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Supporting Africa in Fighting Ebola: China's assistance is real

2014-11-22 21:35

On August 11th when a special Chinese airplane fully loaded with anti-Ebola materials slowly touched down at the airport of Conakry, the capital city of Guinea, people of the country were thrilled and the news spread fast among them. President Mala (transliteration) of China-Guinea Friendship Hospital said, “China sent a special airplane, flying thousands of miles to bring us the most needed supplies. It is so touching.”

This is just one episode of China using chartered airplanes to bring much needed supplies against Ebola to African countries. In fact since March, 2014, China has been doing the same to not only Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea where Ebola is rampant, but also to their 10 neighbouring countries of Ghana, Mali, Togo, Benin, DRC, the Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau.

Ebola casts a dark shadow over West Africa, and the three West African countries are facing a fatal threat. At such a critical juncture, the Chinese people, who have an agonizing memory of SARS, feel the pain of the African people, immediately reach out their hands, and do their utmost to provide pragmatic help to their African brothers.

First, multiple rounds of pragmatic assistance have been sent to the ebola-stricken areas. Last April, when Ebola just emerged, China immediately came up with material supplies worth 4 million RMB to help four West African countries. In Early August, when the epidemic worsened but not yet attracted sufficient attention from the international community, China immediately sent the most needed supplies to the three worst-hit countries by rented chartered airplanes at the fastest possible speed, making it the first country to offer anti-Ebola material to the three countries, and also serving as the first time in history for China to use chartered airplanes to assist Africa. After that, China donated an advanced mobile laboratory for testing Ebola to Sierra Leone and built a fixed laboratory and observation center there, set up a 100-bed treatment center in Liberia and sent elite troops who participated in fighting against the SARS epidemic, all of which being something new in the history of China-Africa relations.

Up till now, China’s total assistance on fighting Ebola has reached 750 million RMB, covering 13 African countries as well as international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the African Union. Every penny of the assistance has been used on African friends, standing in sharp contrast against the Western countries which “talk more and do less”.

Second, China has been standing shoulder to shoulder with Africa in the fight against Ebola. Unlike some developed countries which upon the outbreak of the disease, withdrew diplomats, volunteers and businesses, and even publicly declared that 'they can contribute money but not people', China , however, chooses to stay with the local people at the very forefront of the fight. Dozens of Chinese businesses and thousands of Chinese citizens in West Africa stay on their jobs. The ambassadors and diplomats of the Chinese embassies in the three west African nations have not left their posts for a while. Over 400 Chinese peace-keeping troops to Liberia continue their mission there. The Chinese medical teams to the three countries have as usual been providing medical services to the local people. On top of that, China has sent more experts on epidemics and medical staff in formed units to those countries. At present, over 200 Chinese experts and medical staff are fighting ebola at the frontline to fight Ebola. Another 200 are arriving on November 14th. In the following months another roughly 1000 Chinese experts and medical staff are expected to join the fight in West Africa .

Third, China pursues active cooperation with the international community. China holds a positive and open attitude towards international cooperation in fighting Ebola. The Chinese medical staff on the ground maintain good communication with their international counterparts to share experience and support each other. The Permanent Mission of China to the UN stays in close contact with the UN, and the Chinese embassies in the epidemic-affected countries keep sound communication and coordination with the UN agencies and embassies of the US, UK and France there. Good results have been achieved in the China-US trilateral cooperation in Liberia. When the three large Chinese chartered airplanes arrived in Liberia on October 26th and 29th, the American air troops at the airport offered support by sending a number of forklifts to help download the supplies. President Obama mentioned this case on a number of public occasions, and spoke highly of China’s leading role in helping Africa to fight Ebola.

Since August, China has offered sustained assistance in the form of food, ambulances, mobile laboratories and the medical experts and staff which China has sent one batch after another, all being the very things people in the epidemic-affected countries are in dire need of. Statistics show that two thirds of the anti-Ebola supplies Guinea has received comes from China. Almost all the medical supplies from the 10 African countries neighbouring the worst-stricken area come from China. The good-willed gesture of China deeply touches the African people and exhibits the long-held principle of china in carrying out cooperation with Africa, which is to honor its commitment, take real actions, and deliver tangible results in a pragmatic and efficient manner.

It is easier for friends to share happy moments than to go through difficulties together. In face of unexpected disasters, China demonstrates with its real actions its sincerity to remain a reliable friend and sincere partner to Africa forever. For that, Professor Modi (transliteration) of Bamako University of Mali said, “China’s promise of help has never been an empty one. It is always fulfilled. China’s assistance has given us confidence in defeating the disease.”

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