On the afternoon of April 23rd, an online talk on China-Africa joint efforts to combat COVID-19 was held, with participants from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou of China as well as Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Burkina Faso. This online talk calls for better understanding and friendship between China and Africa and solidarity to fight the virus.
Liu Biwei, Vice President of China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) presided over the meeting.
Both Chinese and African representatives attend the online talk in Guangzhou. (Photo: Will)
China enters a new phase in the battle against COVID-19
In face of pandemic, China has been working closely with WHO, international and regional organizations and many nations, providing face masks, protective garment and other supplies, and sharing experience. “China offered help and support even though it is still struggling with the epidemic. China and Africa should work more closely together than before,” said Ambassador Kuang Weilin, former Head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union.
Doucoure Abdoulaye, Chairman of Mali Community in China, ran a business in Guangzhou. “Mali community in China has been working closely with Mali and Chinese governments and had meetings with local authorities for controlling the outbreak since the beginning of 2020. We also informed our community to be careful and to follow the prevention measures about this disease,” he added.
Li Tiegang, epidemiologist and member of the Guangzhou COVID-19 Prevention and Control Group, shared Guangzhou’s experience in fighting against COVID-19, highlighting five responses, that is, government’s policies and actions, community participation and cooperation, implementation of proper measures, concentrating on rescuing patents and publishing outbreak information in an open manner.
Guangzhou is some African people’s ‘second home’
Luo Jun, Deputy Director-General of the Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office, stressed, “Some African people set up their own companies, and had their families in Guangzhou. Some married Chinese girls; they had children in Guangdong. In general, African people in this place have found their place in the city. Many of them regarded Guangdong as their ‘second home’.”
Virginio Bibang Ndon, Equatorial Guinea’s student at Southern Medical University, said, moving to Guangzhou made him feel like at home. Some have lived in here for more than 10 years as they liked this place.
Two African representatives attend the online talk in Guangzhou. (Photo: Will)
Some videos were purposely edited, not full picture or true picture
Recently some video clips were widely spread on social media. “I will have to say that, these short video clips are not giving you the full picture, or even the true picture of the life or situation (of African people) in Guangdong,” Luo said, “which is not doing good for the China-Africa relationship.” When compared with the complete video, people could realize that those videos circulated in the social media were purposely edited.
Governments at all levels have zero tolerance for discrimination
“Guangdong has implemented undifferentiated health management measures, strongly oppose discrimination of any kind, and treated Chinese and foreign people in Guangdong equally. There wasn’t differentiated actions taken against specific groups. Without any discrimination and exclusion, Guangzhou’s measures were taken for detecting infection cases as soon as possible and putting the epidemic under control. Some misunderstandings and misconducts were just individual cases.” Luo added.
According to Luo, the province has taken actions against discrimination. A special task force was established. The members met representatives from all African consulates in Guangzhou at the ‘Case Clearance Meetings', addressing problems and requests raised by the consulates. On April 18th, Guangzhou issued a multilingual letter to all Chinese and foreign nationals entitled ‘One World, One Fight: In Solidarity We Stand for the Building of a Community of Common Health for Mankind’, clearly expressing the government’s stance and principles in battling COVID-19.
Luo Jun (R) and Li Tiegang attend the online talk in Guangzhou. (Photo: Will)
Government encouraged landlords to postpone rent collection
There were Internet rumors that some African people were ‘turn away from their houses’. According to Luo, the investigation showed that the reason for some African people to be required to move out of their departments or hotels was that they needed to be placed under medical observation in a certain designated place where they could receive health services. For those who were short of money to pay for hotel, Guangzhou government has reduced the expanses; for those in extremely financial difficulty, the government paid in full.
In some other cases, African people could not continue or renew their leases because the leases had expired between January and March. “The government encourages the landlords to keep their tenants, postpone rent collection and not to raise the rent. Local government also instructed real estate agents to offer house hunting services for foreign people for free or at a price lower than market price,” Luo said.
Expats’ understanding and cooperation are essential in preventing the further spread of COVID-19
The actions to bring COVID-19 under control have worked, the life and work are gradually returning to normal. Meanwhile, the country is still under pressure with a higher risk of imported cases. Guangdong, especially Guangzhou, has to require all inbound travellers to receive quarantine and nucleic acid testing. Preventing a resurgence of COVID-19 is what a responsible government should do for both Chinese citizens and expats.
Luo also encouraged both Chinese and foreign residents in Guangdong to observe the local regulations. In the time of combating epidemic, people are strongly suggested to wear masks, to reduce social gatherings, and to keep social distance. Anyone who has tested positive or has been confirmed with COVID-19 should cooperate with authorities and medics in close contacts tracing, so that the measures could be targeted on the right people.
Source: GDFAO & Newsgd.com