Mon | Oct 26, 2020

H.E. TIAN Qi | New partnership brings new opportunities

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2020 | 12:13 AMH.E. Tian Qi/Guest Columnist
From left:  Xia Shaowu, chief of political section, Chinese Embassy in Jamaica; Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica H.E. Tian Qi; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Dr Hu Zhimin, general manager of CHEC Americas; and Daryl Vaz, at the opening ceremony of the South C
From left: Xia Shaowu, chief of political section, Chinese Embassy in Jamaica; Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica H.E. Tian Qi; Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Dr Hu Zhimin, general manager of CHEC Americas; and Daryl Vaz, at the opening ceremony of the South Coast Highway Improvement Project in November 2019.

As we celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China today, I would like to commend the Jamaican Government and people for their timely and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I salute those heroes working on the front line, especially the medical workers, who are angels in this new era. My condolence and sincere sympathy go to our Jamaican friends who lost their loved ones in the past few months because of COVID-19.

LEADERSHIP AND PEOPLE’S WAR

In the past nine months, under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, by giving full play to the advantage of China’s socialist system which is concentrating strength to accomplish big tasks, the 1.4 billion Chinese people have acted with a strong sense of responsibility, discipline, dedication and mutual support in fighting COVID-19. We mobilised the best doctors, the most advanced equipment and the most needed resources to the all-out fight against the virus, with all treatment expenses covered by the government. The Chinese mainland has not seen any newly confirmed local case for two months in a row.

In fighting the virus, more than 90 million CPC members and 4.6 million grassroots party organisations worked tirelessly round the clock on the front line. Over 42,000 medical workers rushed to Hubei province from other provinces, cities and the military. Across China, over four million community workers were mobilised to regularly disinfect public spaces, check body temperatures, and register visitors. 1.4 billion people acted orderly, taking the party and government’s advice seriously. Hundreds of millions of people abandoned their holiday plans. They stayed at home for weeks in a row.

RECOVER STRONGER

China has taken the lead in the world in both epidemic control and economic recovery. China’s economy grew 3.2 per cent in Q2, reversing the 6.8 per cent contraction in Q1. Besides positive signs like warming production and demand, China has also seen the advent and growth of start-ups in emerging sectors like online education, teleworking and smart manufacturing. Economists at the World Bank and elsewhere have also upgraded their forecasts for China.

Like most parts of China, life has gradually returned to normal in Wuhan since reopening in early April. I share the joy of a Jamaican student who went to study medicine at Wuhan University, one of the top Chinese universities, on a Chinese Government Scholarship last year. She was among those millions of students resuming school in Wuhan in September.

TOGETHER STRONGER

When China was bearing the full brunt of COVID-19’s wrath, leaders of over 170 countries, including Jamaica, and 50 international and regional organisations expressed their support. A total of 77 countries and 12 international organisations provided assistance.

China has donated funds totalling $50 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries and offered assistance to 150 countries and four international organisations. Beginning in March, Chinese medical experts held almost daily videoconferences with their foreign peers, including those from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. China’s pioneering use of makeshift hospitals has also been adopted around the world, including in New York’s iconic Central Park. From March 15 to September 6, China exported 151.5 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, 230 million pairs of goggles, 209,000 ventilators, 470 million testing kits and 80.14 million infrared thermometers.

China has repeatedly pledged that when a COVID-19 vaccine is successfully developed and put to use in China, it will be shared with the world as a global public good to ensure vaccine accessibility, especially in developing countries, as we believe no one is safe until everyone is safe. By far, four Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidates have started international phase-3 clinical trials.

President Xi Jinping recently announced at a meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN and the General Debate of the 75th Session of The UN General Assembly that China will provide another US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, and set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, among others.

NEW NORMAL, NEW PARTNERSHIP

The Chinese government has provided multiple batches of urgently needed anti-epidemic supplies, including masks, ventilators, protective suits and test kits to Jamaica and other countries with diplomatic relations in the Caribbean, at no cost. Chinese local governments, businesses and civil society have leveraged their strengths to offer support and assistance to Jamaica in a timely manner.

The local Chinese communities in Jamaica, including my embassy, have been standing firmly with the Jamaican Government and people in bringing the pandemic under effective control and resuming the economy. In this time of difficulty, although some projects were forced to be suspended, not a single Chinese company left Jamaica. Many Chinese companies are even joining hands with their local partners in speeding up projects with strict protective measures.

The embassy this year will expand the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship to benefit more Jamaican students. We are more than happy to see that, starting from August this year, more and more Jamaican teachers will be going to teach English in China.

We are fully confident about Jamaica’s eventual victory over COVID-19 and will continue our firm support by providing supplies and technical assistance to the best of our ability. We will provide Jamaica with a wider market and more development opportunities. We are willing to import more high-quality and high value-added products from Jamaica that meet the needs of Chinese market, and actively create new cooperation growth in areas such as health, tourism, e-commerce, service trade, agriculture, logistics, telecommunication, so as to advance development in both countries and lend impetus to the regional and global economies in the post-pandemic era.

The fight against COVID-19 once again proves that both China and Jamaica are great nations, our people are great people. The China-Jamaica friendship and cooperation will emerge strengthened from this tragic crisis. As we celebrate Chinese National Day together in Jamaica, my fervent wish is for the early realisation of the Chinese Dream, the prosperity of Jamaica, and good health for every one of us.

H.E. TIAN Qi is the Ambassador of China to Jamaica