Staff members unload vaccines donated by China at a Philippine Air Force base in Manila, the Philippines on Feb 28, 2021. （Photo/Xinhua）
COVID: No conditions attached when China helps others
For Li Jun, vice president of the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, fighting COVID-19 was a war on two fronts.
In April 2020, after battling an epidemic in his home province, Li led a team of medical experts to Malaysia to share Chinese health workers' firsthand experience in tackling the novel coronavirus.
Scientists and health workers sharing their data and knowledge is one of China's key methods of contributing to the global efforts against COVID-19. China has dispatched 37 expert teams to 34 countries over the past three years, according to the National Health Commission.
"There is a Malaysian proverb that goes, 'Bukit sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni', which translates into, 'Climb the hill together, traverse the ravine together'," Li said.
"China and Malaysia share a traditional friendship. We felt a strong duty to share our knowledge and help our Malaysian peers control COVID-19 in their home country."
Li's team presented their insights into treatment and diagnosis plans, hygiene and healthcare for discharged patients and psychological counseling for those infected and their families. "We wanted to help the Malaysian people combat COVID-19 and help them return to normalcy as soon as possible," Li said.
Chinese experts were similarly offering assistance in Iran, Italy, Pakistan, Russia, the Philippines and Peru, as well as countries in Africa, a feat that embodied the vision of building a global community of health for all, according to the Foreign Ministry.
Wang Xiaotao, former director of China International Development Cooperation Agency, said that many countries had donated valuable supplies to China when it was hit hard, and it was heartwarming for China to return the favor.
"Even when facing a serious COVID-19 situation at home, China promptly launched an emergency humanitarian aid effort, the largest of its kind since the nation's founding," Wang wrote in an article in Foreign Affairs Journal, which is published by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.
"The COVID-19 pandemic recognizes no borders and ethnicities. It is a common enemy of humanity and can only be overcome with solidarity and collaboration," Wang wrote. "China will never stand aloof from a friend in need, nor will it attach conditions for selfish gains when extending a helping hand."
Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, said in a news briefing in mid-January that China has promptly shared vital information with the world, and that served as the scientific basis for developing vaccines and diagnosis tools.
These vital pieces of information included confirming the pathogen was a novel coronavirus, sharing the genome sequence of the virus and publishing China's treatment and prevention plans, he said.
China has provided massive quantities of medical supplies for 153 countries and 15 international organizations, Mi said. It also held over 300 exchanges on COVID-19 control measures and medical treatment with over 180 countries and regions and over 10 international organizations.
Mi said that China was the first country to propose the COVID-19 vaccine as a global public good and the first to cooperate in vaccine production with developing countries. He added that China had provided over 2.2 billion vaccines for over 120 countries and international organizations.
"We are willing to continue to work with the international community to jointly tackle the pandemic and better safeguard the health and well-being of people in various countries," Mi said.
At the same news briefing, Wu Xi, director-general of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, said that China has maintained an open, transparent and responsible attitude when sharing its data with the international community, including holding over 60 technical exchanges with the World Health Organization, five of which were recently held.
On Jan 14, Ma Xiaowei, head of the National Health Commission, spoke with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the COVID-19 situation in China.
The WHO said in a statement that Chinese officials provided it information on the COVID-19 situation in the country and also made the information public through a news conference. The information shared covered a range of topics, including outpatient clinics, hospitalization, patients requiring emergency treatment and critical care, and deaths related to COVID-19 infection in hospitals.
"The WHO will continue to work with China, providing technical advice and support and engaging in analyzing the situation," the statement added.
Qian Yuming, an assistant researcher at the Department for International and Strategic Studies of the China Institute of International Studies, said that China has made an "irreplaceable and irrefutable" contribution to the global fight against COVID-19 by providing necessary aid and by building confidence and hope.
Last year, the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — launched a new vaccine research and development center to enhance collaboration in the areas to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mikhail Murashko, Russia's health minister, said in a video address to the launch event that the center showcases the BRICS' commitment to assisting the global population and making vaccines more accessible and affordable for developing countries.
Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, acting director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said that China's collaborations with countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Morocco offered alternative sources of COVID-19 vaccines to people on the African continent, especially at the height of the pandemic in the middle of 2021.
The partnership has enabled the continent to produce the vaccines locally, thus reducing the need for importing and transporting vaccines from outside the continent, he told Xinhua News Agency.
Sergio Held, a journalist based in Colombia, said that Chinese vaccines brought life in Latin America back to normal, as the Rio de Janeiro Carnival in Brazil made a comeback in April 2022 after being canceled the year before due to the pandemic.
Mehmood ul Hassan Khan, executive director of the Center for South Asia &International Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, said that China's optimization of its COVID-19 control measures will unleash the vitality of its economy and bolster the international community's confidence in its development potential.
"China has proactively facilitated the optimization of the global public health governance," he wrote in an article published in People's Daily.