled against disease. This sudden strike of the novel coronavirus is yet another sobering reminder to the international community that in the age of globalization, the futures of countries are closely intertwined and building a global community with a shared future is the only correct path for us to follow. China will take the joint response to the pandemic as an opportunity to call for greater international coordination and cooperation in caring for our planet together and building a global village where we all have a stake in each other's success. Guided by the vision of building a global community with a shared future, China will pursue the following goals.
Five-year-old Filippa Rodriguez displays her drawing in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo on February 8, 2020. When she heard about the outbreak happening in China on the news, she was confident that China would overcome the epidemic quickly. She hopes to visit China one day to meet Chinese friends and see her favorite animal, the giant panda, with her own eyes. XINHUA / PHOTO BY NICOLAS CELAYA
First, we will actively engage in international and regional cooperation on responding to the pandemic.
Defeating COVID-19 is not only of crucial importance to the lives and health of the Chinese people, but also vital to the safety and wellbeing of people across the globe. Acting in accordance with the directions of the CPC Central Committee, we will effectively handle China's external affairs by keeping in mind the need to promote both epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, and advance China's personnel exchanges and cooperation in all fields with other countries in an orderly manner. We will expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation against the pandemic, and keep up good communication with the WHO. We will develop and launch measures for transnational pandemic prevention and control by strengthening coordination between competent departments responsible for health, quarantine, transportation, and border control, promptly share pandemic updates, information about containment measures, and research findings, and intensify joint R&D of antiviral drugs and vaccines. While doing everything we can to control the disease at home, we will assist countries and regions experiencing a spread of infections as much as possible and live up to our role as a responsible major country.
Second, we will thoroughly participate in global public health governance.
Public health emergencies are a common challenge faced by all countries. The COVID-19 has laid bare inadequacies in global public health governance and highlighted the urgent need to reinforce the governance system in this field. China is ready to work with the rest of the international community to address these challenges. We support the core role of the UN and WHO in responding to public health emergencies and in improving the global public health governance system. We will work to elevate the position of public health issues on the international agenda, implement major international collaborative health projects, and promote cooperation on health issues along the Silk Road corridor.
Third, we will join the world in responding to non-traditional security challenges.
We live in an era in which traditional and non-traditional security issues are intertwined. Non-traditional security issues such as major communicable diseases pose an increasingly serious challenge to mankind as a whole. China will put its new concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security into practice, work to promote communication and dialogue on non-traditional security matters, and enhance understanding and trust between various parties, with a view to advancing international cooperation in response to non-traditional security threats. This will help make efforts to build a global community with a shared future more meaningful and practical.
Whatever we set our mind to, we must not rest until the job is done. Right now, the Chinese people are in the most critical stage of the fight against the outbreak, and some other countries are facing mounting threats from the virus. In this challenging time, China will not retreat or shut itself off. The situation may be severe, but it is vital that we remain confident, because even though our mission is arduous, there is hope on the horizon. Just as General Secretary Xi pointed out, although the Chinese nation has endured many trials and tribulations in its history, it has never been defeated. Instead, hardship and adversity have only made us emerge stronger and more resilient. We are confident that under the command of General Secretary Xi and the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and with the entire Party fighting at the forefront and the whole nation standing united, we will triumph over any difficulties or challenges that come our way. With a higher morale and a stronger sense of duty, we will rally even closer around the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, devote all our efforts to securing the final victory over the epidemic, and work tirelessly to realize the Two Centenary Goals and the vision of building a global community with a shared future!
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 5, 2020)