Friendship flowing incessantly like water
Although the vast Pacific Ocean separates China and Guyana by thousands of miles, the common historical experience, struggles, dreams and people's common desire for a better life have helped promote mutual understanding, trust and support.
The first indentured Chinese labors crossed the oceans to Guyana in 1853, becoming one of the six major ethnic groups in the country. After its establishment in 1949, the People's Republic of China supported Guyana's bid to end British colonial rule, strive for national liberation and realize independence. In 1972, Guyana took the lead in establishing diplomatic relations with China among the English-speaking Caribbean countries.
Thanks to the joint efforts of several generations, China, the largest developing country in the world, and Guyana, a developing country with the largest territory in the English-speaking Caribbean region, have witnessed stable progress in relations and abundant fruits in various fields. In the words of Guyanese Minister of Public Works Juan A. Edghill, all the transformative projects in his country were built by Chinese.
This year is a landmark year for China's efforts toward securing a decisive victory in the battle against poverty and building a well-off society in all respects. It is also the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and the country becomes an oil producer.
However, the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus has increased both countries' difficulties in meeting their annual goals and brought great suffering to the whole world. Faced with the common enemy, China and Guyana have stood by and helped each other overcome the difficulties together.
During China's toughest moment in the fight against virus, Guyana's leaders sent letters to China's leaders, expressing their belief that China would be victorious against the pandemic. Some people in Guyana sent videos to offer sympathy and support to the Chinese people and left supportive messages with the Chinese embassy. Many Guyanese students studying in China insisted on staying, showing their confidence in China's war against the pandemic. The Chinese people were deeply moved by the sincere friendship of their Guyanese counterparts.
When Guyana reported it too was battling the virus, China lost no time in doing everything it could to offer support. It provided urgently needed anti-pandemic supplies to Guyana, including test equipment donated by the provincial government of Jiangsu that increased testing efficiency by reducing the time to get a result from 8-9 hours to 2-3 hours.
China also held bilateral and multilateral videoconferences to share its anti-virus experience with Guyana. The Chinese embassy in Guyana worried about local residents, particularly the disabled and other vulnerable groups, so it sought ways to raise and donate urgently needed supplies. Guyanese Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities Progamme coordinator Ganesh Singh appreciated the food packages provided to local disabled people by the Chinese side, which was timely assistance for needy families with disabled members.
In addition, China and Guyana have maintained non-governmental cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. Chinese universities took good care of Guyanese graduates in China and helped them get accommodation following their inability to return home in time. The 15th medical team assisting Guyana provided remote guidance to Georgetown Hospital for treating COVID-19 patients, and after that, the 16th team was sent to the country.
Chinese employees of the Confucius Institute in Guyana overcame difficulties to offer online courses to its students.
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation donated detection reagents, masks and other supplies to Guyana's Health Ministry. Chinese-funded institutions, enterprises and overseas Chinese in Guyana also contributed to the country's fight against the virus. The Chinese Enterprise Association and overseas Chinese donated personal protective equipment and other anti-pandemic materials to the Health Ministry. Huawei's Guyana branch was entrusted with formulating the national isolation supervision program and creating a supporting software system. And Bosai Manganese Mine Co helped the fight against the virus at its base in a Guyanese village. While taking good care of local staff members, Chinese enterprises resumed work and production in a timely and orderly manner, contributing to the economic development, social stability, employment and people's livelihood in Guyana.
Chinese people's good deeds are widely praised in Guyana. A chartered plane carrying Chinese engineers and technicians arrived in Guyana to resume work and production not long ago. The two countries share highly complementary economic advantages. Standing at the new historical starting point, the China-Guyana pragmatic cooperation offers new and greater opportunities for the two peoples' common aspiration for a better life.
The two countries have signed documents on the Belt and Road Initiative. The friendship between China and Guyana is expected to incessantly run like the Kaieteur Falls in Guyana under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. Their exchanges and cooperation in various fields will further benefit the two peoples and the China-Guyana relations will set an example for Sino-Latin American cooperation and the South-South cooperation.
The author is the Chinese ambassador to Guyana. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.