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On China's Assistance to Africa in the Fight against Ebola

I. The Ebola disease which first broke out in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone in March has kept spreading in West Africa and even tocountries out of Africa such as the United States and Spain, has become "the most severe public health crisis" to the international community in modern history. Not only threatens the lives and health of people in the epidemic-afflicted countries, but also constitutes a practical threat to world peace and stability, it has aroused high concern in the international community.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have given important instructions on many occasions on epidemic prevention in China and on assisting Africa in the fight against Ebola. At the instruction of the leaders, a Comprehensive Working Mechanism of Ebola Epidemic Prevention of the State Council was established with Vice-premier Liu Yandong at the Head. State Councillor Yang Jiechi mobilize and arrange efforts on epidemic prevention in China and on assisting Africa in the fight against Ebola many times. Departments of the central government including the National Health and Family Planning Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, the General Staff of the PLA and local authorities all over the country plays their due roles in close collaboration with each other, and the epidemic prevention of Ebola in China is now quite effective and successful.

Even in early August, when the spread of Ebola is more and more serious in the above mentioned West Africa Countries while the international community had not paid enough attention to the situation, the Chinese government took the lead at the calls by heads of state of the three countries and Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, provided the most needed materials to affected areas with chartered plane in one week. It demonstrates the nature of China-Africa relations featuring "the sharing of weal and woe". It has also reflected China's concept on China-Africa cooperation featuring "sincerity, real results, affinity, and trust-worthiness" through its real action.

II. On October 24th, when meeting President Kikwete of Tanzania who was paying a state visit in China, President Xi Jinping announced a new round of assistance measures totaling RMB 500 million Yuan on behalf of the Chinese government. This was the fourth round of assistance provided by China since the outbreak, which was also of the ever greatest intensity.

A highlight of this fourth batch of assistance is to build a 100-bed treatment center in Liberia, where the epidemic is most serious. The center will be managed and operated by the elite squad of the People's Liberation Army of China who has the experience of fighting SARS. The center is expected to be put to use within 30 days. Once open, it will be the only treatment center in the three epidemic-stricken countries up to now that is constructed, staffed and operated by a foreign country. Chinese government has selected and trained 480 medical staff from the PLA, and they will go to Liberia in three batches, each consisting 160 people, to treat local Ebola patients.

Also in the fourth batch of assistance, Chinese government will provide the three countries with 60 ambulances, 100 motorcycles, 10,000 health-care kits, 150,000 personal protection equipment as well as other materials such as hospital beds, pick-up trucks, and incinerators, etc.. China will send public health experts consultancy teams and more public health personnel to help with and participate in epidemic prevention and control efforts of their governments, share Chinese experience, and train local personnel. China willlaunch a long-term plan for China-Africa public health cooperation, to help African countries to strengthen their public health systems and capacity building. China will also donate US$ 6 million to the UN Ebola Response Multi-partner Trust Fund and work with international organizations and countries such as the UN, AU as well as the US, France to help African countries to defeat Ebola as soon as possible.

As a matter of fact, China had already sent three batches of emergency assistance to Western African countries to fight Ebola in April, August and September worth of around RMB 250 million Yuan in total. Up to now, China's total assistance to Africa has reached RMB 750 million, covering 13 African countries as well as international and regional organizations such as the UN, the WHO and the AU. There are nearly 200 medical staff in the region at present and with the addition of the fourth batch of assistance, the experts and medical staff sent by China to the region will surpass 700.

III. Although China's assistance in four batches does not feature the largest amount, it is the longest-lasting with the biggest intensity in China's history of responding to global non-traditional security crises, which has the following five salient features:

The first feature is "new".President Xi sent messages of condolences to heads of state of the three countries at the beginning of August. He also anounced the third and fourth batch of assistance himself. It reflects the care of the highest leadership of China to the governments and people of epidemic-afflicted countries in Western African and the great attention paid to assisting these countries to fight the epidemic, which is rare in the history of China's assistance to Africa. It was also the first time in history of China's assistance to Africa that China rented chartered flights to transport epidemic-prevention materials most needed to the three countries at the top speed. It is unprecedented in history that China transport a mobile lab to Sierra Leone, establish and operate a treatment center in Liberia. deploye whole unit of epidemic prevention forces and military medical staff abroad.

The second feature is "fast". China has been quick in its assistance and implementation. At the beginning of August, the epidemic-prevention materials have been delivered only one week after the second batch of assistant was announced by the Chinese side. On 24th October, President Xi announced to launch the fourth batch of assistance. After that, the public health experts working in the China-assisted treatment center in Liberia departed form Beijing on 25th , the charted plane fully loaded with building materials and medical materials arrived in the capital of Liberia at the morning of 26th, and another two charted planes arrived in Monrovia on 29th. So far, the building materials and medical materials for the treatment center assisted by China to Liberia have arrived, and the construction has been formally launched. It is expected that construction will be completed and operation will begin within 30 days. The first batch of the medical team of 160 people will leave for Liberia in two weeks. Even the President Sirleaf of Liberia was deeply touched and astonished by the China Speed. She said, the fact-finding group has just left last week, and the equipment and stuff for the treatment center is here in Liberia this week. China has honored her words, acted fast and won esteem of Liberia.

The third feature is "practical". In its assistance to Africa, China has always been trustworthy and honored its promises. Its assistance is highly effective and targeted. The epidemic-prevention materials, cash aid, food and mobile labs it provides are the most urgently needed in afflicted areas. It is said that China's assistance accounts for two thirds of total assistance received in Guinea. The epidemic-prevention materials used in the ten neighbouring countries are almost entirely assisted from China.

The fourth feature is "comprehensive". China not only provided much-needed material assistance to epidemic-stricken countries, what's more precious is that President Xi sent messages of condolences to the heads of state of the three countries. Premier Li Keqiang held telephone conversations with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.All this demonstrates the political and moral support of the highest leadership of China for affected countries and the UN. China's assistance not only benefits the three most affected countries, the 10 neighboring countries, China also provided financial assistance to the UN,the WHO,the AU and other relevant international and regional organizations, It includes not only hard assistance such as materials, food, cash, lab and treatment center but also soft assistance like the dispatch of experts on epedemic prevention and medical staff , sharing of experience and joint research.

The fifth feature is "open". China believe that love is boundless and is always takes an active and open attitude towards international cooperation to fight the epidemic. Chinese medical teams are working side by side with their colleagues from three epidemic-stricken countries and other countries with adequate communication and sharing of experiences. China has actively supported and comprehensively participated in the mechanism of international cooperation and coordination under the auspices of the UN and the WHO, and cooperate actively with the America,France and Britain. Embassies of our four countries in the epidemic-stricken nations have kept coordinating and communicating. There are already a lot of tangible results from tripartite cooperation between China and America in Liberia . When the three Chinese chartered planes arrived in Liberia on 26 and 29 this month, American air force based in the airport voluntarily sent out heavy-duty forklift in a timely manner to unload the assistance materials. During the visit to China by the French foreign minister, the two countries issued joint news release on anti-Ebola cooperation on 19 October.

IV. Currently, Ebola epidemic in West Africa is far from been under control and poses a real threat to the people of the epidemic stricken countries and the whole world. It conforms to the fundamental interest of every country to effectively control the epidemic and contain the epidemic at the root and prevent its further spreading. Thus, the fighting against Ebola epidemic is not only the responsibility of those epidemic-hit countries, but also an obligation of whole international community. China's assistance will not stop as long as Ebola epidemic is not eradicated in West Africa. Only with faster speed of rescue and more input than the speed of the epidemic, can we win this battle.

We strongly urge the international community, the developed countries in particular, to take urgent measures, fulfill its promises as early as possible, and mobilize more resources to further enhance its efforts to provide assistance to Africa. We hope that parties concerned shall enhance communication and coordination, support the leading and coordinating role of the UN and the WHO to make the assistance more effective and targeted with greater synergy so that we can win the final victory in the joint fight against Ebola.

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