CPEC & COVID-19

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Reema Shaukat

China’s strength as economic muscle is globally acknowledged. Certainly, China has emerged to this stature of pecuniary giant with constant struggle and effective policies. Despite many challenges and pressures and US-China trade war, China is keeping its pace with same stride. But recently China is threatened with outbreak of Corona-virus. Reportedly, originating from Australia, this virus reached China and within a few days it created fear world-wide. But despite conspiracies which popped up about this virus we see China’s efforts to tackle Corona’s spread as a success story.

Different countries that were dealing with Chinese trade, somehow halted their trade routes but seeing it as global threat one must remain cognizant of the fact that epidemics know no boundaries or continents. If it can travel simply because of environmental factors, then imagine the threat it has posed to all countries. It must be declared as global emergency not a single country’s issue as many cases are now reported from different parts of the world. Of any kind, foes of China have tried to question its cure and made different elements responsible for it, the resilience of China against all odds is a clear restrained call to them. Though this Corona-virus has affected China’s image for a few days but what needs to be highlighted is China’s efforts to curb this virus once and forever. Numbers of experiment and scientific research have been carried out and still on to exterminate this virus. Future generations will surely thank China for years to come for the kind of extensive research China has done in regards to controlling and finding root cause of such epidemics and contagious diseases.

We have seen China’s unmatched response and energies when the initial few cases of Corona started coming up. On an immediate basis, emergency response centres were set up and we have seen how within days Chinese nation built field hospitals and doctors rendered their services for humanity while imperilling their own life. Recently, a video has been circulating on social media where the robots are used to deliver medicines and food to Corona-virus suspects/virus carrier patients with clear instructions. Such is the level of fight against this COVID-19 virus where many talk and criticize but very few take it up to humanitarian level and go out of the way to save life of the people regardless of caste, creed and colour. Considering it a national emergency, even the common Chinese man or anyone at higher official level, generated all necessary measures to save rest of humans around them. We saw schools, airports, markets and streets of China getting barren, people in isolation centres or home bound in initial days but now when China has found the effective treatment and world has witnessed how people are going back home fully recovered and free of this virus, economic and social activities in China are back to normal. Those who did propaganda against China and Corona have got reply with China’s persistence effort to fight back problems with pride.

Considering the Pak-China friendship higher than mountains and deeper than oceans, Pakistan extended full diplomatic and moral support to China in hours of need. Pakistan sent its fully-trained staff to China and PM Imran Khan in his telephonic call to Chinese President offered Pakistan’s help in construction of field hospitals to which Chinese President reciprocated with appreciation. Where China had to face economic restraints internationally, some negative propaganda was also launched against the CPEC. This billiondollar project is an eye-sore for those countries which are unable to digest Pak-China long-term strategic partnership in many aspects. Hence, time and again they are looking for reasons to criticise this project and with the spread of news of Corona-virus, propaganda was carried out against CPEC too that Pakistan should stop this project. Pakistan being sensible of such news took immediate steps in consultation with Chinese Government and took necessary measures. That’s why Pakistan so far is safe from this life threatening virus but is able to provide adequate facilities to Chinese living within the country.

What is important for all nation-states in the wake of disruption of Corona-virus is their own preparedness. With China being economic power and technologically strong enough, it was able to tackle the situation within weeks whereas if some kind of disease has erupted on other part of the planet, some under developed country might not be able to confront the issue wisely as China did. China engaged all its available resources and scientific channels to win against all odds and found many effective treatments which can help many other countries to use it as a cure in case they face a similar challenge. China’s Global Times in one of news reported that the “2019 novel Corona-virus outbreak has been a huge challenge for China. However, China will never leave the CPEC project unfinished, nor will it let the CPEC collapse despite domestic difficulties. The country and its people are combating the deadly pneumonia through all means possible. China has confidence that it can quell the virus and restore normal order. As a responsible country, China has taken the most vigorous measures to stop the spread of the Corona-virus overseas. Worries that the virus could spread via the CPEC can be dispelled through necessary precautionary measures”. Pakistan’s government also took proper screening arrangements at airports as those who are associated with CPEC and travel frequently between China and Pakistan may remain safe. Another worth appreciating step which China took is of quarantining its Wuhan province, from which the outbreak was reported with most cases. As an economic valour it is not easy to lock down its economic hub just for the sake of saving lives and must be acknowledged that China is undertaking this issue for the sake of humankind.