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The International Community Shall Fight Against the Covid-19 Through Solidarity and Cooperation

April 8 2020 is a special day which shall be remembered by all Chinese people. It is on this day that the ban on Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, was officially lifted after more than two months’ lockdown. It is also on this day that Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa sent out the strongest clear-cut signal that China and South Africa are joining hands to fight against the COVID-19 through solidarity and cooperation, which once again demonstrates China’s firm commitment to fighting together with the international community against the COVID-19.

It is a hard-won day for Wuhan. In the past 76 days from January 23 to April 8, Wuhan experienced hardships and witnessed the decisive battle against the coronavirus fought by all the 1.4 billion Chinese people under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, as well as the solidarity, mutual assistance, resilience and responsibility demonstrated by the Chinese people. Thanks to the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures, the COVID-19 epidemic in China has been effectively brought under control, and China’s socio-economic development is gradually getting back to normal. We have also developed the “Chinese Solution” and “Chinese Prescription” to share with other countries to combat the COVID-19.

Now the COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in many places around the world, including the African continent. In the face of the common challenge to global public health security, only by staying united and fighting as one can we prevail over the pandemic and safeguard the common homeland of mankind. This is also an important consensus reached by world leaders on global anti-epidemic cooperation at the recent Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, bearing in mind the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind and acting with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, China, at the earliest possible time, has informed the World Health Organization about the COVID-19 situation, shared the genome sequences of the novel coronavirus with other countries, carried out international cooperation among experts in epidemic prevention and control and extended a helping hand to other epidemic-stricken countries. These iron-clad facts have been fully recognized and highly commended by the international community.

As a new type of virus that has never been seen before, it takes time for us to detect, study and identify the novel coronavirus. On December 27, 2019, Zhang Jixian, a doctor in Hubei Province, reported the three suspected cases she received at the earliest possible time. On December 29, the Hubei Provincial and Wuhan Municipal Health Commissions instructed relevant CDCs and hospitals to carry out epidemiological investigations. On December 30, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued an urgent notification to medical institutions under its jurisdiction, ordering efforts to appropriately treat patients with pneumonia of unknown cause. On December 31, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) sent a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to conduct on-site investigations.

Starting from January 3, China has been regularly informing the WHO, relevant countries including the United States about the COVID-19 developments. On January 11, the China CDC uploaded all the five genetic sequences of the novel coronavirus onto the website for sharing with the world and the WHO. On January 23, China announced the lockdown of Wuhan. On January 30, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Recently, the Science magazine published a joint report by British and American researchers, saying that China's prevention and control measures have successfully broken the transmission chain and bought valuable time for other countries to take anti-epidemic measures.

What needs to be pointed out is that since January 3 this year, China has officially and regularly shared relevant information with the United States. On January 7, the US CDC and the US Embassy in China issued a health warning for traveling to Wuhan. On January 25, the United States was the first country to announce the closure of its Consulate General in Wuhan and evacuate all of its personnel. On February 2, the US government closed its borders to all Chinese citizens and foreigners who had visited China in the past 14 days.

Unfortunately, after so many days, the United States failed to contain the epidemic. On the contrary, the situation in the US is deteriorating rapidly, with the number of confirmed cases increasing exponentially. What is even more incomprehensible and disappointing is that some politicians in the United States and other Western countries, instead of focusing on containing the epidemic in their own countries, have spared no effort to politicize and stigmatize the pandemic based on their ideological prejudice and Cold War mentality. They have fabricated one after another the so-called “China’s original sin fallacy”, “China’s non-transparency fallacy” and “China’s cover-up fallacy”. Even the assistance offered by China to other countries has been labeled as "China’s political generosity conspiracy”. They even unreasonably accused the WHO of being pro-China and threatened to stop paying membership dues to the WHO in an attempt to irresponsibly shift the blame onto China and the WHO for their own failure to effectively respond to the pandemic. This is not only irresponsible to the lives and health of their own people, but also imposing injustice to the Chinese people who have made great sacrifice and bought valuable time for the international community to fight against the virus. This will undoubtedly disturb and undermine the joint efforts and sound momentum of the international community in combating the pandemic.

Recently, US Ambassador to South Africa Mrs. Lana Marks wrote that “the US pledged $100 million in assistance to countries to fight what would become a pandemic – including an offer to China, which was declined.” This is obviously not the fact. The US government announced $100 million anti-epidemic aid to China and other countries, but we haven't received a cent from them. The US Agency for International Development also once said it would provide assistance to China, but we were only notified on March 11 that the supplies were ready. Considering the progress in China's epidemic response by then and the fast spread of the pandemic around the world, China informed the US side that we appreciate its offer but since the supplies came too late and suggested that it might be a better idea to deliver them to other countries in more urgent need. A lie is a lie, and it cannot be turned into a fact even if it is repeated for a thousand times. Even the US and Western media are calling on the US officials to stop shamelessly making excuses and finding scapegoats for their inadequate response, otherwise they will only become a laughing stock.

First, the so-called “China’s original sin fallacy” does not hold water at all. The source of the novel coronavirus is a scientific issue, which should be based on scientific and professional advice. The researches by the WHO and scientists from the United States, Europe, China and other countries have shown that although the COVID-19 first broke out in Wuhan, the virus does not necessarily originate from China. The WHO and the international community are unanimously opposed to associating the virus with specific countries or regions. The Nature magazine recently published an editorial, which opposes the stigmatization of the novel coronavirus and acknowledges its mistakes and apologizes for its association of the virus with Wuhan and China in the past.

The so-called “China’s non-transparency fallacy” is not worth refuting. China has released epidemic information to the international community in a timely manner, shared anti-epidemic experiences with other countries, and made all-out efforts to promote international exchanges and cooperation in epidemic prevention and control. The relevant slander will collapse in the face of hard facts. On April 1, the WHO officials once again refuted the groundless accusations against China for being non-transparent on its figures.

It is even more ridiculous to claim that China is capitalizing on the epidemic to play the “politics of generosity” so as to shift its responsibility onto others. Out of reciprocity and the spirit of international humanitarianism, we have provided assistance to relevant countries, regions and international organizations at their request. This is our concrete action and commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind as put forward by President Xi Jinping. China has never been an on-looker when its friend is in trouble, nor has it offered a helping hand to other countries out of selfish interests. It is advisable for certain politicians in Europe and the United States to stop “gauging the heart of a gentle man with one’s own mean measure”.

China has always helped friendly countries in trouble with sincerity and concrete actions. African friends have the best say in this regard. At the crucial moment of the three Western African countries’ fight against Ebola in 2014, in sharp contrast to the evacuation by the United States and many other Western countries, the diplomats of the Chinese embassies in these Western African countries chose to stay on duty there. The Chinese government was the first to rush to their rescue, dispatching thousands of medical personnel and donating a large number of medical supplies with charted flights at the earliest possible time. In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, China is once again firmly standing together and joining hands with South Africa and other African countries to fight against the pandemic. President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa have make it clear once again during their recent telephone conversation.

The virus respects no borders, ideologies, colors or races. It is the common enemy of mankind. In the face of the pandemic, all countries’ interests are closely intertwined and we must fight as one. Slanders, attacks and shifting the blame onto others cannot make up for the lost time. The only right way is to strengthen solidarity and cooperation so as to prevail over the pandemic at an early date. We sincerely hope that the governments of relevant countries will act like the Chinese government to always put the lives and health of their people before politics, stop political manipulations and attacks, and devote all their attention and energy to defeating the pandemic and strengthening international cooperation, so as to jointly safeguard the safety and health of their own people and all peoples around the world, and build a community of public health security for mankind.

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