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I couldn’t accept the idea of leaving the city amid epidemic: Algerian student in Wuhan

By Amine (People's Daily)    13:32, May 14, 2020

My name is Amine and I come from Algeria. I am taking my Masters in linguistics at Central China Normal University (CCNU). The cultural diversity and the richness of such atmosphere at my school made my days in CCNU full of joy, love and mutual respect. In 2016, I have been awarded the Chinese Government Scholarship/Bilateral Program by the Chinese Embassy to Algeria.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak and city lockdown, I chose to stay in Wuhan.

I couldn’t leave Wuhan at the last minute after all the years I spent in the city, even though I have been offered an evacuation by our embassy. In Wuhan, I had a peaceful life. I have my friends and all the beautiful days I spent here. When Wuhan and China faced hard times, I couldn’t accept the idea of leaving them. I was aware of my decision and has never regretted it.

Besides, I believe in our culture – When there is a pandemic, we should stay at that place to avoid transmitting risk to other people.

Safe and sound

While staying in Wuhan, I was in touch with my family members all the time. My parents were a bit worried about me and their main concern was whether I have enough food and masks and if I will come back home or not.

Actually I was always safe, and I am quite satisfied with the way of the government’s and school’s handling of the situation.

Most of the foreign students who stayed in my university adapted with that special situation. The CCNU College of International Cultural Exchange has been famous for leading voluntary activities to facilitate the life of foreign students both on and off campus since years.

Prior to the epidemic, the aim of these activities was to promote cultural understanding and exchange. During the special period, everyone adapted with the new situation rapidly and kept carrying out activities.

Many volunteers participated regularly in temperature check, food delivery, checking door to door on students if they feel well or not under the supervision of our office and with cooperation with the dorm management.

I also noticed the quick response of the Chinese authorities, such as putting Wuhan under quarantine on January 23, conducting communities’ isolation measures, and sending regular notices. I have always received messages on my phone regarding security measures.

Also, I was impressed by the online platforms set by authorities to do online consultations, and the online classes organized by the schools. The use of technology in containing the epidemic was crucial and fascinating.

I believe that the measures taken by China had given the chance to the rest of the world enough time to get prepared. China shared all the information regarding the virus to help with the scientific research and to develop vaccines. Closing Wuhan early and the ban of flights from Wuhan also helped to contain the virus and save lives.

This pandemic has no nationality or borders and should not be politicized. The Chinese government’s reaction cannot be ignored or misinterpreted. I believe those measures kept me safe. I followed all the safety measures and haven’t had any issue. I am sure so many international students witnessed that as I did.

And the results have already been seen: Wuhan reopened, and we are coming back to our normal life again.

Although Chinese economy had been affected due to the pandemic, I believe the Asian power will go through this. The huge advancement that China made in the recent years has made it a leading model for other countries to benefit from its economic jump. As a strategic partner with China, my country has joined the Belt and Road Initiative, and the two sides’ cooperation has been very fruitful in terms of infrastructure, including railroads, highways, airports, construction, and oil. I would like to see more cooperation in the future that brings more prosperity, sustainable development and peace to my country and our region.

Deeply moved

When the outbreak started, fake news started to be spreading on social media. The only platform I could trust by then was the official ones since I was staying in Wuhan.

Our school was posting updates regularly on the official WeChat account. I have been also used to reading the People’s Daily (the Arabic version) for three years. I get mainly all the updates from it as well as CCTV Arabic and other Arab TV channels.

From these news reports, I was saddened by the losses that happened but also moved by numerous Chinese people.

The impressing picture that I recall was maybe a scene that I saw on CCTV Arabic, in which an old grandfather donated all his money to help. I was so touched by that scene.

I was also deeply moved by all the heroes united together in the front line, risking their lives every day to save other people’s lives and to continue doing their duty. I was also glad to see how all Chinese people stood up side by side in the battle against the virus, it was a great symbol of unity for me.

At the end, I want to express my sincere condolences to those who lost dearest people to them due to the pandemic and wish them to rest in peace.

I would also grasp the opportunity to thank the authorities for making the evacuation of all foreigners who wanted to come back home easy and quick, and here I would like to show my thanks to the local authorities for their flexibility and facilitating the evacuation of my countrymates: Government Officials, university teachers, medical staff and all those who participated in this and our embassy’s staff in Beijing as well! Many thanks!

And I would also like to send a message to all humanity: This pandemic has no borders and nationality, so we should all step up efforts to struggle against it and see harmony and peace in the world!

I hope to see my beautiful Wuhan shinning again soon! 

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

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