Over the past several decades, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been an exemplary example for many good reasons. The PRC has been absolutely notable for not only being the world’s most populous nation, but for its economic boom and becoming the world’s second largest economy after the United States.
By Charles Gbollie (PhD), Contributor, [email protected]
In spite of its huge population of 1.38 billion people, over 500 million of whom have been taken out of abject poverty to middle-income level, the Asian continent’s leader, China is also noted for its self-sufficiency in food production. Not only has the nation transcended from feeding its citizens and foreign residents, it supplies to many other countries as well. Apart from food, the Chinese nation is also a leading producer and supplier of major essential commodities in the world.
Unarguably, there is barely any nation in the world that has not felt the impact of this emerging superpower, China. Particularly for Africa, China has not only made its presence visible, but the Chinese nation has been a leading force to reckon with in pushing Africa’s growth, development and transformation agendas in different spheres.
For instance, China has been one of Liberia’s truest and most reliable partners. As a consequence of the flourishing bilateral relations subsisting between the two countries, there is generally no sector in the recuperating Liberia that has not experienced the positive impact of PRC. From education to health; from agriculture to the security sector; from economic revitalization, and infrastructure to basic social services and the media, China has always stood with Liberia and showed its enormous unflinching supports to the rebuilding process of Africa’s oldest independent state.
But for the past two months in the new decade, the world’s giant China has been in the news for a disparaging reason—the notorious and mysterious pneumonia-like coronavirus, which appears to have originated in the city of Wuhan in China. This unexpected occurrence and the human enemy was discovered at the close of 2019, specifically December 31. Since then the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has been ruthlessly spreading across China and beyond its borders, thus instilling some fear and apprehension around the globe.
Despite the medical and technological sophistications of China and the huge resolve and commitment of the Beijing led administration to vigorously combat and defeat, the menace COVID-19, the virus’ chain of transmission remains somehow unabated at the frustration and dismay of many. As a result, COVID-19 has in some way adversely affected major economic, educational and development activities, especially in the beautiful and daily transforming Wuhan, my favorite city in China with a 5-year residency, being the hardest hit.
Worst of it all, the disease has unfortunately and unthinkably snitched precious and irreparable lives of over 2,800 people, while thousands are being attended to. The COVID-19 situation is quite appalling and disheartening to say the least.
The essence of this article is to simply register empathy and show solidarity toward Liberia’s truest partner and friend, China and to publicly declare that we, the Liberian people, especially the hundreds of Liberians who were trained and/ or are being trained in China that “WE STAND WITH YOU” our dearest friend and partner, China. It is also intended to encourage President Xi’s able government, his team and the wonderful and loving people of China to keep up the fight and adherence to preventive measures until the virus is completely eradicated.
However, before proceeding to address the intent of this article, let me briefly reminiscence why Liberia and Liberians must profoundly empathize and stand with China. In one of my thesis statements of this piece, it was mentioned that “there is generally no sector in the recuperating Liberia that has not experienced the positive impact of PRC.” This is absolutely true. Let me provide few illustrations.
Why Liberians Must Empathize and Stand with China?
Imagine you were a history writer and you are writing on true friendly partners that helped Liberia to recover from its 14-year civil unrests and nightmare. Unarguably, the name China will definitely be key on your list. In other words, the recovery history of Liberia appertaining the 14-year civil unrest cannot be justly written without making reference to China for its role played and being played in this regard.
In the first place, China has been and remains a key player in ensuring that Liberia’s peace and stability is sustained. Thus, not only did China contribute to UNMIL, which help to bring and keep Liberia’s peace, it also contributed to the provision of technical, logistical and other forms of support to Liberia. Some of the trainings as part of the support are still being conducted in China aimed at giving Liberia’s securities a world-class type of training. A donation of equipment valued at US$3 million, including 20 heavy-duty trucks, two graders, 10,000 sets of uniforms, and 40 military tents also remains unnoticeable as part of China’s goodwill
For education, China has educated over 600 Liberians in its annual full scholarships to Liberia. Besides, it has offered short-term training to more than 2,000 civil servants and journalists in the Asian nation. The building of the UL Fendell Campus funded by the Chinese at a cost of $23 million and the state-of-the-art Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) are what they are today because of the charitable assistance of China.
Health-wise, we still recall and use the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional Referral Hospital in Tappita, equipped with 25 Liberian medical personnel trained in China; the Anti-malaria Center in Monrovia and the refurbished Ministry of Health headquarters building at $4.7 million, while some Chinese specialists are also with us, providing healthcare services at some medical centers, including JFK.
And of course, it would be irrational to forget how China raised the red flag during our “health nightmare” when the Ebola Virus Disease struck Liberia and threatened its existence in 2014. Put it differently, it would be a total disservice and incomplete history without briefly mentioning the glorious alarm Beijing raised when the sovereignty of Liberia was at stake or threatened by an invisible and mysterious enemy, ‘Ebola’. The ever-responsive China quickly replied to Liberia’s life-threatening tragedy, giving the first substantive global response. This, beyond all odds, helped to sound the loudest alarm internationally by sending flights loaded with medical supplies and equipment worth over 1.7 million US dollars as well as posted a contingent of the People’s Liberation Army with some civilians to build and operate a “state of the art” 100-bed Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU). What a friend, indeed!
In Liberia’s request to rebuild its infrastructure, the PRC has also played and continues to play a central role. The newly opened to use Ministerial Complex, now housing several ministries and agencies, thus removing unbearable rentals on the head of the GoL, renovation of the SKD Sports Complex; the extension of the Roberts International Airport terminals and building of roads and many more are deeply entrenched in our recovery history and cannot be forgotten. These are some indelible footprints of China apart from the huge debt waiver and direct financial aid given to Liberia.
In the Agriculture sector among others, including the state broadcaster, LBS has seen and experienced China’s goodness to Liberia. What a partner! Indeed, Liberia has journeyed thus far because there have been some good partners like China who have not forsaken us as a nation and people. With no iota of doubt, therefore, we have every reason to empathize and stand with China in its health crisis.
We Empathize and Stand with You, dear China
From the brief retrospection of China’s role in Liberia’s recovery drives, it is absolutely obvious that as Liberians, we have every reason to empathize and stand with the Chinese people and nation. They had always been and continue to stand with Liberia. They are an epitome of a trustable friendship and partnership in our global village. And of course, the decision by the 51st Legislature to legalize the “One China Policy” was one of the best moves in our country’s forward match history.
Though we may not be as powerful and resourceful as you, China, we (Liberians) wish to wholeheartedly empathize and pledge to stand with you in your current COVID-19 outbreak. We feel your pinch, anguish, lockdown, and loss. Again, our profound sympathy and empathy to you, China and your beloved citizenry for the loss, inconveniences, and economic turmoil the Coronavirus has caused you and the world in general. We may not be sophisticated and advanced as you to lift a consignment of medical supplies or manpower to help ameliorate the situation as you did for us in 2014, we are giving you our hearts of solidarity, empathy and sympathy to you, good friend and partner. In short, we want to use this medium to say we empathize and stand with you our dearest, truest and reliable partner, PRC.
As an individual who has hugely benefited from your kind gestures and goodwill, thus obtaining both graduate and postgraduate degrees in China, in fact, in the now hardest hit city, Wuhan, I’m deeply aware of your sophistication, courage, strength, intelligence, and resilience. And, I strongly believe that you have more than what it takes to defeat and trash out this unknown and gruesome enemy, COVID-19 in the soonest possible time.
My confidence is profoundly based on my experience with your audacity to overcome challenges in order to ignite change and foster development. Retrospectively, the world remembered how China during the 60s and 70s initiated the process of economic emancipation and redemption and today, you are a proud success story with 500 million plus of your people being out of abject poverty. This is a clear demonstration that you are absolutely equipped and prepared to handle the present situation. We are confident that you will do it again.
Especially with the current able and innovative leadership of President Xi, we are even more confident that the situation would be swiftly overcome sooner than later. My personal plea for all Chinese and foreign residents in China is to continuously stand firm with the Chinese government and health authorities in compliance, exercising patience as the battle to end COVID-19 continues. Hence, keep up the fight and observance of all preventive measures as much as possible. On the other hand, considering that we all live in one global village with any occurrence in one nation, having the proclivity to directly or indirectly affect others, I wish to entreat other nations, including Liberia to give their fullest support to China as it really needs it now than ever before. Every support counts!
Our Prayers are with You
King Solomon was and is still right. There is time for everything and season for every purpose under the heavens. The time for the Coronavirus will definitely be over soon; therefore, let’s hold on and never lose faith. It is our collective prayers that the Creator will grant you (China) abundant wisdom and empower you to eradicate and defeat the virus as soon as possible to enable you to continue making the difference in the world.
Before bringing this article to a close, let me take this time to commend the Chinese President Xi and his team for the exemplary leadership shown thus far in the handling of the virus. Our heartfelt gratitude also goes to the Chinese people and foreign residents, especially Liberians living in China for putting their hands on the plow in support of the fight. Some evidence increasingly shows that COVID-19 seems to be more challenging to contain, yet you keep making frantic efforts to get the situation under control. Thanks!
As a test to your potential and strength to overcome any adversity, which we have no doubt that you will overcome, we ardently hope that you will be greatly endowed with wisdom and understanding as a government to lead your people and the world to conquer this menace, COVID-19.
In conclusion, from those who you trained and transformed in your learning institutions and the ones you helped us build in Liberia to those who are benefiting from healthcare services you helped build or refurbish, we empathize and stand with you! From those who are working in the Ministerial Complex you helped us build to those who play at the SKD you helped us build, we empathize and stand with you! From those who normally use the RIA you helped us extend and refurbish to all of us who are now enjoying peace and stability you graciously contributed to, we empathize and stand with you! And, from all those you have directed or indirectly assisted and even those yet to be assisted, we say thank you, China; and we strongly empathize and stand with you in the amidst of this Coronavirus situation.
May the Almighty God grant you increased wisdom and fortitude to defeat and eradicate this menace, COVID-19 in the soonest possible time. Again, Liberia and Liberians empathize and stand with you and we wish you all the best in this and future endeavors. Long live the People’s Republic of China and Liberia; long live the Liberia-China relations.