From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Chinese Ambassador-designate to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, has sensationally revealed how China fought the 2019 novel Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 to a standstill.
In this interview with Sunday Sun in Abuja, Ambassador Jianchun spoke about the extent of China’s input in the fight against the virus locally and internationally, China’s economic recovery process, and the second phase of the 50 years of China-Nigeria diplomatic ties.
Many countries are still surprised at how China was able to fight Coronavirus to a standstill. How did China survive the pandemic?
China, I think, did not only survive, China is arriving from this pandemic because the Chinese government, the Chinese people and Chinese scientists are working together. So, we think that the leadership is very important because of the precautionary, preventive measures it is putting in place, especially since the outbreak in Wuhan. We think that people’s lives are of paramount importance. So, at that time, we spent a lot of time, invested a lot of money in order to see how we could prevent, how we could curb, especially to try to see everything we can to save lives. This is the situation now. We have no stable situation yet, but we have curbed the deteriorating situation. In China now, we have less than double digits cases. So, we are working hard and trying to do the things we can to control the situation in China. Internationally speaking, we really contributed more, not only information, not only the mastering of treatment or therapeutic message because we believe that this is a common enemy that needs international cooperation. The Chinese government, the Chinese people, including Chinese embassies all over the world, were working hard and trying, not only to do things for the Chinese, but we are working for all human beings.
How much did it cost China to control the situation financially? Do you have the figures?
I don’t have it. But this is huge money. The most important thing is about the resources from the central level and at the state level. The biggest input is the human resources. At the beginning of the outbreak, we rallied, we called on the doctors and nurses all over China. I think at that time, more than 20,000 doctors and nurses flew to Wuhan and to the city. You know Wuhan is a big city. So, this is the reason we were able to control the outbreak within the nine million people population of the city. This is really very important and for us, we have saved a lot of time for the international community because we were fighting the outbreak, we were fighting the pandemic. At that time, we really gave all countries the time to prepare on how they can fight the pandemic.
What measures has China put in place to ensure that its economy bounces back?
We have to strike a balance between the economy and the pandemic. So, we believe in how we can find ways and try to give a big push to the economy because if we cannot develop, we cannot move forward and we cannot have good economy. This is one side. The other side is about how we can have strict measures to control and prevent the pandemic. In China, you know we have very, very strict regulations. For example, all the cities from state level, central level and also from the grassroots, when we find that a single case occurred, the whole city will be triggered to a system and to try to detect, try to find the specific case if it is the spreading case. So, we have strict measures to detect the case and try to cure and try to treat the specific cases.
What lessons can Nigeria learn from China in terms of economic recovery?
I spoke to many people here in Nigeria about the situation here. My personal observation here is that the government and the people are doing a lot of things. The most important thing is how the general public follow the instructions; follow the rules stipulated by the government. I think that everything is under control, but I do believe that more people should be truly given the opportunity to work, to find a job, to earn a living for their household. But the most important thing is about the vaccine. This is not the final way to deal with this problem, but I think that it is very, very important to get the people vaccinated. So, I am working hard and trying to let Chinese vaccines to be here.
China and Nigeria marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral ties this year. Going forward, what new areas are both countries looking at?
I am thinking in the next 50 years, how we can define the relations between our two countries. We are very proud to say that we have done a lot of things in the past 50 years. In the coming 50 years, I would like to have a situation where we have different performing instruments from Nigeria and from China and also, we have different players. So, that means we have different conductors. I am very happy that the two sides have established the mechanism of a bi-national commission. On the Chinese side is the foreign minister and here is the foreign minister. The two foreign ministers will be the conductors and I am hoping that the end of this year or next year, the two sides will have a meeting. So, this year, which is the early beginning of the next 50 years, I am thinking of how we can do more things to try to last the two countries not only in the political relations, economic relations, but I do believe that China and Nigeria can do big things.