The Chinese Ambassador, Sun Weidong, has recently praised India’s ‘kindness’ towards China in these troubled times.
As social media circulates fake and half-true images of China and the coronavirus outbreak, both China and the UN agencies are understandably tense. China reiterated rumours about COVID-19 or cornavirus were terrible and had the potential to stigmatise Chinese people around the world.
Dismissing conspiracy theories around COVID-19, China’s Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong, said while talking to the media, “The virus is terrible, but rumour is more terrible. The coronavirus is in nature, and not man-made.”
He was obviously referring to conspiracy theories awash in social media that somehow the virus escaped from a laboratory that was in the business of developing biological weapons.
Appealing to the media not to pay credence to such rumours, he said such rumours “will create panic and overreaction, and harm people-to-people relations. We must ensure that truth outweighs rumours and sciences prevail over ignorance.”
Weidong said based on the analysis of genomic sequence, it is now known that the virus originates from nature.
“Stigma and discrimination come from panic, lack of understanding and empathy. Only through mutual understanding and cooperation can we truly overcome the epidemic,” he said.
“At this difficult times, I am deeply touched by the kindness of the Indian friends,” the envoy said at a press conference in New Delhi. “All these reminded me of the time when Dr Kotnis saved many lives and made great contribution to the Chinese people’s liberation cause.” Sun was referring to Indian doctor Dwarkanath Kotnis, who died in the 1940s while treating wounded Chinese soldiers during the country’s conflict with Japan. Kotnis is revered in China.
The Chinese ambassador said India had showed willingness to stand by Beijing by providing aid. He also recollected the time when an Indian delegation had visited China during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, outbreak in 2003. “At that time, I had the honour to receive a delegation from India led by the then foreign minister George Fernandes, who visited Shanghai during the epidemic,” he added.
“China and India are actively collaborating on epidemic prevention and control,” Sun says. “We keep India informed and updated of the epidemic, provided necessary assistance and convenience for the return of Indian citizens in Hubei, and ensured the health and safety of Indian nationals in China.”
He claimed the epidemic was under control, and added the number of confirmed cases outside Hubei province had decreased for 14 days straight as of Monday. “This is a cumulative drop of over 50%,” ANI quoted him as saying. “The epidemic in Hubei and Wuhan is being managed more effectively. There is a rapid increase in cure rate from 1.3 % to 8.2%. Over 12,000 people have recovered and are being discharged from hospitals.”
[based on media reports]