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Overseas Chinese boost ties with a helping hand

By Tan Xinyu in London | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-05-23 08:53
[Photo/VCG]

Editor's Note: This news column showcases stories from around the world that bring a touch of positivity to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

When people come together and work as a team they can make a difference in the battle against the coronavirus, said Liu Wengang, president of the UK Aberdeen Chinese Association. Since the outbreak of the virus earlier this year, his association has been engaged in that battle-first in China, then in the United Kingdom.

"Chinese people from all walks of life have stepped up to help both the efforts in China and in the UK," Liu said. "There are Chinese nurses and doctors working on the front line in our city. There are Chinese people working in other key roles such as in the supermarkets."

As a saying goes, China plays the first half (of the virus fight), people outside China play the second half, while Chinese overseas fight the virus from the beginning to the end. Liu believes that the majority of the Chinese community in Aberdeen see it that way.

"From the start, the Chinese community in Aberdeen were involved in the effort to help Wuhan and their families back in China," Liu said."Many sent masks and donated money. They followed the news in China as it developed."

As with the Chinese community in the UK, so it was with their peers in Spain. Du Tong, president of an association of Chinese students and researchers in Barcelona, said that the association's members and volunteers had been busy dealing with donations and providing assistance to China from January to early March. When the pandemic reached Spain, they turned their attention to supporting the Chinese students and medical institutions in the country.

Liu set up the UK Aberdeen Chinese Association in February, after noticing how other cities in the UK had been able to respond to situations through their established associations.

His association was sent items of personal protective equipment, or PPE, from the Chinese consulate in Edinburgh for distribution to Chinese families.

"We have reached out to Chinese individuals who work in the NHS(National Health Service) and care homes to offer them support where we can," Liu said."We have also reached out to support the community of elderly Hong Kong people in our city."

Not an easy job

However, it hasn't been easy donating masks to those who need them in the UK, Liu said.

"Originally we contacted our local NHS hospital, but they can only accept specific types of PPE. It was frustrating."

But with the help of the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, the association finally handed over its first donation to essential workers.

In Spain, Du's Barcelona association at first focused on the needs of Chinese students in the midst of the pandemic. But, as the association had also received some donated medical supplies from people back in China, it decided to donate masks to Spaniards, police officers, and staff in care homes and medical institutions.

When people are confronted with a pandemic, nationality no longer has any importance. The assistance not only sustains the great friendship between the peoples of China and Spain, but it also reflects our concerted efforts to help bring life back to normal again, Du said.

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