COVID-19 Update: Solidarity and Joint Efforts Shall be the Main Theme For China and Europe in the Fight Against the Outbreak

Coronavirus China-EU COVID-19 Chinese Mission EU

In light of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many European countries have taken almost total containment measures to combat this pandemic, asking citizens to leave their homes only when it is essential. This series shows the situation in the Brussels, Belgium, and its airport. Co-operators: Photographer: Riccardo Pareggiani European Union, 2020 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by a Chinese diplomat from the Department of Europe of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The opinions expressed within reflect the writer’s views and not necessarily The European Sting’s position on the issue.

As the COVID-19 epidemic keeps spreading, Europe has become the epicenter of the global outbreak, representing more than half of the world’s confirmed cases and over two thirds of death toll. Although the situation in China is still grave and many Chinese don’t have enough masks, the Chinese government and people choose not to step aside but to firmly stand together with Europe. So far, great efforts have been made across the Chinese society to lend a hand to European countries and their peoples. Medical supplies such as masks, protective suits and respirators are channeled to Europe, and Chinese teams of medical experts who just returned victorious from the front line in China are heading to Europe immediately. 

China’s goodwill are fully recognized by Europeans from all walks of life. European leaders including President Von der Leyen of the European Commission and Foreign Minister Di Maio of Italy expressed thanks via TV and internet. Leaders of some countries even greeted and received in person Chinese experts and supplies at the airport. China and Europe jointly fighting the outbreak fully reflects the friendship between their peoples. Moreover, it reveals the essence of China-Europe relations, namely cooperation and partnership. 

Nevertheless, when the Chinese people are stepping up international cooperation on the coronavirus despite huge difficulties, some comments in Europe bizzarrely absurd. Some claim China’s international assistance is geo-politically motivated, and some categorized it as politics of generosity, through which China is expanding its global influence. This is nothing but judging a man of integrity by one’s own mean measure. It is recalled that European countries and peoples offered us support and assistance at a critical time of fighting the virus. Now as the same virus puts Europe in peril, it is our culture and belief to return the favor. It has nothing to do with politics. If someone in Europe needs support from China but blames China based on unwarranted assumptions at the same time, it would only undermine the willingness of the Chinese people to step forward and help. 

Some argue that China is launching a “battle of narratives”, advocating the strengths of its system and exporting its social system and governance model. In fact,the speed, determination and efficiency of China’s response are rarely seen, and it shows the advantages of China’s system and governance. The Chinese people have every reason to be proud of it. However, China would not export its development path, system or model. Instead, it only exports experience, assistance and confidence in fighting COVID-19. As the world is still suffering, the first priority is to strengthen cooperation and work together. As French Foreign Minister Le Drian said, there is no battle between Chinese and Western systems in fighting the pandemic, but only difference between multilateralism and unilateralism.

There are some European media outlets preaching that China’s assistance divides Europe, which is sheer absurdity. Europe’s solidarity depends entirely on itself. China will not be made the scapegoat. It goes without saying that there have always been differences and difficulties in the coordination among European countries, as is the case with Brexit. It is widely reported that the response policies in Europe are not well-coordinated, as is shown in all the border closures, purchase restrictions and even medical supplies detainment. None of these has anything to do with China. On the contrary, China’s position is selfless and aboveboard. Our assistance to Europe is to help fight the outbreak and support European solidarity and integration. Masks from China will not weaken European solidarity, unless the solidarity itself is too fragile.

Facts speak louder than words and people can tell right from wrong. Solidarity and joint efforts shall be the main theme in our fight against the outbreak, and public opinion will do justice to our mutual assistance and dispel misgivings. Why did the medical experts from Sichuan Province  travel to Italy from thousands of miles away with no hesitation? It’s only because they could not forget the Italian rescue team who saved lives tirelessly after the Wenchuan earthquake in China. Why did two young men from Hunan Province volunteer to deliver hot meals to local medical staff after the lockdown in France? It’s only because they wish to make an effort however humble it is. The painting by Aurora, a Naples girl, depicting Italy propped up by one Italian and one Chinese doctor, touched the heart of numerous Chinese and Italian people on the internet. These countless ordinary stories of people are like the sunshine in Spring, dispelling the gloom and bringing us warmth and hope.

The coronavirus is our common enemy. Only by pulling together can we overcome the difficulties. At the recent extraordinaryG20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19, a positive message was sent to the world that we will meet the challenge of the outbreak and maintain the stability of the world economy together. China and Europe are two major forces in the world, shouldering the responsibility of international cooperation against the outbreak. The current situation of containing COVID-19 is still grave, and China and Europe are still facing multiple challenges. But the more difficult it gets, the harder we have to bite the bullet. China will continue to work with the international community including Europe to write the story of a community with a shared future for mankind and look forward to the moment of celebration for our victory over the outbreak.

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