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Time for the world to unite to fight coronavirus pandemic

By Zamir Ahmed Awan (People's Daily Online)    14:38, March 16, 2020

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, tweeted on Friday that “it might be the US army” that brought the coronavirus to China, giving an official boost to a conspiracy theory that had been allowed to circulate on Chinese social media for weeks. The conspiracy posits that 300 athletes from the US military who last October attended the 7th Military World Games in Wuhan, where the epidemic first broke out, were infected with the virus, causing it to spread in China.

Zhao’s comment accompanied a video from a US congressional hearing last week on the country’s response to the epidemic. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in the video that some patients who were previously thought to have died from the flu were found to have actually died from the coronavirus. The video began trending on Chinese social network Weibo, with many commenting that they now firmly believe that the US has covered up facts related to the disease.

The US sees China as a threat to its unique superpower status. China’s economic growth had been expected to surpass the US in a few years, and the US has taken all possible measures to halt Chinese growth. The US launched a trade war to “contain” China and slapped hi-tech giant Huawei with sanctions. On top of that, the US put sanctions on important Chinese nationals, preventing them from travelling to the US. Chinese students are under scrutiny and facing severe difficulties there. Confucius Institutes, outlets for Chinese culture and language, have been targeted. But can the US go that far? It’s beyond our imagination.

The media has been used extensively to defame and bash China. Even at this very critical time, when China is immersed in the fight against Coronavirus, the US and its allies, and some Western media made derogatory remarks and published fake and humiliating news like “Sick Man of Asia”, “Made in China”, the Chinese flag with 5 Coronavirus instead of 5 golden stars, and so on.

The US has been using all tools at its disposal to counter China, including diplomatic, political, economic, social, and science and technology, including the health sector. If evidence proves that the origin of the coronavirus was the US, and it was a deliberate attempt to “contain China”, it might be really embarrassing for the whole world. The coronavirus outbreak has not only harmed China, but already spread to over 135 countries and taken precious human lives around the globe. This must be a crime against humanity. Even the coming generation will also hate such heinous crimes.

The spread of coronavirus has already been declared a pandemic and the whole world is on high alert. All nations are taking preventive measures to stop its spread and utilizing all possible resources at their disposal. China is the only nation that has had visible success in overcoming the outbreak. Chinese experiences may be utilized as “best practices” to defeat the outbreak. China is a mature nation and a very responsible state. It is also a global power that recognizes its global obligations. The Chinese are generous people and will seek to cooperate with all nations.

According to WHO, the global death toll has now reached 5,720, while 152,428 cases have been confirmed as of Sunday morning, and those figures continue to rise. In China, it has been almost brought under control, and casualities have dropped to almost single digits. Life has been returning to normal and economic activities are being partially resumed. Meanwhile, the epicenter has shifted to Italy, and the whole of Europe is facing a huge threat. The rate of spread in Europe and America is rapid and society is in a state of massive panic. Grocery shops are flooded with customers and people are stockpiling food and basic living necessities. Some countries are facing a shortage of medical supplies, hygiene products and food. People are in a panic and quarrelling with each other over petty issues.

Under this scenario, we should not fight with each other but fight against the pandemic. Join hands and defeat our common enemy - Covid-19. Respect humanity! Rescue human life! 

The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to People's Daily Online.

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology in Pakistan.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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