Chinese ambassador calls for unity in the fight against the coronavirus

Ambassador Lin Songtian
Ambassador Lin Songtian

“When some people have difficulties, we must sympathise with them. Unfortunately, some people will not stop their fighting.”

These are the words of Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian, speaking on the latest developments around the coronavirus epidemic, at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria earlier today.

“The number of new confirmed cases per day in the whole country has dropped from 3887 on February 4 to 1886 on February 17,” he said.

Songtian added that, despite these successes, challenges still remained. One of these was that China wasn’t getting the support it was hoping for, especially from the United States.

Songtian was referring to the comments made by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo at the Munich Security Conference that concluded on Friday.

“It is unfortunate to see, at this critical juncture of the Chinese people’s fight against the epidemic, as the secretary of state of the only global superpower, Mr Pompeo was not giving kind sympathy or support to the Chinese government and people on behalf of the US government and people, but rather blatantly attacking the Chinese Communist Party and China’s political system,” he said.

In his speech at the conference, Pompeo described China as a country that “exerted pieces of national infrastructure as payment when countries can’t meet the onerous loan terms”.

He added that “cyber security, Huawei and other Chinese state-backed companies are Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence”.

Songtian criticised these “irresponsible” comments on “China’s political system and 5G technology”.

He said that although some people had “made a lot of noise” against the Chinese system, they would be incapable of success should they be faced with a similar crisis.

The number of new confirmed cases per day in the whole country has dropped from 3887 on February 4 to 1886 on February 17.
Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian

Pompeo is on a short tour to Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia to promote US investment for Africa, as well as to support the fight against corruption on the continent.

Songtian said he hoped that Pompeo’s visit to Africa would promote peace, stability and prosperity instead of paying lip service.

On the other hand, the ambassador also hailed China for taking “the most comprehensive and rigorous” approach to contain the epidemic in China and stop it from spreading.

He said some of the achievements since the outbreak included the construction of two special hospitals with a capacity of 2 600 beds in 10 days, 15 cabin hospitals with a capacity of 10 000 beds, the mobilisation of 32 000 medical staff in Yuhang to support those infected and mobilising $10 million to help fund anti-epidemic efforts.

More than 70 000 cases of coronavirus, also referred to as the COVID-19 epidemic, have been reported globally since it was discovered in China in December last year.

Nearly 2000 people have died since the outbreak.


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