A reader walks past a face mask requirement sign before entering the New York Public Library in New York City, the U.S., on August 2 (XINHUA)
The Communist Party of China led the Chinese people in largely containing the spread of the novel coronavirus within a relatively short period of time and resuming near normal economic activities last year.
Equally importantly, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has been working with other countries to safeguard global public health by providing medical supplies and expertise to other countries, in order to help them fight the virus.
China has provided more than 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for countries around the world. To strengthen the global fight against the virus, China has offered more than 300 billion face masks, 3.7 billion personal protective equipment (PPE) and 4.8 billion testing kits to over 200 countries.
Also, China was the first country to provide medical assistance for Sri Lanka, in March 2020, so it could contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the early days of the pandemic, China’s central and local governments, enterprises, organizations and individuals have offered help to Sri Lanka in different capacities. Which is unprecedented.
Also, China has granted Sri Lanka a concessionary loan of $500 million apart from donating more than 9 million doses of vaccines and dispatching medical supplies, including testing kits, face masks, and PPEs.
In response to my request as the president of Sri Lanka-China Society, 19 nongovernmental organizations in China donated about 400,000 face masks, 1,600 face shields, 2,400 protective goggles, and 400 PPEs to help the Sri Lankan authorities to control the spread of the virus. The estimated value of those donations is about 1.2 million yuan ($185,716).
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, even the less fortunate families in Sri Lanka were able to send their children to school. But COVID-19 has changed the situation for the worse, because the pandemic-induced restrictions have deprived many people of their livelihoods.
Considering the gravity of the situation, the Sri Lanka-China Society appealed to Chinese organizations and individuals for help. And to our delight, the Amity Foundation in Nanjing has offered scholarships to 500 Sri Lankan students from rural areas, with one scholarship being worth 1,000 yuan.
In addition, a few provincial friendship associations in China have offered scholarships to 132 students. This shows that during hardships not only the Chinese government but also the Chinese people and organizations are willing to help Sri Lanka. The donations from Chinese organizations and individuals will contribute to the health and well-being of the Sri Lankan people and strengthen the historical friendship between the two countries.
Furthermore, the Sri Lankan people are aware of how the United States has been trying to use the virus origin tracing issue to target China, so as to check its peaceful rise.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said: “The US has from the very beginning attempted to politicize the pandemic, stigmatize the virus and use origin tracing as a tool to practice political manipulation.”
We agree with China that the next round of studies to trace the origin of the virus should be conducted based on the first phase of study in China, after which the World Health Organization concluded that it is extremely unlikely that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan. Any attempt to carry out another round of origin tracing study in China is an attempt to politicize the issue, cast doubt on the WHO study's findings and sling mud at China.
Finally, I would like to echo China’s global development philosophy－that we will continue to work with people from all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The author is president of Sri Lanka-China Society