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Series of African Scholars' Talk on China's Fight Against Novel Coronavirus, No.4

Writer:Sande Ngalande Date:02/27/2020

Series of African Scholars' Talk on China's Fight Against Novel Coronavirus, No.4

All weather friends in need and in deed

By Dr. Sande Ngalande, Director Confucius Institute at the University of ZambiaExecutive Director Belt and Road Joint Research Centre

 

In good times, in bad times, in times of lack and times of plenty, in times of sorrow and times of celebration; China and Africa have remained true friends building various chords of unwavering friendship. The several centuries old interactions between the Chinese and African people have always been peaceful, friendly and mutually beneficial. It is therefore unsurprising that the news of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China has been received with shock in the manner it has disrupted normal lives of our Chinese brothers and sisters. There is a general feeling of loss and pain at the news of thousands of the Chinese friends being affected by the virus and worse still news of the numbers of people that have been lost to the virus.

 

In Zambia, it has become a norm to freely mingle with our Chinese brothers and sisters from all walks of life. The Chinese most of whom are engaged in important national projects have formed part of the Zambian community. It is said that Zambia has been turned into a big construction site. Scenes of construction works are visible in all parts of the country. Most of the construction projects are done by the Chinese Government and private enterprises. Projects range from construction of schools, hospitals, roads, airports, telecommunication towers, office buildings and housing complexes among others. Over the past ten years, Zambia has witnessed unprecedent industrial development laying a strong foundation for social and economic development. The story is only successful with the generous hand of the Chinese people.

 

Scenes of massive construction remind Zambians of the TAZARA construction time. TAZARA that has become a monument of all-weather friendship between the people of Zambia and neighbouring countries on one part and the Chinese people on the other and is also a symbol of both political and economic emancipation. Zambians therefore know Chinese people at their best as friendly, sincere and extremely generous. Chinese people have always seized every opportunity to help others. Once it was known that there are 200 Zambian students in Wuhan, the Chinese community in Zambia quickly came together and donated 20,000 masks for Zambian students to use in China. It would be expected that the Zambians should come to the aid of our Chinese colleagues, but they chose not to selfishly only think about their families in China but also the Zambian students. It was announced by the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia that out of the 1884 Chinese nationals that had left Zambia for Chinese Spring holidays in China, only 242 had returned to Zambia. There is a sure sign therefore that the Zambian and Chinese communities in Zambia have become one big family.

 

The loss of Chinese nationals to the coronavirus is therefore very sorrowful to the Zambian people. The President of the Republic of Zambia sent a message of solidarity to his counterpart President Xi Jinping. He said in the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper of 5th February 2020 that “ it is for this reason and owing to our excellent bilateral ties that I wish to express confidence that Zambians living in China are receiving the necessary support and attention during this period.” President Lungu also assured President Xi that Zambia stood in solidarity with China during the trying moment. The President was also confident that the Government of China was relentless in the search for cure and a solution to the problem. The President also commended the Chinese government for the unmatched preparedness and tenacity in managing the outbreak as reported in the Zambian newspaper.

 

Zambians generally feel the Chinese Government is doing an excellent job in managing the situation in a transparent and responsible manner. As the Chinese government has not discriminated anyone in handling the situation, we should all be grateful and positive about the safety of all nationalities currently in China. No forms of xenophobic and discriminatory attacks in whatever form should be tolerated towards the Chinese people who are in the middle of this serious fight. Zambia is confident that China will win this battle soon. In comparison to similar outbreaks both in China and the United States, China has so far performed extremely well in managing the situation and the World Health Organization (WHO) has nodded efforts being made by the Chinese Government as enough in handling the situation.

Fight on China, fight on Wuhan. We are all behind you!

 

Copyright: China-Africa Institute