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Wu Xi

is the Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand. She was widely quoted back in February with what many took as a warning to New Zealand about its relationship with China when she quoted a Chinese proverb which said: “when in prosperity, friends know us, and in adversity, we know our friends.” Now, she says, China is sending medical supplies to New Zealand. She has contributed the following article.

 In April 8, the Chinese city of Wuhan emerged from a lockdown which lasted for 76 days.  The situation in China is now moving steadily in a positive direction, with life and work quickly returning to normal. Yet, there is no way we can let down our guard. Newly imported confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China are rising quickly. The pandemic is still spreading throughout the world.  It is a global crisis for humanity.

During its fight against Covid-19, China received a great deal of encouragement and support from the international community.  Leaders of over 170 countries and heads of more than 50 international and regional organizations sent messages of support.  79 countries and 10 international organizations provided medical supplies. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the people of New Zealand sent their sympathy, condolences and support to China, which was sincerely appreciated.

Throughout the crisis, China has been committed to international cooperation. China has provided timely updates on the pandemic in the spirit of openness, transparency and responsibility. Since January 1st, China has  briefed the WHO and other countries about the pandemic on a regular basis.  Chinese scientists identified the pathogen of the virus in record time and shared the full genetic sequence with the WHO on January 11th.  This was followed by sharing diagnostic and treatment information, as well as updates on effective prevention and control measures, to help other countries draw experiences from China’s efforts. We established an online Knowledge Center for China’s Experiences in response to Covid-19, sharing updated protocols on pandemic prevention and control and clinical treatment.

China has also participated actively in the global response to Covid-19, fulfilling its responsibility to the world because the pandemic poses a common challenge to all of us. In the past two months, President Xi Jinping has engaged constructively with more than 20 heads of state, governments and international organizations.

By early April, the Chinese government began providing supplies to 127 countries and 4 international organisations, including surgical masks, protective gear and testing reagents. China donated $20 million to the WHO, sent 13 medical teams to 11 countries and held over 70 video conferences with experts from more than 150 countries and international organisations. The Chinese government has published a list of manufacturers certified by regulatory authorities and facilitated customs clearance of supplies in compliance with regulations. More recently, the Chinese government has been in close cooperation with the New Zealand government to facilitate commercial cargo flights to transport loads of medical supplies to New Zealand.

Chinese communities in New Zealand are also making a real contribution to fighting the pandemic here. They have been sourcing much-needed medical supplies such as test kits to be sent to New Zealand.  Chinese friendship societies at both national and municipal levels are actively engaged with their counterparts in New Zealand to provide support. Chinese businesses operating in New Zealand are also doing their part in various ways. Palmerston North’s Chinese sister city Guiyang has sent 10,000 medical masks to help fight the battle against Covid-19.

As an old Chinese saying goes, when gifted with a peach, we give back with precious jade for friendship.  China is doing so with the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind as proposed by President Xi Jinping. China will continue working with other countries to safeguard international public health security. We will do so with the belief that no country can stay immune to the virus as an isolated island. We are all part of a global village. No country is safe until every country is safe.  Now, more than ever it is time for the international community to come together in solidarity and cooperation.

Throughout human history, we have had to fight against diseases. Covid-19 is yet another sober reminder that in the era of globalisation, the future of all countries are closely connected and building a community with a shared future for humanity is the right way to go. In the face of major infectious diseases and other global challenges, no country can go it alone. We must work together to promote global public health governance. China will put into practice the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and respond to global public health challenges with the international community collectively.

Meanwhile, China firmly opposes the politicisation and stigmatisation of diseases. China supports the central role of the UN and WHO in responding to health emergencies and in improving the global public health governance system.  Public health issues should be given higher priority on the international agenda, major international health projects should be implemented and a Silk Road of Health can be created in the interests of all nations. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that we are in the same boat. It is imperative for the international community to remain confident and united to take a strong and collective response. Solidarity involves commitment and work, as well as the recognition that even if we may not share the same feelings, or live the same lives, we stand on common ground.  China is committed to working closely with New Zealand to fight and win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic. As the Maori proverb goes, “He waka eke noa”, we are all in this together.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The quote by Wu Xi which implies that when times are tough you know who your friends are should not be taken as a threat.

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