By Wang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan
Positive results have been achieved in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak in China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, the global pandemic situation brooks no optimism as confirmed cases continue increasing in many countries. Afghanistan has also seen some confirmed cases. As one of the many common challenges confronting all mankind, the pandemic presents profound lessons to the international community. In the era of globalization, all countries have interlinked destinies and must share weal and woe. In this connection, to build a community of shared future is the only correct path to the development and progress of human society.
There is wide appreciation of the Chinese experience. President Xi, with his hands-on and leading-by-example style, has been personally engaged in the command of the fight, which amounts to an unprecedented full-scale people’s war. A whole-of-government and whole-of-society mechanism to prevent and control COVID-19 was quickly put in place. Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization, noted that China’s unprecedented public health responses to the outbreak have yielded notable results in averting and probably preventing at least tens of thousands even hundreds of thousands of cases. Data models developed by WHO collaborating centres suggest that effective measures taken in China have delayed the spread of COVID-19 outside China by two to three weeks. It fully demonstrates a high sense of responsibility on the part of China for the safety and health of its own people. At the same time, the country has made a great contribution to safeguarding the health and public health security of all people in the world, providing a profound and practical example of its vision to build a community of shared future for mankind.
No country will feel lonely on this common journey. When China fought bravely against the epidemic, leaders of more than 170 countries and over 40 international and regional organizations expressed in different ways their sympathy and support. Many friendly countries, international and regional organizations and ordinary foreigners have lent us helping hands. We will not forget that Bruce Aylward and the WHO international expert mission went to Wuhan to investigate into the situation and brought to the whole world the heroic stories of the Chinese people. We will not forget that some world leaders braved the epidemic to bring us their strongest support and best wishes. We will not forget that some foreign students in China took the initiative to stay and fight on our side as volunteers on the frontlines, at the railway stations and elsewhere. We will not forget that people of the world have been behind us with full support and best wishes expressed in various forms.
To quote a line from the Book of Songs: You throw a peach to me, I give you a white jade for friendship. This is deep in the cultural gene of the Chinese nation and an inevitable choice in our pursuit of a community of shared future. The grateful Chinese people are doing all they can to repay the generosity of the world in the early spring of 2020. We identify with people in countries and regions with rising confirmed cases. While still in a tough battle, we decided to help. Urgently-needed medical supplies have been provided or planed for many countries and regional organizations, including Pakistan, Laos, Thailand, Iran, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy and the African Union. Teams of medical experts have been sent to Iran, Iraq, Italy and other countries and video conferences have been held to share Chinese experiences in COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control. With strict and effective measures at home, China has bought valuable time, built a defense line and reduced pressure to the greatest extent possible for the rest of the world.
China and Afghanistan have long been partners sharing weal and woe. Such a relationship has been further deepened in the joint fight against the epidemic. The Afghan people have been staunchly supporting us since the very beginning. Important political figures, including President Ghani, former Chief Executive Abdullah, Second Vice President Danish, Foreign Minister Chakhansuri, Public Health Minister Feroz, Defense Minister Khalid and Interior Minister Andarabi, as well as organizations such as the Afghanistan-China Friendship Association and the Silk Road Research Centre have expressed in various ways their sympathy and support to China. Several friends who had studied in China entrusted the Embassy to send the most needed medical supplies to China. Some brought us donations and asked us to transfer the money to the most-needy places in China. The Afghan people have stood firmly with China again at a critical moment. We will never forget this true friendship. The Chinese side has provided meticulous care for all Afghans in China, including those studying in Wuhan. They have led a normal and healthy life during this period. We have also promptly responded to the various requests from Afghanistan as the situation evolves. The day before yesterday, i.e., the Day of Nowruz, experts and officials from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Health Commission, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and General Administration of Customs held a four-hour video conference with experts from Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Health. The Chinese experts presented our experiences without any reservation with the hope that those will inform the Afghan side to better prevent and control the epidemic. As the next step, the Chinese government, embassy and enterprises will try their best to provide medical and protective supplies for Afghanistan and help it to overcome the difficulties as soon as possible. In the face of this pandemic, China and Afghanistan have joined hands in mutual help and played a magnificent ensemble titled a community of shared future for mankind.
The pandemic knows no national borders. All men must stand as a community before it. China is in the front line of the fight against COVID-19, bearing enormous losses and demonstrating a great sense of responsibility in preventing its global spread. However, with arrogance, prejudice and ignorance, some people have fanned the flames in the media and on the Internet to demand an ‘apology’ from China, which is in essence designed to stigmatize and attack China with public health as an excuse. Such despicable and illogical rhetoric does not stand refuting as people of China and the rest of the world fight the pandemic in unison.
There is a saying in both Pashto and Chinese: Unity is strength. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapon in the fight against a pandemic affecting the safety and security of all peoples. In this era of globalization, we are all connected to one another. All countries can enhance their common well-being and safeguard mankind’s common future only by jointly working for a community of shared future for all mankind.