ㄑ In Depth

China committed to combating health threat facing mankind

International Cooperation
China has extended a helping hand to many countries in need in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, putting into practice how a world community works towards a shared future, especially in achieving common health for mankind.

XinhuaUpdated: March 24, 2020

Members of an Italian medical team set up tents at Xiaode township in quake-hit Mianzhu city, southwest China's Sichuan province, on May 23, 2008. [Photo/Xinhua]

Leaves of same tree

The story began in May 2008, when Sichuan suffered a catastrophic 8-magnitude earthquake, in which more than 80,000 people were killed.

Within days, a medical team of about 20 members from Italy was on the ground in Mianzhu, Sichuan. They established a tent-like field hospital with complete sets of medical equipment, capable of conducting sophisticated surgeries and telemedicine.

Emotional connection with "kind and generous" local people left on team members an indelible impression. "They (locals) were moved that we would leave our families behind to go to their city to help them," said Maria Carola Martino, an emergency room surgeon.

To cheer children up from the trauma, the medical team held a jamboree, with some singing songs and one member riding on a broomstick to imitate Harry Potter in a hilarious way.

Zuo Xuemei, a local Chinese doctor, recalled a surgery in which she assisted the Italians. "It was very hot in June and everyone was sweating ... We spoke different languages, but communicated through eye contact as everyone was familiar with the surgery procedure."

The Italian doctors treated nearly 1,000 people before heading home, and left the field hospital to local doctors. Residents gathered to see them off and some children cried and followed their cars as they drove away.

Now China is offering a helping hand to Italy in the heart-wrenching pandemic.

"I am happy to know that they still carry us in the heart as we carry them in our heart," Martino said. "We are all waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree and flowers from the same garden."

Luigi D'Angelo, director of the Emergency Office of Italy's Civil Protection Department, was in Sichuan to coordinate the support of European experts.

Being engaged in the emergency management due to the coronavirus in Italy and once again working with Chinese doctors, D'Angelo said the concept of "world community" is what they are looking at.

The bond between Beijing and Rome tells how a world community stands together through thick and thin, and the notion resonated with faculty staff and students in a Moscow academy when it was first unveiled by China on an international occasion seven years ago.

Chinese medical experts discuss with members of academic committee and epidemiologists from Veneto via internet in Padova, Italy, March 18, 2020. [Photo/China's Anti-Epidemic Expert Team/Xinhua]

Vision into action

On March 23, 2013, in a packed auditorium at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind came into view of the international society.

Vasily Kashin, a senior research fellow with the institute's Center for Integrated Sinology and Regional Projects, recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech, saying Xi's "attractive" vision "will gradually be reflected in the global governance system."

"It is an idea related to the coordination of policies of different countries in the economic and social spheres and in disaster management, without establishing any uniformity or someone's hegemony," Kashin said, adding the pandemic will be an important topic on international occasions in the future.

The pandemic so far has spread to more than 180 countries and regions, with about 300,000 confirmed cases and over 12,000 deaths, disrupting people's normal life and also taking a heavy toll on the global economy.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said China's "impressive" efforts in tackling the public health crisis not only effectively contained the virus at home but also created a window of opportunity for the world.

On the global stage, China has shared its anti-virus experience with more than 100 countries and organizations, given a 20-million-U.S.-dollar donation to the WHO, and sent supplies and medical teams to countries in need.

A staff member transports the medical supplies sent from China at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, March 23, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Such moves have translated into practice how a world community works towards a shared future, especially in achieving common health for mankind.

Xi's vision offers a much-needed new way of thinking for the world and conveys a great hope, said Robert Kuhn, a leading U.S. expert on China and chairman of the Kuhn Foundation.

"In so many ways, the nations of the world must act for the common good of humanity, especially in wake of the growing pandemic," Kuhn said. "It behooves people of goodwill everywhere to work to transform the rhetoric into reality."

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