Airport staff unload boxes of face masks and medical supplies from an airplane of Air China, in Athens, Greece, on March 21, 2020. Approximately eight tons of medical supplies provided by the Chinese government to Greece after Athens’ urgent request arrived on Saturday morning at Athens international airport on an Air China flight.The aid consists of 550,000 masks and sets of protective gear, according to a release issued by the Chinese embassy in Greece.
An absurd theory is emerging in international public opinion. It maliciously suggests that China is “culpable” for the global coronavirus pandemic, and that what the country is doing – such as providing foreign assistance – is an atonement for its “sins.” Such rhetoric is completely groundless and is nonsense.
There is no scientific conclusion as to the origin of novel coronavirus. But that doesn’t stop some groundlessly accusing China of being the “origin” of the coronavirus, and a few conspiracy theorists even allege the virus came from a Chinese laboratory. However, a research article released on March 17 by the medical journal Nature Medicine explicitly concluded that the coronavirus “is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.” Robert Garry, one of the authors of the study, also made clear that Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market “wasn’t the origin of the virus,” saying “our analyses, and others too, point to an earlier origin than that.” In this regard, China has no “sin” to be atoned for.
Some claim China should be “held accountable” due to its “delays” at the early stage of the outbreak. But the truth is, China has adopted stringent and effective measures since January, including locking down Wuhan, which sent a strong message and bought valuable time for the rest of the world at a painful cost. But did any Western country pay attention? They were only looking at China’s trouble with indifference or even taking pleasure in it, squandering the precious window of opportunity.
The coronavirus used to be deemed a domestic crisis for China. However, the virus has caused a global pandemic, with the US and Europe becoming new epicenters. The Chinese government started to notify the US of epidemic information on a regular basis since January 3.
European countries have shown little solidarity amid the pandemic. Some EU member states banned exports of medical materials to other members. Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, asked for help but no EU members answered. It was China who gave a hand.
All in all, the “atonement” theory is only a political trick played by some politicians. They blame China for everything and say it shirks its responsibility. Even the coronavirus itself is not as bad as a “political virus.”
China is providing the world with humanitarian assistance, medical supplies and anti-epidemic experience only because of the following reasons.
First, China has already got through the hardest time, but the worst has not yet been seen in many countries. Many countries offered timely help to China during its difficult time. China will never shut its eyes to other countries’ misfortune.
Second, China will not be safe until the entire world is safe. Most newly reported cases in China have been imported ones in recent days. All mankind shares a common community, and China can never wall itself off. Helping others at this time is helping itself.
Third, a large number of Chinese are studying or working overseas, and the home country has an obligation to protect them. As it is unlikely to evacuate all of them, only when the risks in foreign countries are lowered can the safety of overseas Chinese be protected.
Fourth, as a world manufacturing power, China is in a position to supply the world with much-needed materials. With the production in China gradually resuming, the country is able to produce millions of face masks per day. China is now aiding countries with relatively weak medical systems and providing others with convenience when they purchase made-in-China medical supplies.
Fifth, China’s successful experience in combatting the virus is undoubtedly vital to other countries. China is now sharing experience with various countries through video conferences and other channels. The virus is a common enemy facing the world, China’s experience earned from blood and tears is worthy of global attention.
China’s behavior throughout the outbreak has demonstrated that it takes its international responsibilities seriously, as is commensurate with its status and with Chinese traditions. It is in no way some kind of “atonement” for some “crime” which the country has never committed.