Together We Can Defeat COVID-19, Together We Build Our Shared Future
Ambassador Qian Bo
5 June 2021
The past year and more have seen repeated resurgence and frequent mutations of the coronavirus. To clinch an early victory against COVID-19 and restore economic growth remains the top priority for the international community. The Chinese Embassy and myself are very concerned about Fiji suffering from the spread of a more contagious variant. We fully understand the challenges facing Fiji and are ready to provide support and assistance to help Fiji fight the COVID-19.
I have witnessed numerous touching moments in this challenging time. Medical workers’ contribution has been and still is beyond words, as they tirelessly work to ensure health for all, leaving no one behind. The contact tracing teams, health inspectors, police officers, military forces, teachers and other support staff from across government have been racing against the spread day and night through massive testing and containing. It impressed me so much when the Fiji Centre for Disease Control was temporarily closed, the vast majority of staff voluntarily remained in the blocked workplace and continued running tests to identify the positive cases as early as possible, even if they are given choices.
Not only the people in suits and uniforms are setting up a safety shield for the rest of us, workers across a vast array of industries are also essential parts of the system that keeps society functioning smoothly, they are standing fast at their posts despite great risk-whether farmers, bus drivers, delivery workers or sanitation workers. Local residents actively supported and cooperated with the authorities, staying at home during the strict lockdown period to fight this invisible enemy together. I have also read stories that many warm-hearted neighbors lent a hand to the disadvantaged in difficult times.
These scenes remind me of the grand social mobilization to fight the virus in China last year. The COVID-19 pandemic, warned by the United Nations as the greatest test since World War II, hit the world hard by surprise. China was the first battleground. Facing the unknown virus, China did it utmost to identify the virus in a record-short time, shared the genetic sequence and sent alerts in a rapid manner with the world.
In terms of national priorities, China always puts people’s lives before GDP and economy. The Chinese government worked against clock to put unlimited medical, technological, financial and human resources into the affected areas. Hundreds of medical teams from every province of China and the military, gathered and worked on the front line. Thousands of constructors built up two specialized hospitals designated to treat severe patients merely in 10 days, from nothing and nowhere. Hundreds of millions of people pressed a “pause” button and stayed at home to contain the spread of the rampaging virus. Some doctors, community workers, volunteers, policemen, officials and others even sacrificed their lives in the war.
Besides successfully containing the COVID-19 virus on its own soil, China is also actively providing assistance to the international community. We have provided more than 350 million doses of vaccines to the international community, including vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccine exports to 40 plus countries. We have pledged 5 billion USD in assistance for the COVID-19 response and economic recovery in developing countries. We have provided medical supplies to more than 150 countries and 13 international organizations, with more than 280 billion masks, 3.4 billion protective suits and 4 billion testing kits. We will continuously provide vaccines and PPEs to help Fiji tackle the pandemic.
These actions are epitomes of China’s response efforts, and more importantly, an embodiment of the unique character and strength of the Chinese nation. The people of China have illustrated the great spirit of putting life above everything else, braving danger, respecting science, and safeguarding a shared future. The year 2021 marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the past century, the Chinese people have made remarkable miracles of rapid economic development and long-term social stability. With the leadership of the CPC, China has become an indispensable force in resolving global and regional issues, from trade, investment and social inequality to climate change, terrorism and peace-keeping. As a country contributing more than 30 percent to world economic growth for years, China has been dedicating to sharing its experiences and resources with the world for mutual development through the Belt and Road Initiative.
As the Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, one of my main responsibilities is telling real stories of China to Fiji and promoting people-to-people exchanges. “One eyewitness is better than ten hearsays.” I encourage more Fiji friends to go and visit China with their own eyes after the pandemic. Or just through some of unbiased media or people-to-people contact, you could find a whole wider nation through the beautiful and diverse scenery, friendly and creative people, cutting-edge technologies, and harmonious and inclusive society.
More than one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is arriving at a critical juncture. How we choose to act now will have a long-lasting impact on generations to come. The race against COVID-19 is a cruel game with only one round. There will be no chance to play it again. A very important inspiration is that the only mature approach to fixing this problem is to focus on the problem itself. We are all waves of the same sea. The world is indeed a community with a shared future where all rise and fall together. Coping with the current crisis and making the world a better place for everyone, we must stay in solidarity and work together as one.