New Partnership Brings New Opportunities
By H.E. TIAN Qi, Ambassador of China to Jamaica

October 1, 2020 marks the 71st Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. While celebrating the Chinese National Day in an unusual way in this extraordinary year in Jamaica, I would like to commend the  Jamaican government and people for their timely and effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I salute those heroes working on the front line, especially the medical workers, who are angels and our dearest ones in this new era. My condolence and sincere sympathy go to our Jamaican friends who lost their loved ones in the past few months because of COVID-19.

Leadership and People's War

The spring and summer of 2020 represent an unusual chapter in the Chinese nation's journey toward rejuvenation. In the past nine months, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese government, the 1.4 billion Chinese people have acted with a strong sense of responsibility, discipline, dedication and mutual support in fighting COVID-19. The Chinese mainland has not seen any newly-confirmed local case for two months in a row.

The epic fight against COVID-19 once again proves that the strong leadership of the CPC is the most reliable backbone for the Chinese people during challenges. President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, dedicated himself to leading epidemic control efforts and gave instructions every day at the height of the outbreak. Since the start of the outbreak, President Xi has chaired a great number of high-level meetings to devise containment measures. Under President Xi Jinping's leadership, with giving full play to the advantage of China's socialist system which is concentrating strength to accomplish big tasks, China mobilized the best doctors, the most advanced equipment and the most needed resources to assist the all-out fight against the virus in Hubei province and Wuhan city which was the epicenter of the pandemic, with all treatment expenses covered by the government.

After President Xi issued the orders, more than 90 million CPC members and 4.6 million grassroots Party organizations jumped to action in fighting the virus. "The general secretary says the interests of the people come above all else. We, as Party members, must be at the forefront."

While the world was amazed at how two specialized hospitals equipped with 2,600 beds were built in less than 15 days in Wuhan, over 42,000 medical workers, including academicians and top experts, were rushing to Hubei province from other provinces, cities and the military. They endured tremendous fatigue and stress, and paid a heavy price. More than 2,000 medical workers were infected, and scores died in the line of duty. 

Across China, Over 4 million community workers were mobilized to regularly disinfect public spaces, check body temperatures, and register visitors and take them to quarantine if necessary. 1.4 billion people acted orderly. They took the Party and government's advice seriously. During the Spring Festival holiday starting in late January, hundreds of millions of people abandoned their holiday plans. They stayed at home for weeks in a row.

Recover stronger

The darkest moment is behind us. Life and economic and social order in China have been restored at a faster pace. China's spirit of combating the outbreak, which features putting people's lives first, nationwide solidarity, sacrifice, respecting science, and a sense of mission for humanity, will boost Chinese people in striving for a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty.

 China has taken the lead in the world in both epidemic control and economic recovery. China is the first major economy to return to growth. China's economy grew 3.2 percent in Q2, reversing the 6.8-percent contraction in Q1. China's economy will maintain growth momentum as the country's economic fundamentals were unscathed by the COVID-19 fallout. Besides positive signs like warming production and demand, China has also seen the advent and growth of startups in emerging sectors like online education, teleworking and smart manufacturing. Economists at the World Bank and elsewhere have also upgraded their forecasts for China.

With the theme of "Global Services, Shared Prosperity", the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services was successfully held in Beijing in early September. China will continue to open up its trade in services to the outside world and promote high-quality development of trade in services, despite the challenges brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working together with Jamaican partners to tap the vast opportunities and potential of Jamaica's strong industries like tourism, music, entertainment and sports, among others.

Like most parts of China, life has gradually returned to normal in Wuhan since re-opening in early April. Since September 1, more than 2,800 educational institutions has started their new term, opening their doors to millions of students for the first time since January. I share the joy of a  Jamaican student who went to study medicine at Wuhan University, one of the top Chinese universities, on a Chinese Government Scholarship last year. She is among those millions of students resuming school in September.

Together, stronger

The COVID-19 is the worst pandemic the world has seen in a century. The virus does not respect borders. We have seen the tiny virus threaten our health and wreak havoc on our global economy and to our ways of living and working. We are all affected. It has demonstrated that mankind is a community that shares weal and woe, calling for solidarity and cooperation across the world to tackle the crisis.

When China was bearing the full brunt of COVID-19's wrath, leaders of over 170 countries, including Jamaica, and 50 international and regional organizations expressed their support. A total of 77 countries and 12 international organizations provided assistance.

"Wan han wash di oda". China has donated funds totaling $50 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), sent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries and offered assistance to 150 countries and four international organizations. Beginning in March, Chinese medical experts held almost daily video conferences with their foreign peers including those from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries. China's pioneering use of makeshift hospitals has also been adopted around the world, including in New York's iconic Central Park. From March 15 to September 6, China exported 151.5 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, 230 million pairs of goggles, 209,000 ventilators, 470 million testing kits and 80.14 million infrared thermometers.

China has repeatedly pledged that when a COVID-19 vaccine is successfully developed and put to use in China, it will be shared with the world as a global public good to ensure vaccine accessibility, especially in developing countries, as we believe no one is safe until everyone is safe. By far, four Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidates have started international phase-3 clinical trials.

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). President Xi Jinping was invited to speak at the High-level Meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN and the General Debate of the 75th Session of The UN General Assembly. While calling on the international community to jointly champion multilateralism, safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, defend the UN-centered international system and the international order underpinned by international law, and continue strengthening exchange and cooperation under the UN framework, President Xi announced the following steps to be taken by China to support the UN in playing its central role in international affairs:

- China will provide another US$50 million to the UN COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

- China will provide US$50 million to the China-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) South-South Cooperation Trust Fund (Phase III).

- China will extend the Peace and Development Trust Fund between the UN and China by five years after it expires in 2025.

- China will set up a UN Global Geospatial Knowledge and Innovation Center and an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

New Normal, New Partnership

Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Both China and Jamaica have put people's lives front and center and made all-out efforts to contain the virus. China is fully confident about Jamaica's eventual victory over COVID-19 and will continue its firm support by providing supplies and technical assistance to the best of its ability.

The Chinese government has provided multiple batches of urgently needed anti-epidemic supplies, including masks, ventilators, protective suits and test kits, to all countries with diplomatic relations in the Caribbean, at no cost. Chinese local governments, businesses and civil society have leveraged their strengths to offer support and assistance to the Caribbean side in a timely manner. All sectors of the Chinese society also voluntarily donated a lot of supplies to Jamaican Embassy in Beijing.

The local Chinese communities in Jamaica including my Embassy have been standing firmly with the Jamaican government and people in bringing the pandemic under effective control and resuming the economy. Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Horace Chang once commended highly of the donations from Chinese communities and companies. He said "they are not here only to invest and make profit, but they have integrated themselves into the community and are making a valuable contribution and in this time of our need". In this time of difficulty, although some projects were forced to be suspended, not a single Chinese company left Jamaica. Many Chinese companies are even joining hands with their local partners in speeding up projects with strict protective measures.

The Embassy this year will expand the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship to benefit more Jamaican students and we are ready to do more to promote exchange and cooperation in fields such as education and human resource training. I would like to share with some more encouraging news. Starting from August, more and more Jamaican teachers will be going to teach English in China. The Embassy has been working closely with competent Chinese authorities to facilitate Jamaican students, especially those who have received the Chinese Government Scholarship, to study in China.

Jamaica is a trustworthy and good friend of China in the Caribbean. The China-Jamaica friendship and cooperation will emerge strengthened from this tragic crisis. It is in difficulties that we measure true friendship. China is ready to work together with Jamaica to strengthen the integration between the Belt and Road Initiative and Jamaica's Vision 2030, push cooperation in all fields for tangible and in-depth development, and promote even greater development of the China-Jamaica strategic partnership.

China will improve the level of opening-up in all-round way, and foster a new dual-cycle development architecture, with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other. This will provide Jamaica with a wider market and more development opportunities. China is willing to import more high-quality and high value-added products from Jamaica that meet the needs of Chinese market, and actively create new cooperation growth in areas such as health, tourism, e-commerce, service trade, agriculture, logistics, telecommunication, so as to advance development in both countries and lend impetus to the regional and global economies in the post pandemic era.

 China values Jamaica's status and role in regional and international affairs and is ready to work with Jamaica to uphold the UN-centered international system, improve global governance, safeguard international equity and justice, and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

The fight against COVID-19 once again proves that both China and Jamaica are great nations, our people are great people. As we celebrate Chinese National Day together in Jamaica, my fervent wish is for the earlier realization of the Chinese Dream, the prosperity of Jamaica, stronger China-Jamaica friendship, and good health of every one of us.

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