China's ambassador to 'Post': Believe in the resilience of China, Israel

Without China’s resolute actions, transparent cooperation and the huge sacrifice of its people, the epidemic would have been far more disastrous.

AT A MASS prayer service at the Western Wall on Sunday, worshipers pray for those affected by coronavirus. The Hebrew on the poster reads, ‘The People of Israel prays for China.’ (photo credit: YAAKOV LEHMAN)
AT A MASS prayer service at the Western Wall on Sunday, worshipers pray for those affected by coronavirus. The Hebrew on the poster reads, ‘The People of Israel prays for China.’
(photo credit: YAAKOV LEHMAN)
I assumed my post as the new Chinese ambassador to Israel in an extraordinary time, when China and the world are fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, and my job kicked off with a special start. Immediately after my arrival, I went into the 14-day home quarantine. During that time, I did not take a single step out of my residence or have any contact with my embassy colleagues. With myself as an example, I want to send a message to all Israeli friends that China is a responsible, rule-abiding and trustworthy country.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the whole Chinese nation has been mobilized under the leadership of President Xi Jinping. Our purpose is to protect ourselves and the rest of the world. Without China’s resolute actions, transparent cooperation and the huge sacrifice of its people, the epidemic would have been far more disastrous.
The World Health Organization-China Joint Mission – an expert group with members from Canada, the United States, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Russia and elsewhere – concluded after their field study in China that “China has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic... creating a stronger first line of defense against the international spread.”
Indeed, the situation in China is improving. The daily number of new cases has plummeted from more than 2,000 to less than 50. Almost all provinces, including all the Hubei cities other than Wuhan, are reporting ZERO new cases. As patients get discharged or transferred, all the temporary hospitals have been closed. It will be a matter of time before China can claim victory over the epidemic.
Moreover, China, the world’s factory, is steaming back into full power. In major export provinces like Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, more than 95% of factories have restarted. The iPhone’s Chinese makers are all back to work. Eighteen of Honeywell’s 21 plants across China have fully resumed manufacturing. Tesla’s Shanghai factory has started to deliver new cars to its customers. International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva expressed confidence that China’s economy remains resilient.
We have no doubt that the challenges of the epidemic will be overcome and China’s growth target, as well as the plan to continue building a moderately prosperous society, will be achieved as scheduled within the year 2020.
THE TALMUD says, “The entire community sits under the same star” (Pesahim 94a). At the critical moment of China’s fight against the epidemic, President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israelis from all walks of life extended their sympathy and support to China. We are deeply moved and will never forget.
Now, the virus is spreading outside China, and Israel is affected. The Israeli government has taken a series of measures to safeguard public health and security. China is ready to work with Israel and all the other countries to cope with the epidemic. The Chinese government has decided to donate $20 million to the WHO to support international cooperation against the outbreak.
While everyone is engaged in the fight of the epidemic, we should also deal with another common enemy: the “infodemic.” For example, some people keep questioning the transparency of China’s data. China is a responsible stakeholder, and it is not afraid of telling the truth. The empty hospital beds, the closing of quarantine sites, the steaming factories and the lively shopping malls are corroborating China’s data. By cross-checking with the situation in hospitals and the recounts of medical staff, the WHO-China Joint Mission concludes that they are not seeing anything that suggests manipulation of numbers.
Some media are still using words like “China virus” or “Wuhan pneumonia,” and some are even selling the conspiracy theory that the virus was made in a Chinese laboratory. Experts have pointed out that the epidemic first breaking out in China does not necessarily mean the virus originated from China. No lab in the world is capable of manufacturing this virus.
The attempts of sowing discord or stigmatizing a nation will severely compromise the sense of unity, hurt the sentiments of the Chinese people and undercut global cooperation in coping with the epidemic. China has proven with its efforts that we must work together on the base of science and firmly reject panic and prejudice.
The Chinese and the Jewish nations have endured profound sufferings throughout history, but we have all risen after setbacks and are marching toward national rejuvenation. The fight against the epidemic will only showcase and enhance the resilience in our national characters and bring us to an even brighter future. I sincerely hope we will soon prevail over the epidemic in Israel and around the world. By that time, I look forward to having more opportunities to work with our Israeli friends to open a new page of the Innovative Comprehensive Partnership between China and Israel.
The writer is the Chinese ambassador to Israel.


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