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China-Africa unity, joint anti-virus efforts unshaken by rumors
 Xinhua News Agency ·2020-04-26

French television France 24 in an article recently posted on its website debunked some fake videos, reproaching the disinformation that seek to sow discord between China and Africa at a time when the world is grappling against the COVID-19 pandemic.

France 24 said a violent video in which a group of people can be seen beating an African man went viral on Twitter and other social media. The video purporting to show discrimination towards foreign nationals, particularly Africans, in China, is fake, it said, adding that it was an old footage that was shot not in China and had nothing to do with COVID-19.

Such rumors intended to nurture distrust between China and Africa never end, but can not last long as facts always speak louder.

Facts speak louder 

In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, there are 30,768 foreigners including 4,553 Africans as of April 10.

"We take the same prevention and control measures for all personnel entering Guangzhou regardless of their nationality, race and gender," said Liu Baochun, director of the municipal foreign affairs office, when answering questions about local health management services during the COVID-19 epidemic at a press conference on April 12.

Daniel Chisenga, Consul General at the Zambian Consulate in Guangzhou, said there were no cases of any Zambian harassed.

Alima Danfakha Gakou, Consul General of Mali in Guangzhou, told media on April 18 that the various measures have shown the importance Guangdong has attached to African residents, and a communication mechanism has been established between the African consulate generals and Guangdong and Guangzhou authorities.

"The measures taken by Guangdong to prevent the virus are very helpful and we talk about it with great pleasure," said Ethiopian Consul General in Guangzhou Teferi Melesse Desta.

"This is a time of jagged nerves," Charles Onunaiju, an expert in China-Africa studies recently told Xinhua in an interview, when talking about confusion and conflicting information over the conditions of Nigerians living in China.

The relations between China and Nigeria should never be undermined by controversies surrounding the novel coronavirus, he said.

Another fact is that China has been firmly supporting Africa's fight against COVID-19 since the disease broke out on the continent. Despite remaining pressure to contain the epidemic at home, China has donated personal protective equipment, offered relief funds, and sent experienced medical experts, standing ready to assist African countries to the best of its ability.

The latest batch of medical supplies donated by China arrived on April 23 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and is expected to be transferred to Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Lesotho, Madagascar, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Somalia as well as Tanzania's Zanzibar, with more said to come.

Chinese experts and officials from health and customs departments also shared information and experience about COVID-19 in video conferences with specialists from the African Union (AU), the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and various African countries.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the African continent, a 12-member team of Chinese medical experts was dispatched on April 16 by the Chinese Government upon at the request of the Ethiopian Government. On the same day, some other Chinese medical experts arrived in Burkina Faso. China has also activated its medical teams stationed there to help fight COVID-19.

There are nearly 1,000 Chinese medical personnel working in Africa long-term, according to China's National Health Commission.

Cooperation essential 

Mafa Sejanamane, Permanent Representative of Lesotho to the AU and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said that China's support is "essential" to Africa's fight against COVID-19.

"We are pleased that the Chinese people and government are on the forefront of this particular struggle. With the cooperation of all our international partners, we will be able to triumph," said Sejanamane, who is also Lesotho's Ambassador to Ethiopia.

According to the Africa CDC, the death toll from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent passed 1,300 as the number of confirmed cases rose to 27,852 as of Friday afternoon.

"The global community should forge strong partnership if the world has to overcome the crisis," Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the AU and the UNECA, told Xinhua on April 24.

Noting that both the Chinese Government and Chinese enterprises have in recent weeks continued sending shipments of medical supplies to hard-hit countries across Africa, Costantinos said China has been "rallying for global coordination in managing the coronavirus outbreak" and "striving to take the lead against the coronavirus crisis."

"COVID-19 is a global threat, affecting each and every inhabitant of planet earth, with zero regard for ethnicity, social status, wealth or any other of the various strata which have been contrived, over centuries, to set us apart from each other," said Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

"Misguided assumptions with regard to the origin and the consequent attribution of blame take us nowhere, render a difficult situation even more challenging and impact negatively relations between and amongst brotherly nations and peoples," he said.

"Let us not, therefore, allow ourselves to be side-tracked or deflected from the main task at hand by engaging in any form of stigmatization, accusation or blame," said Moyo.

"Blame is not the answer. The answer is organizations, countries, institutions, and governments bringing their resources together to team up to provide these kinds of medical supplies and medical equipment for the protection of the people. So, this is a very good example," said CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde Gebremariam, when commenting on China's contribution to Africa.

Lasting friendship 

Despite challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, African experts said the long-standing Africa-China relations that are based on mutual respect and understanding will remain intact or become even stronger.

"Pandemics or differences will come and go, but the Africa-China relations will remain because they are built on sound principles and understanding," said Owen Sichone, immediate past Director at Zambia's Copperbelt University Dag Hammarskjold Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

"Trade between Africa and China will continue, so will the scientific and cultural exchanges between the two because they are part of their relations," said Professor Sichone.

"China and Africa have come a long way in their friendship. Both have a lot to show for their cordial relations," said Lawrence Banda, Vice Secretary General of Universal Peace Federation-Zambia Chapter, noting that China's support to Africa on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a demonstration of its commitment to the continent.

"The joint Africa-China COVID-19 fight efforts will further help to cement relations, which are expected to go on smoothly forward," said Banda.

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