/ 29 May 2020

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers an important speech at the opening ceremony of the 73rd World Health Assembly session on May 18 2020
The president’s speech at the Communist Party of China’s congress was vague on the issue of Taiwan as the party paves the way for his third term.


The record of our existence as humanity is being altered and unparalleled changes are being made to our livelihoods. An unprecedented global public health crisis and humanitarian disaster caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is sweeping the entire world, dealing a massive blow to the economy, finance, security and politics of all countries, and bringing far-reaching impact to the global political and economic landscape.

It should be remembered that seven years ago, faced with the backlash against economic globalisation, rising geopolitical instability and non-traditional security challenges, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed and expounded on the great vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind. He advocated for the pursuit of win-win co-operation for common development and building an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world with lasting peace, common prosperity and universal security by planning together, building together and sharing together.

That great vision has provided an answer to the fundamental question we currently face, which is: where to for mankind, and in which direction should the world go?

If anything, the ongoing arduous fight against Covid-19 has made it crystal clear to all that we live in the same global village and all countries have a stake in each other’s success. This virus respects no borders, races or social systems, and no country can isolate itself from the rest of the world and defeat the virus alone. To cope with major communicable diseases and other non-traditional security challenges, we need to pool the wisdom and strength of all mankind. It is a more pressing task than ever before. 

China, the first country to suffer from the Covid-19 pandemic, has acted with an open, transparent and responsible attitude, and repeatedly and dutifully informed the international community of the coronavirus. It shared the valuable genetic sequence of the virus and its prevention, control and treatment experience, and provided support and assistance to all countries in need at the earliest possible time. It speaks volumes about the strong sense of responsibility on the part of China as a key player on the international front.

During the most difficult time of China’s fight against the Covid-19, leaders of more than 170 countries and heads of over 50 international and regional organisations expressed their sympathy, solidarity and support for China. As many as 79 countries and 10 international organisations extended a helping hand to China’s anti-pandemic efforts. That clearly demonstrates that nations and organisations across the world have never been so closely connected in terms of destiny and common interests.

Unfortunately, some countries still cling to the cold war mentality of the zero-sum game. They have unambiguously gone all out to politicise and stigmatise the pandemic, and shift the blame to China and the World Health Organisation (WHO). They have categorically even threatened to cut the WHO’s lifeblood by stopping the funding to the WHO, thus undermining global efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

A batch of Chinese medical supplies arrives at OR Tambo International Airport, to support South Africa’s fight against Covid-19
A batch of Chinese medical supplies arrives at OR Tambo International Airport, to support South Africa’s fight against Covid-19

Confronted with the raging pandemic, all African countries have been thrust into an unprecedented emergency situation. Most have weak public health systems and inadequate medical resources to cope with this pandemic. China and Africa have always been communities with a shared future. Just as President Xi pointed out in his recent phone call with President Cyril Ramaphosa, China and Africa now need — more than ever before — to unite and fight as one against the pandemic and to turn the tide against current difficulties. Without any shadow of doubt, China will continue to firmly support Africa’s ongoing anti-pandemic efforts, strengthening anti-pandemic co-operation with African countries, and building an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

China joins hands with African countries to fight Covid-19 

During the most difficult time of China’s fight against the Covid-19, many African countries generously lent a helping hand to their Chinese counterparts. Over 50 African leaders including President Cyril Ramaphosa unequivocally expressed sympathy and undivided support to China during that difficult epoch. Notably, numerous South African enterprises and companies including the Standard Bank South Africa, the Sun International Group and the U-Mask kindly donated considerable cash and equipment to China. The strong bond of tested friendship and brotherhood of the African people with the Chinese will always be remembered. After bringing the pandemic under control but still facing great pressure at home, China has delivered a considerable amount of critical medical supplies to more than 50 African countries and the African Union (AU), sent out at least seven teams of medical experts, held nearly 30 video conferences among experts of the two sides, and provided nearly 400 training sessions for African nations. The Chinese provinces, cities, enterprises as well as the Chinese people have made generous donations to Africa. Notably, Huawei and other Chinese enterprises and communities in South Africa and across Africa have donated in cash and in kind, bringing hope, strength, solidarity and confidence to the people of South Africa and other African countries.

China will assuredly continue to provide Africa with more anti-pandemic supplies, as well as technical and human resources support until the Covid-19 pandemic is completely defeated. At the 73rd World Health Assembly, President Xi pledged that China will provide $2-billion over two years to help with the Covid-19 response and economic and social development in affected countries, especially in developing countries. China is moving to set up a co-operation mechanism for its hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals and to accelerate the building of the Africa Centre for Disease Control headquarters in a bid to help the continent ramp up its disease preparedness and control capacity. 

China will continue to build international consensus 

No country shall be left behind in the global fight against the Covid-19. As long as there is one country still suffering from the virus, there will be no absolute security for any other country. While strengthening bilateral anti-pandemic assistance and support to Africa, China will continue to encourage greater international support for Africa through such multilateral mechanisms as the United Nations, the WHO, the G20 and BRICS.

China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-pandemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” to fast-track transportation and customs clearance. China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries. 

China is also ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries, mostly in Africa, under the greatest strain of debt service so they can tide over their current difficulties. China is ready to join hands with all countries outside the African continent that are capable and willing to help Africa to strengthen its public health capacity building and support its fight against the pandemic.

China will continue to support the WHO in promoting global public health governance

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, the WHO has actively performed its duties and taken an objective and impartial stance to fight the pandemic. It has played an important co-ordinating and leading role in assisting countries, especially the African countries, to respond to the pandemic and promoting international co-operation. China firmly supports the WHO in playing the leading role in international anti-pandemic co-operation, and has successively contributed sums of $20-million and $30-million to the WHO to support the prevention and control measures and health system building in developing countries.

At this crucial juncture of the international fight against the Covid-19, to support the WHO is to support international anti-pandemic co-operation and the battle for saving lives as well. The international community should increase political and financial support for WHO so as to mobilise greater resources worldwide in a bid to defeat the deadly coronavirus. China will continue to support the WHO and other organisations in playing a central role in the global public health governance, promote international unity and solidarity to prevail over the pandemic, and build a global community of health for all. 

China will continue to pursue openness, inclusiveness and win-win co-operation to lead the post-Covid-19 global economic recovery

The Covid-19 pandemic has undermined the stability of global industrial and supply chains, and stoked protectionism, populism and racism. The African countries and other developing countries are facing a more severe external environment. Globalisation is an irresistible historical trend, and the fear of coronavirus should never be an excuse to reject it. We shall advance a more dynamic, inclusive, sustainable and secure globalisation process by following the principle of planning together, building together and sharing together.

China aims to better co-ordinate its pandemic prevention and control efforts, and its economic and social development. China will continue to open wider to the outside world and play a constructive role in stabilising the world economy and achieving balanced and inclusive growth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. China has made a concrete commitment to maintain the stability of the global supply chains, especially the food supply chain, so as to help Africa improve its food security. 

The Chinese government is committed to creating harmony between man and nature by strengthening law enforcement co-operation with African countries on wildlife protection so as to preserve the Earth, our beloved homeland. Throughout the history of humanity, major crises have always gone hand-in-hand with great opportunities. There is an old Chinese saying, “Good fortune follows upon disaster”. Likewise, the threat of the Covid-19 has also provided important opportunities for countries to join hands to fight the pandemic and strengthen solidarity and co-operation to address common challenges. 

As President Xi said: “Solidarity and co-operation are the most powerful and effective weapons for the international community to defeat the pandemic.” In the face of the common enemy which is Covid-19, it is the right time for China, South Africa and Africa to support each other and join hands to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

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