New Delhi: Amid a major standoff across sections of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China said that the “only right choice” for New Delhi and Beijing right now is to realise that the “dragon and elephant dancing together” will help in achieving fundamental interests of both countries.
Addressing the Confederation of Young Leaders Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong said both the countries should seek understanding through communication and constantly resolve differences.
Read the full interaction here:
Remarks by Chinese Ambassador to India, H.E. Sun Weidong on the Webinar with Indian Youth hosted by Confederation of Young Leaders
Dear young friends, Good afternoon！Thank you, Mr Suwan, for your warm remarks. My thanks also goes to Confederation of Young Leaders (CYL) for organizing this special online event during the epidemic. Virus makes us keep social distancing, but never keep us apart in heart.
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 is the most serious global public health emergency since the end of World War II. It has hit over 210 countries and regions, and affected more than seven billion people around the world. China is the first country to report the epidemic and stand up to the challenge. After the outbreak, President Xi Jinping has personally led the whole nation in a people’s war against the virus, gave top priority to people’s lives and health, and adopted the most comprehensive, stringent and thorough prevention and control measures. After making arduous efforts and tremendous sacrifices, China has basically brought the epidemic under control, and offered precious window period for other countries to respond.
Up till now, altogether 78,280 patients had been cured and discharged from hospitals. There are only 79 patients still being treated in China. At present, China has basically resumed work, businesses and schools, but our task is still difficult. We are still facing challenges such as imported cases. Recently, in order to figure out the number of asymptomatic infections, we are conducting more than 10 million nucleic acid tests in Wuhan city. While preventing the rebound of the epidemic, we are vigorously accelerating the vaccine research, striving to develop a vaccine as early as possible to save more lives.
China has summed up many experiences in fighting against the epidemic. I would like to focus on the following four points:
First, we have a strong leadership and national unity. China’s Central Government has played a leading role in making decisive decisions and coordinating all parties. Governments at all levels have followed instructions and acted swiftly to form a concerted effort to achieve a national goal. After the lockdown in Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan, we mobilized the whole nation to ensure medical supplies and daily necessities there. 16 public venues were converted to shelter hospitals quickly. Two specialized hospitals, Huoshenshan and Leishenshan, were built in a record 20 days to admit patients. More than 340 medical teams of 42,000 medical workers across the country and half a million volunteers went to Hubei to fight the epidemic.
Due to the epidemic, many young people who planned to marry postponed their wedding without hesitation and dedicated themselves into anti-epidemic fighting. On May 20 this year, China hosted a sweetest “cloud wedding” for 100 new couples. At this critical anti-epidemic moment, China’s young generation has shown their strong sense of responsibility and dedication .
Second, we always put people first. As President Xi Jinping pointed out during the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China always puts people and their lives first, and protects people’s life and health at all costs. We have taken measures of “four early” and “four concentrated”, which means “early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment”, and concentration of the infected, experts, resources and treatment. We tried to achieve the goal of “testing all who need to be tested, hospitalization of all who need to be hospitalized, isolating and treating all who need to be isolated and treated”, reducing transmission and fatality rates, and improving hospitalization and cure rates.
Every life is precious and cannot be revived. We always give top priority to saving lives. From one-month newborn to centenarian, we have not given up anyone. All the treatment costs are borne by government, and the overall cure rate reaches 93.5%. According to statistics, more than 3600 confirmed cases over the age of 80 have been cured in Hubei, the cure rate reaches nearly 70%, and the oldest patient is 108 years old.
Third, we build strong social consensus and mobilize the whole nation. On the one hand, the Chinese Government has strengthened communication with the public and released official epidemic data through mass media every day, making sure “the public is fully informed”. On the other hand, the Chinese people have actively participated in the “people’s war” of nationwide fight against the virus.
Four million community workers, together with volunteers, visited 650,000 urban and rural communities across the country to communicate epidemic prevention knowledge, offer psychological counseling and help households with daily necessities. They made sure every corner was disinfected. A well-known picture of a Wuhan community worker on the internet showed him carrying dozens of medicine bags from head to toe for home delivery. Many people have shown unparalleled courage and professionalism, and made extraordinary choices and sacrifices. Facing the long period of large-scale lockdown and quarantine measures, the Chinese people have shown a high degree of trust in the government and consciously implemented them to ensure the effectiveness of these measures.
Fourth, we actively carry out international cooperation. China’s successful fight against the epidemic is inseparable from the strong support and assistance of the international community. At the height of China’s battle, leaders of over 170 countries offered solidarity and support to Chinese leaders through letters, phone calls and statements. Many countries provided medical supplies. People of different nationalities rooted for Wuhan and for China in various languages.
When other countries are struck by the virus, the Chinese people readily extend a helping hand. We have launched the largest global humanitarian operation in the history of the People’s Republic of China. To date, we have shipped medical supplies to nearly 150 countries and four international organizations to meet their immediate needs. We have held video conferences with health experts from over 170 countries to share our proven protocols of diagnosis, treatment and control without any reservation. We have sent 26 expert teams to 24 countries to provide timely information and in-person guidance. Our factories have operated at full capacity to make high-quality medical supplies and equipment that are badly needed around the world, exporting 56.8 billion surgical masks and 250 million protective gowns, among other provisions. Nothing we do is out of geopolitical calculation, or in pursuit of economic gains, or with any political strings attached.
President Xi Jinping made a six-point proposal on international cooperation against COVID-19 at the Opening of World Health Assembly recently. It includes doing everything we can for COVID-19 control and treatment, the WHO should lead the global response, providing greater support for Africa, strengthening global governance in the area of public health, restoring economic and social development, and strengthening international cooperation.
President Xi stressed that China will provide US$ 2 billion over two years to help with COVID-19 response and with economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing countries; China will work with the UN to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, ensure the operation of anti-epidemic supply chains and foster “green corridors” for fast-track transportation and customs clearance; China will work with other G20 members to implement the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries, and work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service, so that they could tide over the current difficulties.
As countries unite to fight the epidemic, many “conspiracy theories” also appear, such as “China concealing epidemic situation” and “virus originating from Wuhan lab”. We need to be highly vigilant that the “political virus” is jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China. The coronavirus is a novel virus unseen in the past, and it takes time to study and understand it. China has provided timely information to the world in an open, transparent and responsible manner. We did not cover up anything, and did not delay any efforts. Identifying the source of the virus is a serious and complex issue of science, which should be studied and explored by scientists and medical experts.
Just as Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out at his recent press conference, the most important thing people can learn from COVID-19 is that the life and health of people in different countries have never been so closely connected. It has never been made so clear to us that all nations live in the same global village and that humanity is in fact a community with a shared future. The virus respects no borders or races. It poses a challenge to all humans without distinction. Having claimed so many precious lives, COVID-19 serves as a stark reminder that countries must rise above differences in geography, race, history, culture and social system. We must work together for a community with a shared future and jointly preserve Planet Earth, the only home we have.
Since the outbreak, China and India have maintained close communication and cooperation on epidemic prevention and control. Our two leaders President Xi Jinping and Prime Minster Narendra Modi have exchanged letters, and our foreign ministers made phone calls twice to strengthen our anti-epidemic cooperation. Indian people from all walks of life have shown their support in various ways at our most trying time. CYL has organized many events and recorded videos in support of China. Co-hosted by CYL and Manav Rachna University，more than 2,000 Indian students signed the album and conveyed their messages “stay strong China, we are with you!” We will always remember and cherish this profound friendship.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic in India, we also feel for the pain and extend a helping hand in time. As sister provinces and cities, Guangdong Province and Chongqing City have respectively donated medical supplies to Gujarat State and Chennai City. Alibaba, Fosun, SANY Group and other Chinese enterprises and charities have assisted India with a large number of medical supplies such as facial and protective masks, protective suits, medical gloves and ventilators.
China has provided India with various conveniences and assistance for its commercial procurement in China. The Civil Aviation Administration of China has set up a “green channel” and approved 45 Indian cargo flights from India to transport medical supplies. China has timely shared its experiences in epidemic prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment with the Indian side in different ways including holding video conferences for experts. China will continue to support India within its capacity and strengthen our medical and health cooperation.
President Xi Jinping has advocated building a community with a shared future for mankind. Prime Minster Modi also mentioned “World is One Family”. As the two most populous developing countries in the world, if China and India defeat this virus together, it would be of great significance to safeguard the global public health and the ultimate victory over the epidemic. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. As neighbors, friends and partners, China and India should join hands, strengthen cooperation and fight against the epidemic together. I sincerely wish India an early victory in this battle. I also wish all young friends and the Indian people good health, prosperity and happiness.
Q: What do you think is the most important reason for China’s victory over the epidemic?
Sun Weidong: I think China’s success first attributes to the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China. President Xi Jinping have repeatedly asked Party committees and governments at all levels to put people’s health and life first and take effective measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Responding to President Xi’s call, Party members have stood up and fought bravely in time of crisis. Dr. Zhang Wenhong is the head of the Shanghai medical treatment team, when talking about his team work, he has a famous saying that “Party members should stand up first, no bargain!”. Among 496 medical workers, civil servants and volunteers who died at their post on the frontline against COVID-19, 328 were CPC members.
The unity of the Chinese people is also an important reason for our success. The Chinese government mobilized the whole nation to fight the epidemic, and all Chinese people rallied together. More than 2 million citizens registered to be volunteers. Almost every community across China set up 24-hour checkpoints, for taking temperatures and controlling personnel access. Many community volunteers visited and took care of those vulnerable residents including the elderly. In our country of 1.4 billion people, the same scene was staging in every street, every community and every village. Without the dedication and sacrifice of the Chinese people, we could not have brought the epidemic under control in around two months.
Q: What do you think of the Indian government’s capacity and response to the outbreak?
SW: After the outbreak of the epidemic, the Indian government attached great importance and took decisive measures. I am impressed with several things. The first is swift action. Since March 25, the Indian government has taken lockdown measures in different stages, even though there were not many confirmed cases at that time. The second is solidarity. People across all sectors in India reach basic consensus on epidemic prevention and control, understand and support the lockdown measures. The third is cooperation. The majority of the Indian people follow government instructions and advice to stay at home, and the overall social order has been stable since the lockdown.
At present, we feel heavy-hearted and empathy while India’s epidemic situation is getting more severe. The Indian government is taking various measures to strengthen its anti-epidemic capacity, such as accelerating the procurement of anti-epidemic materials, strengthening the medical facilities and response capacity, encouraging vaccine research and development, and carrying out international cooperation. We sincerely wish India success in its fight against the epidemic. We will continue to provide assistance to India within our capacity.
Q: Celebrations for the 70th anniversary of China-India diplomatic relations have been put on pause during the pandemic. If the situation improves in the next few months, please tell us about what is planned for the rest of the year?
SW: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and India. On April 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchanged congratulatory messages with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar respectively. President Xi pointed out China-India relations are now standing at a new starting point and facing new opportunities. PM Modi said the two countries should strengthen coordination and solidarity and address global challenges together.
Despite the impact of the epidemic, we still try our best to celebrate the 70th anniversary in various ways. I delivered a video speech on April 1, and published my articles on both Chinese and Indian media around that time. The Chinese Embassy published a Special Page on Indian media and sent the commemorative covers to our Indian friends. While fighting the COVID-19 together, we will continue to explore different ways to hold more “cloud celebrations”. Good things are never too late to come. Taking the celebration of the 70th anniversary as an opportunity, we would like to work with India to elevate our bilateral relations to a new height.
In early January this year, The Chinese Embassy and CYL co-hosted the China-India Youth Dialogue 2020. This was the first event held by the Embassy celebrating the 70th anniversary. Recently, All-China Youth Federation and CYL also co-hosted a webinar with the theme of the 70th anniversary. These events were very successful. I would like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to CYL again.
Q: What is your message for the young people amidst the COVID-19 crisis? How could the young people together cooperate and collaborate for a more vibrant partnership between China and India?
SW: While fighting COVID-19, China and India are also facing the important task to consolidate and strengthen bilateral relations. I hope that the youth of our two countries could realize the importance of developing China-India relations and deepen your understanding of the important consensus reached by our two leaders. We should adhere to the basic judgment that China and India are each other’s opportunities and pose no threat to each other. We need to see each other’s development in a correct way and enhance strategic mutual trust. We should correctly view our differences and never let the differences shadow the overall situation of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, we should gradually seek understanding through communication and constantly resolve differences. From any perspective, China and India should be good neighbors of harmonious coexistence and good partners to move forward hand in hand.
The realization of “Dragon and Elephant dancing together” is the only right choice for China and India, which serves the fundamental interests of our two countries and two peoples. As the two major emerging economies, China and India should strengthen practical cooperation in investment, production capacity and other fields, and expand the cake of common interests. China hopes to develop itself and India as well. The two countries should help each other to accomplish their respective goals and “light up” each other.
President Xi Jinping once said, “young people should become the new force promoting friendship between our two peoples.” I hope the youth of China and India will contribute more wisdom and strength to promoting China-India friendship and the development of bilateral relations.
Here I have several suggestions, First, actively voice your support for China-India friendship. Call on all parties to make concrete efforts to implement the consensus reached by our two leaders. Second, make contributions in various fields and promote win-win cooperation between China and India. Third, strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges and dialogue among civilizations. Constantly broaden your horizons, enhance mutual learning, mutual understanding and mutual trust.
Q: By when could we expect a vaccine for COVID-19?
SW: President Xi Jinping addressed the Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly and announced important proposals to boost global fight against COVID-19. He said that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, and this will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
At present, China has made great progress on vaccine research and development. China has simultaneously promoted vaccine research and development through five technical routes. It is reported that eight novel coronavirus vaccine candidates are in clinical trial while four from China. On May 22, the Chinese team led by Chen Wei, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, published a report on the world-known medical journal Lancet. The phase-1 trial results of their vaccine candidate on humans prove to be safe and effective. This result is encouraging.
In the process of vaccine research and development, China and international organizations such as the WHO have carried out close cooperation. Some Chinese companies have also carried out active cooperation with relevant international institutions. We expect the vaccine to come into use as soon as possible.
Q: What is the one thing you like about India the most?
SW: What I like India most is the optimistic and peaceful character of the Indian people as well as the ancient and splendid Indian civilization. Through Bollywood movies, we could often find that many Indians are optimistic and confident, enthusiastic and passionate, sociable and good at singing and dancing. Indian civilization is colourful, inclusive and diverse. Since ancient times, the Indian subcontinent has been like a sea, where foreign cultures have been converging, and finally the Indian civilization has been developed. India is known as the museums of races, languages and religions. Its diversity of ethnicity, language, culture and religion is very distinctive. The inclusiveness and diversity of Indian civilization are impressive and worth learning.