China’s battle against the Covid-19 virus has become a battle to protect public health and wellbeing, safeguard global prosperity and development, and uphold international moral principles. As the virus continues spreading around the world, this struggle calls for joint international efforts. China will stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the rest of the world. The outcome is of crucial significance for the future of mankind.
China has achieved important success in controlling the epidemic at home and made great contributions to safeguarding global public health and wellbeing. China has engaged in international co-operation openly, transparently and responsibly. China informed the World Health Organisation and relevant countries about the outbreak in timely fashion, shared its experience of prevention, control and treatment, and provided strong support and assistance to countries in need.
China has announced that it will provide $2bn in international aid in the next two years, work with the United Nations to set up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China, and establish co-operation between hospitals in China and 30 hospitals from Africa. When a vaccine is successfully developed in China, we will make it a global public good. China will join other countries to improve global governance on public health. We will build a global community of health.
On the economic front, China has stood the test. It remains the stabiliser and powerhouse for the world economy. The epidemic resulted in an unprecedented 6.8% contraction in the first quarter. Faced with this setback, China has maintained containment measures and taken steps to bolster economic and social development. Factories are reopening. Production lines are switched on again. Shops and restaurants are ready to welcome customers. People are going back to work. All this has been done in an orderly manner.
China will continue to implement the measures known as ‘the six stabilisers’ – steadying employment, the financial market, foreign trade, investment, foreign direct investment and economic expectations. Specific steps known as ‘the six protections’ are being taken to protect employment, basic livelihoods, market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and normal community operations.
China’s economy shows enormous resilience and potential. It has rebounded quickly. As of 18 May, large-scale enterprises were running on 99.1% capacity, with 95.4% of employees back to work. China’s purchasing managers index has been above the stabilisation threshold for three months in a row, reaching 50.6% in May. Areas such as the ‘stay-at-home economy’ (remote communications, office software, video links etc), ‘cloud office’, digital economy, artificial intelligence and medical care have shown strong growth.
China’s economic momentum remains vibrant in the mid-to-long term. China is one of only two economies with GDP over $10tn. It is the only country combining all industries under UN classifications. With a 1.4bn population, a 900m-strong workforce and more than 400m middle-income earners, China is a mega-scale market.
China’s annual two most important political meetings, the ‘two sessions’, were concluded at the end of May. China sent out positive messages on commitment to high-quality economic growth and willingness to work internationally to promote recovery. China remains committed to deeper reform, innovation-driven development and opening-up at a higher level. We will promote co-operation on the Belt and Road initiative. We will make a success of the online 127th China Import and Export Fair and the third China International Import Expo, sharing development benefits with the international community.
The pandemic has changed the economic landscape. Yet in no way has it reversed the trend of economic globalisation. China will continue to take an active part in global economic governance, enhance coordination on macroeconomic policies, uphold the multilateral trading system, safeguard an open world economy, and ensure open, safe and stable global industrial chains.
Struggles between mankind and disease are part of the history of civilisation. Facing a pandemic on a scale not seen over the past century, the world is at a crossroads. Shall we choose science and reason, or spread disinformation? Shall we enhance solidarity and co-operation, or drive a wedge between countries? Shall we uphold multilateralism, or resort to unilateralism? China’s answers underline our belief in a shared future. China will take up its responsibilities as a major global player, joining forces with others to pull in the same direction.
Covid-19 neither knows borders, nor discriminates between races. China, a victim of the virus, has contributed powerfully to the global response. Some people in the West have ignored facts and stigmatised China. This is unhelpful in terms of their domestic response and for international co-operation.
An unprecedented challenge requires unparalleled solidarity. There is always sunshine after the storm. Joint efforts will bring victory over the pandemic. The dark cloud of Covid-19 will give way to a better future. China stands ready to move forward with all countries of the world to ensure that happens.
Liu Xiaoming is Chinese Ambassador to the UK.