Full Text: Fighting COVID-19: China in Action

White Paper
China's State Council Information Office on Sunday published a white paper titled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action."

XinhuaUpdated: June 7, 2020

IV. Building a Global Community of Health for All

Coronavirus is raging all over the world, and lives are being lost every day. In the face of this serious crisis humanity once again stands at a crossroads. Which route shall we take? Shall we uphold science and rationality, or shall we manufacture political disputes? Strengthen unity and cooperation, or seek isolation? Promote multilateral coordination, or pursue unilateralism? Every country has a choice to make. China believes that all countries should make the choice that is right for the interests of all humanity and the wellbeing of our future generations. Upholding the vision of a global community of shared future, we should support each other and join hands to contain the spread of the virus, and protect the health and wellbeing of people across the globe.

1. China Appreciates Support from the International Community

At the time when the situation in China was at its most difficult, the international community provided valuable support and assistance to our country and our people. Leaders of more than 170 countries, heads of 50 international and regional organizations, and more than 300 foreign political parties and organizations expressed solidarity and support for China through phone calls, letters, and statements. Seventy-seven countries and 12 international organizations donated emergency medical supplies, including masks, protective suits, goggles, and ventilators. Donations of materials were also made by local governments, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and people from 84 countries. The BRICS New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provided emergency loans of RMB7 billion and RMB2.485 billion, while the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank offered loans for the building of China's public health emergency management system. China appreciates the understanding and support of the international community, which our people will always cherish. The Chinese nation never forgets the help and generosity it receives, and always reciprocates with the same goodwill. We are now doing all we can to support the international community in the fight against the coronavirus.

2. China Conducts Active International Exchanges and Cooperation

China has been carrying out exchanges and cooperation with the international community from the outset. It has strengthened high-level communication, shared information, and cooperated in scientific research with international organizations and other countries, and done all it can to provide assistance, contributing ingenuity and strength to the global fight against the coronavirus. The CPC has issued a joint appeal with 240 political parties in more than 110 countries, calling on all stakeholders to put people's lives and health first, uphold the vision of a global community of shared future, and pull together to combat the virus.

President Xi has personally promoted international cooperation. In phone calls or meetings with nearly 50 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, President Xi explained China's tactics and achievements in fighting the virus, and emphasized China's open, transparent and responsible approach towards releasing information and sharing its experience in virus control and the treatment of infected cases. He expressed empathy for the difficulties faced by other countries, saying that China would do all it can to help them. He called on all parties to build a global community of shared future, strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and support international organizations in order to work together to meet the challenge. 

President Xi delivered a speech at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on Covid-19 on China's experience. In a call on the international community to rise to the challenge and act swiftly, he put forward a series of cooperation initiatives and four key proposals - launch an all-out global war against Covid-19, establish a collective response for control and treatment at the international level, support international organizations in playing their roles, and strengthen coordination of international macroeconomic policies. 

On May 18, he addressed the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, calling for a joint effort on the part of all countries to overcome the virus and build a global community of health for all. Six proposals were put forward: to do everything we can for Covid-19 control and treatment, to support the WHO in leading the global response, to provide greater support for Africa, to strengthen global governance in public health, to restore economic and social development, and to strengthen international cooperation. He also announced a series of major measures that China would take in supporting the global fight, including US$2 billion of international aid over two years, the establishment of a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China in cooperation with the United Nations, the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals, the Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a global public product once it is developed and deployed in China, and the implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries together with other G20 members.

China has shared information and experience with the international community. China has provided support for global virus prevention and control by promptly sharing information and experience with the international community. It wasted no time in releasing information such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and the specific primers and probes for detecting the coronavirus to the WHO and other relevant countries and regional organizations, and has kept them informed with regular updates. China has conducted more than 70 exchanges with international and regional organizations including ASEAN, the European Union, the African Union (AU), APEC, the Caribbean Community, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as well as the ROK, Japan, Russia, the United States, Germany, and other countries. The National Health Commission (NHC) has worked out diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control solutions, had them translated into three languages, and shared them with over 180 countries and more than 10 international and regional organizations. Together with the WHO it held an international briefing via video link on China's experience in Covid-19 control. The Information Office of the State Council held two special English-language press conferences in Wuhan, inviting experts and frontline health workers to talk about China's experience and practices. To build platforms for exchanges between countries, the Chinese media has designed a TV program Covid-19 Frontline and a newspaper column Fighting Covid-19 the Chinese Way, among others. Chinese think tanks and experts have communicated with their counterparts around the world in a variety of ways. The WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 made site visits to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, and spoke highly of China's efforts and success in prevention and control.

China has provided humanitarian assistance to the international community. Even while under the tremendous pressure of coronavirus control, China has moved quickly to provide as much assistance to the international community as it can. It has provided two batches of cash support totaling US$50 million to the WHO, assisted the organization in purchasing personal protective equipment and establishing reserve centers of supplies in China, and helped its Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund to raise funds in China. It has also participated in the WHO's "Access to Covid-19 Tools (act) Accelerator" initiative, aiming to speed up the development, production and equitable distribution of new tools. 

China has been active in providing medical aid to other countries. As of May 31, China had sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, and offered assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations. It has instructed its medical teams stationed in 56 countries to support the local fight, and provide counseling and health information to local people and overseas Chinese. They have so far organized over 400 online and offline training sessions in this regard. Local governments, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and individuals in China have donated materials to more than 150 countries and regions, and international organizations through various channels. The Chinese government has always had at heart the lives and health of foreigners in China, and it has provided undifferentiated and timely treatment to those infected with the disease.

China has made arrangements for orderly exports of protective materials. While ensuring domestic needs, China has tried every possible means to provide support to all countries in purchasing protective materials. It has smoothed the channels for supply-demand docking, organized logistics, transport, and the supply of goods, and accelerated export customs clearance. It has taken effective measures to control product quality, regulate export procedures, issue guidelines on foreign market access, and strengthen market and export quality supervision, so as to provide other countries with goods of the highest quality. From March 1 to May 31, China exported protective materials to 200 countries and regions, among which there were more than 70.6 billion masks, 340 million protective suits, 115 million pairs of goggles, 96,700 ventilators, 225 million test kits, and 40.29 million infrared thermometers. 

China's growing exports provide strong support for the prevention and control efforts of affected countries. From January to April, the number of China-Europe freight trains and the volume of goods delivered increased by 24 percent and 27 percent compared with the same period last year, and a total of 660,000 packages were transported. This has played an important role in maintaining a smooth flow of international industrial and supply chains, and in ensuring the delivery of protective supplies to relevant countries.

China has carried out international exchanges and cooperation on scientific research. China has strengthened communication and exchanges with the WHO, conducted exchanges and cooperation with other countries on research in virus traceability, medicines, vaccines, and testing, shared scientific research data and information, and jointly studied prevention, control and treatment strategies. The Ministry of Science and Technology, the NHC, the China Association for Science and Technology, and the Chinese Medical Association have jointly put in place a Covid-19 Academic Research Communication Platform for worldwide researchers to release results and participate in discussion. By May 31, a total of 104 journals and 970 papers and reports had been posted. The National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation held a video conference on the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 between a group of Chinese experts on integrating traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, and hospitals from SCO countries. It also guided the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies and the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies in organizing such events as Expert Dialogue on Covid-19 Prevention and Control with Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Lectures on Covid-19. 

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has released the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Resource database, and built the Novel Coronavirus National Science and Technology Resource Service System and the Covid-19 Pneumonia Scientific Literature Sharing Platform. As of May 31, the three platforms had provided nearly 48 million download, browsing and retrieval services to more than 370,000 users worldwide. China has established an international pool of experts and has cooperated with other countries in vaccine and medicine research and development. It has encouraged the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote cooperation among its members in Covid-19 treatment and research. Chinese scientists, medical institutions, and disease control centers have published dozens of well-researched papers in some of the world's leading academic journals such asThe Lancet, ScienceNature and The New England Journal of Medicine, releasing timely results of tests on the first patients, including the clinical characteristics of the virus, the risk of human-to-human transmission, China's experience of temporary treatment centers, medicine research and development, and experimental results of vaccines on animals. To accelerate the development of vaccines and the clinical trials of medicines, China has also carried out cooperation in scientific research with other countries, and with such organizations as the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.

3. International Solidarity and Cooperation in Fighting the Pandemic

The global spread of Covid-19 is causing great concern. Both the fight to rein in the virus and the endeavor to fend off a deepening global recession call for the international community to stand in unity and engage in cooperation. They also call for multilateralism, and commitment to building a global community of shared future. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons available to the international community in the war against the pandemic. What we do today determines how we will fare in the future. China calls on all countries to act promptly, demonstrate solidarity, strengthen cooperation on all fronts, and fight the pandemic together. 

Conducting effective international cooperation on joint prevention and control. In responding to a pandemic, all countries must act in coordination to establish an impermeable network for joint prevention and control. Since Covid-19 struck, the WHO has diligently performed its duties, adopted an objective and impartial stance, and taken a slew of professional, science-based, and effective measures. It has made a significant contribution to the fight against the pandemic by leading and advancing global cooperation. China firmly supports the WHO in playing the leading role in this global battle, and calls on the international community to give it more political and financial support, so that we can mobilize the necessary resources worldwide to defeat this virus. 

China maintains that all countries should implement their response under the guidance and coordination of the WHO. This includes adopting science-based, rational, and well-coordinated prevention and control measures, appropriately allocating medical resources and key supplies, adopting effective methods in key areas such as prevention, isolation, testing, treatment and case tracing, stepping up information sharing and experience exchanges, engaging in international cooperation on the research and development of testing methods, clinical treatments, drugs and vaccines, and supporting scientists around the world in studying the origin and transmission routes of the virus. 

China calls on multilateral organizations, including the G20, APEC, BRICS, and SCO, to increase dialogue, exchanges and policy coordination within their respective frameworks. G20 members should act on the consensus reached at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on Covid-19 held in late March 2020.

In international cooperation on joint prevention and control, it is essential that major countries take the initiative, fulfill their responsibilities and do their share of the work. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries including the US to jointly tackle this pandemic, especially in the fields of research, development, production and distribution of vaccines and drugs.

Managing the pandemic's impact on the world economy through cooperation. The global spread of the pandemic has impeded the flow of people, cross-border trade, and other economic activities, triggered fluctuations on the financial market, and delivered a blow to both the industrial and supply chains, making a severe global economic recession unavoidable. It is imperative that the international community work together to stabilize and rehabilitate the world economy. While continuing to heighten epidemic control, China is ready to join forces with other countries to address the deepening global recession, stepping up international coordination on macroeconomic policies, and jointly safeguarding the stable, secure and smooth operation of international industrial and supply chains. 

Covid-19 is changing the form but not the general trend of economic globalization. Decoupling, erecting walls and deglobalization may divide the world, but will not do any good to those who themselves are engaged in these acts. China believes that the international community should proceed with globalization, safeguard the multilateral trading system based on the WTO, cut tariffs, remove barriers, facilitate the flow of trade, and keep international industrial and supply chains secure and smooth. Countries also need to implement strong and effective fiscal and monetary policies, better coordinate financial regulation to keep global financial markets stable, and thus prevent a global financial crisis that may consequently plunge the world economy into a massive, protracted recession. China will continue to supply the international market with anti-epidemic materials, pharmaceutical ingredients, daily necessities, and other supplies. At the same time, China will continue to advance reform and opening up, expand imports and outbound investment, and thereby contribute further to other countries' fight against the virus and to a stable world economy.

Assisting weaker countries and regions. Without assistance, developing countries with weaker public health systems in Asia, Africa and Latin America - especially Africa - will struggle to handle the daunting challenges posed by this pandemic. Helping them improve their capacity and performance in epidemic prevention and control should be a top priority in the global response. China calls on multilateral organizations including the UN, the WHO, the IMF and the World Bank to provide emergency aid to African countries, and calls on developed countries to take on more responsibilities, to play a bigger role in the global battle, and to provide more material, technological and personnel support to their developing counterparts, especially those in Africa.

China has actively participated in and acted upon the Debt Service Suspension Initiative of the G20. It has so far announced the suspension of debt repayments from 77 developing countries. In addition to the medical supplies sent to over 50 African countries and the AU, and the seven medical expert teams dispatched to the continent, China will offer more assistance to African countries, and continue to do all in its power to offer support. This includes sending the most urgent medical supplies, conducting cooperation on medical technologies, and dispatching more medical expert teams and task forces. China will also provide support to the Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan of the UN.

Firmly opposing stigmatization and politicization of the virus. In the face of a novel coronavirus that poses a worldwide threat to human lives and health, the most urgent task is to defeat it through solidarity and cooperation. The common enemy of humanity is this virus, not any particular country or any particular race. China calls on the international community to come together, abandon prejudice and arrogance, resist scapegoating and other such self-serving artifices, and stand against stigmatization and politicization of the virus. In doing so we will see that the spirit of solidarity, cooperation, responsibility and dedication leads people around the world towards victory in our fight against the pandemic. 

China has suffered tremendously but has contributed generously to the global efforts to combat the virus. Its efforts should be duly recognized, and it should not be criticized groundlessly. Since the early days of the outbreak China has informed the rest of the world of every development in clear and unambiguous terms. Certain countries ignored this information, and now blame China for their own failure to respond to the epidemic and protect their people's lives. Those who are intent on maligning others will easily find a pretext. China has always acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, and informed the international community of developments of the epidemic in a timely manner. The baseless accusation that China concealed epidemic information and death figures is a calculated slur on the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including those killed by the virus, and on millions of Chinese medical workers. China categorically rejects any such accusation. 

The novel coronavirus is a previously unknown virus. Determining its origin is a scientific issue that requires research by scientists and doctors. The conclusion must be based on facts and evidence. It is both irresponsible and immoral to play the blame game in an attempt to cover up one's own shortcomings. China will never accept any frivolous lawsuits or compensation claims. 

In the face of a virus that is spreading worldwide, China has offered help to other countries to the best of its ability. It is doing so out of the kindness of its people, the empathy they have with people of other countries suffering from the pandemic, the humanitarian spirit of helping each other amid disasters, and its sense of responsibility as a major country. China is not exporting its model, nor is it pursuing selfish geopolitical interests.  

Building an efficient and sustainable global public health system for the benefit of all humanity. Human history is a history of grappling with viruses. There are multiple deficiencies in current global health governance, including the absence of an international mechanism for joint prevention and control of infectious diseases and a dire shortage of international public health resources. On top of these, the upsurge in deglobalization has rendered the global public health system even more vulnerable. 

Humanity will prevail over the pandemic, but it will certainly not be the last major public health emergency we will encounter. China therefore calls on the international community to draw lessons from this pandemic, reflect carefully, and turn crises into opportunities. Countries should show extraordinary political vision and a strong sense of responsibility by doing the following: 

• embrace a philosophy that puts life above everything else, regards the world as a whole, and stresses equality, mutual respect, cooperation and mutual assistance; 

• establish sound mechanisms for international cooperation, including a long-term financing mechanism, a monitoring, early warning and joint response mechanism for threats to public health, and a mechanism for reserving and allocating resources; 

• create an efficient, sustainable global public health system for all;

• fortify defenses for the lives and health of all; and

• build a global community of health for all. 

China supports efforts to make a full, objective, impartial, scientific, and professional assessment of the global response once the pandemic has been brought under control. This will enable us to learn lessons and remedy weaknesses. China proposes that countries take immediate action and adopt decisive measures to minimize both the imminent and potential threats of the virus. This is in the interest of future generations and the wellbeing of all humanity. 

As a responsible country, China stands for the vision of a global community of shared future, and has actively participated in and advanced international cooperation in public health. It will put into action the six proposals and five measures put forward by President Xi Jinping in his speech at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, and contribute more to securing regional and international public health and building a global community of health for all.

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