Friendly ties remain mainstream of China-Africa ties despite slander: envoys  

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/9 0:14:34

Photo: courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Nigeria

Chinese citizens in Africa are safe and sound on the whole, although a few rare cases of them being attacked occasionally take place amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, said some Chinese diplomats in Africa.

Responding to the rising safety concerns of Chinese people in Africa, as well as the recent defamation in the West about Chinese "discrimination" against Africans, the Chinese ambassadors to several African countries told the Global Times that friendly corporation remains the mainstream of the China-Africa relationship despite the misunderstandings and slander.

Three Chinese nationals were killed in Zambia on May 24 by three locals, sparking outrage and fear among the Chinese communities in African countries. The Chinese Embassy in Zambia condemned the murder as an "appalling and vicious act of violence."

There was no evidence to suggest the tragedy specially targeted Chinese, although some negative Western coverage has to some extent generated a bad impression of Chinese people, observers said.

Most of the security cases in Africa that involve Chinese nationals are occasional and sporadic, said the Chinese Embassy in Algeria.

"In general, Chinese citizens in Africa are relatively safe," the embassy told the Global Times.

The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria also said there is no evidence indicating the local security situation is poor for Chinese citizens specifically. "We have been in close contact with the Chinese community in Nigeria to get to know their situation," it added.

Protecting the safety and health of Chinese citizens there is a major task for China's diplomatic system in Africa during the virus outbreak, ambassadors said. 

In the past few months, the embassy in Algeria has helped transport some Chinese people in need back to China on chartered planes. For those who stay in Algeria, it reminds them to obey local laws and customs, and ask the police and the embassy for help when encountering problems. "We suggest Chinese citizens neither show off their wealth nor go to remote places alone," said the embassy.

Sterilize 'political virus'

While making efforts in helping African people in fighting against the deadly coronavirus, Chinese diplomats are also trying hard to sterilize the "political virus" that some Westerners make and spread to hurt China and China-Africa relations.

France 24, a French state-owned TV channel based in Paris, interviewed an international relations scholar in its program in late March who publicly attacked China's virus-fighting support for Algeria as part of its "diplomatic propaganda" and even a "humiliation for Algerians." Responding to the remarks, the Chinese Embassy in Algeria posted a statement later that day on Facebook and with local influential private French-language media outlet TSA, introducing to Algerians the details of China's support and condemning the "false, hostile, defamatory and ignorant words" of the scholar in attacking the joint efforts of China and Algeria in the fight against COVID-19.

The statement became a focus for both Algerian mainstream media and netizens in the next day with over 104,000 views on Facebook, the embassy recalled. "China's sincere assistance has been highly appreciated by the Algerian government and people," it said. "Any attempt to smear China's help or to provoke a rift between the two countries will never succeed."

Similarly, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria fights against the West's "political virus" through various channels such as social media, media outlets and round-table symposiums, said the embassy.

"What really changes this narrative (the West's malicious accusations) is the fact that our Nigerian brothers and sisters have their own fair judgment," it said. "In Nigeria, we are shoulder to shoulder with our Nigerian 'allies' in fighting the Western political virus."

Several leading Nigerian newspapers published the full text of Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19, a Xinhua News Agency article in May which revealed 24 preposterous allegations and lies that US politicians and media outlets had been fabricating to attack China on the pandemic, the embassy said.

Also, government officials, scholars and media in Nigeria have stood up to dismiss the rumors by propagating truth and facts, the embassy said. "They advocate mutual understanding and a brotherhood of the two countries, frustrating the evil attempts to undermine our friendly cooperative relations," it told the Global Times.

Photo: courtesy of Chinese Embassy in Algeria

Helping hand

The mutual assistance and support between China and African countries in the fight against COVID-19 once again proves the deep friendship and spirit of togetherness of the two sides, Chinese diplomats in Arica said.

The Chinese Embassy in Kenya has been busy with coordinating the virus-prevention supplies being transported from China to Kenya. It also contributes to the smooth running of some major China-Kenya cooperative projects during the virus outbreak, such as the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, to ensure safe transportation of medical materials amid the pandemic, the embassy said.

"Kenya offered China precious support when China was having a difficult time fighting the virus," it told the Global Times. "Now we would like to stand with Kenya as it needs China."

During the pandemic China assigned a medical team to Algeria, which was the first official COVID-19 medical team that the Chinese government sent to North Africa and the Maghreb areas, said the Chinese Embassy in Algeria. 

China is Algeria's biggest international aid partner amid the pandemic, the embassy told the Global Times. It has offered Algeria batches of supplies including masks, testing kits and respirators, and has helped Algeria to purchase and import more items from China when the world was in urgent need of medical supplies.

The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria has conveyed two batches of medical supplies from the Chinese government to the Nigerian government. The third batch is on the way, said the embassy.

It also donated virus-prevention items to more than 100 schools in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and encouraged the local Chinese community to fulfill their social responsibility in fighting against the virus shoulder to shoulder with local residents, the embassy added, citing the China General Chamber of Commerce in Nigeria which made a 48 million Naira ($123,917) donation to the Nigerian government. 

And China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation helped in building two makeshift hospitals with a combined bed capacity of over 800.

"Our collaborations demonstrate the fine tradition of mutual assistance and mutual support between us Chinese and our African brothers and sisters," the embassy said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic will go," it added. "The outbreak is just temporary, but our friendship and cooperation will last long."


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