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Fresh beginning after passing test

By ZHENG ZHUQIANG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-10-26 08:04
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The pandemic is giving rise to a new international situation, but China and Uganda will continue to fight the virus, strengthen coordination and forge ahead together

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus this year has posed a great challenge to humankind and has been a major test for China-Uganda ties.

The two countries and their peoples have fought shoulder-to-shoulder against the virus, sparing no efforts to safeguard lives and health. So far, the China-Uganda comprehensive cooperative partnership has passed the test, emerging from it with a more solid foundation and a more promising future.

China fought dauntlessly to effectively prevent and control the COVID-19. During China's difficult fight against the virus, Uganda stood solidly with China, honoring the African philosophy of Ubuntu, or "I am because we are", which means the common bonds within a group are more important than any divisions.

During China's struggle against the virus, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni sent a letter of condolence to President Xi Jinping and held a placard saying "Stay strong, Wuhan!" to show his appreciation and support for the Chinese people.

Justine Lumumba Kasule, secretary-general of Uganda's National Resistance Movement, the country's ruling party, also sent a letter of solidarity to China, praising China's effective anti-pandemic measures and remarkable achievements.

Makerere University, Uganda's top educational institution, which houses a Confucius Institute, donated masks and other anti-pandemic equipment to its cooperative institution, Xiangtan University in Hunan province, even though the commodities were very hard to acquire internationally, then.

A Ugandan student called Anna, who once studied in China, said China is her second home and sent her best wishes to the Chinese people. Odong, a Ugandan studying at China's Southern Medical University, volunteered to work with Chinese medical workers in the frontline of the battle against the virus in Guangzhou. All these touching stories have greatly impressed the Chinese people.

When Uganda reported the virus, China immediately rushed to lend the Ugandan people a helping hand. President Xi sent a letter expressing his solidarity and support to the government and people of Uganda. In his letter, President Xi said China will always adhere to the ideal of building a community with a shared future for humankind and work together with the international community, including Uganda, to help win final victory against the pandemic.

China has also provided Uganda with large quantities of anti-pandemic materials, such as masks, protective suits and ventilators.

The Chinese medical team at the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital spared no effort to help Uganda prevent and control the virus. The Chinese side facilitated cooperation between the China-Uganda Friendship Hospital, one of the three designated focal hospitals for treating those infected with the coronavirus in Uganda, and the No. 3 People's Hospital of Yunnan Province and Yunnan Provincial Infectious Disease Hospital.

As the virus continues to spread in the African country, the National Stadium of Uganda, built with Chinese assistance, has been transformed into a mobile cabin hospital, thus becoming an "ark of life" protecting the Ugandan people. China invited the Ugandan side to participate in videoconferences on technical exchanges between China and African countries and connected Chinese medical institutions with Ugandan hospitals designated for treating COVID-19 cases, such as the Mulago National Referral Hospital, so they could share their experiences and treatments.

At the request of the Ugandan government, Chinese enterprises and communities in Uganda also organized volunteers to help Uganda in its prevention and control work at Entebbe International Airport. Chinese non-governmental organizations, enterprises and overseas Chinese associations in Uganda also donated considerable anti-pandemic materials and cash to the country.

While maintaining a good job in pandemic control and encouraged by the Ugandan government, Chinese companies have continued to promote local economic development by carrying forward a number of major projects, such as the construction of the Karuma Hydropower Plant and the expansion of the Entebbe International Airport.

In response to Uganda's call for urgently needed medical equipment, Chinese enterprises exported equipment and launched mask production lines in Uganda, something that President Museveni personally praised.

During the pandemic, a mobile phone factory operated by Chinese investors completed Uganda's first mobile phone export order, showing the great vitality of China-Uganda economic and trade cooperation.

The number of daily new infections and growth of cases in Uganda have been relatively gentle since the outbreak, and there were no deaths in the first four months, all these significant achievements to which China has proudly made her contributions to the best of her ability.

Cooperation in investment and infrastructure development between the two countries has also helped Uganda's economic and social recovery and development.

It is no exaggeration to say that thanks to consolidated bilateral mutual trust and continuous promotion of cooperation in various fields, China and Uganda have enhanced the building of a community of health for both countries.

Given that COVID-19 is still raging around the world, China and Uganda still face the arduous tasks of controlling the virus, stabilizing their economies and ensuring people's livelihoods.

But China and Uganda believe that the world will eventually overcome the pandemic and the Chinese and African people will ultimately live a better life, as President Xi stated in the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 held June via videoconferencing.

Today's world is undergoing a great change unprecedented in a century and the pandemic is speeding up the evolution of the international situation. Standing at a new historical starting point, both sides will continue to promote their unity in the war against the virus, strengthen coordination and forge ahead together, in a bid to deepen bilateral ties and better benefit the two countries and their peoples.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to Uganda. 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.


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