World Newsletter

24 March 2020



President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke over phone on Monday night and voiced support for the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.


On behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi extended sincere sympathies to the British government and people over their fight against the coronavirus disease. Upon request, he introduced China's epidemic prevention and control measures.


Xi stressed that China hopes that Britain will enhance coordination with China to minimize the risk of the epidemic's spread while ensuring necessary flow of people and trade.


China is ready to provide support and help for Britain, said Xi, adding that he is confident that Britain will surely prevail over the epidemic under Johnson's leadership.


Reiterating that the Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting the health and safety of Chinese citizens overseas, Xi expressed his hope that Britain will take concrete and effective measures in safeguarding the health, safety and legitimate rights of Chinese nationals on its soil, particularly those studying in Britain.


Viruses know no national boundaries or races, and only by working together can mankind win the battle against them, Xi pointed out.


He called on all nations to push forward cooperation within the frameworks of the United Nations and the Group of 20 (G20), enhance the sharing of information and experience, boost collaboration in scientific research, support the WHO in playing its due role, and improve global health governance.


They should also increase macro-economic policy coordination, so as to stabilize the market, maintain economic growth, safeguard people's well-being, and keep the global supply chains open, stable and safe, added the Chinese president.


Xi said he believes that after beating the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Britain will have deeper mutual understanding and more extensive consensus, as well as broader prospects for bilateral cooperation.


For his part, Johnson said he congratulates the Chinese government and people on the remarkable achievements they have made in epidemic prevention and control with strenuous efforts and enormous sacrifices.


At present, the COVID-19 situation in Britain is grave, he said, adding that Britain has been studying and learning from China's useful experience and taking scientific and effective prevention and control measures.


He said the British side thanks China for its valuable support and help and will do its best to take care of the health and safety of Chinese nationals in Britain, especially the students.


The prime minister said he fully agrees with Xi that no country can wall itself off from the epidemic and all countries should strengthen cooperation. Britain, he added, supports the WHO in playing an important role, and hopes that all parties will deepen relevant cooperation within G20 and other multilateral frameworks.


Noting that China and Britain will hold the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference respectively this year, Johnson said the two sides should take them as opportunities to promote international cooperation in health and epidemic prevention.


He added that he looks forward to maintaining close contact with Xi and visiting China at an early date after the epidemic, so as to jointly promote the development of Britain-China relations.





Wuhan will open travel to outside the city on April 8, with other parts of Hubei province ending their lockdown on Wednesday, according to a government announcement.


The provincial government said on Tuesday areas other than Wuhan will restore outbound traffic on Wednesday and people will need to show a health code – a digital health certificate issued by the province - when leaving the province.


Wuhan will continue stringent traffic control until April 8.


However, starting on Wednesday, migrant workers in Wuhan who hold a "green" health code and wish to return to work outside the city could be transported in groups directly to their destinations after passing a nucleic acid test for novel coronavirus, according to the announcement.


Other travelers with a "green" health code will be able to leave the city on April 8.


People from other provinces will be able to travel within the province with the health code issued by their original provincial regions without the need to present other certificates.


Wuhan will gradually resume production based on epidemic risk evaluation. The opening time of school, including colleges, kindergartens and vocational institutions, is still postponed and will be set at a later time, it said.


The provincial government urged all localities to strictly prevent risks brought by the increase of population flow and gatherings and properly respond to imported risks.


It also asked to refine work arrangements to ensure safe and orderly traffic, and actively promote the resumption of work and production to minimize losses and restore normal economic and social development as soon as possible.





Greater China-US economic cooperation and ties are urgently needed to help the world face the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to analysts.


The COVID-19 pandemic has hit global supply chains and demand in various sectors hard, which means the world's two largest economies must take the lead and work together to fight the disease, reduce its negative effects and aid economic recovery, analysts agreed in an online forum organized by major independent think tank Center for China and Globalization on March 19.


The outbreak, which first hit Central China's Hubei province, is being felt across the globe, with hot spots now including Europe and the United States, meaning that all countries must surmount their differences and overcome the crisis together, said the think tank's vice-president Gao Zhikai, who moderated the forum.


The event, tapping the latest in advanced videoconferencing technology as part of anti-outbreak measures to limit physical contact, drew more than 560,000 participants and viewers worldwide.


For one, even as China has achieved significant results in its fight against the disease while the US is in a national emergency because of the pandemic, trade cooperation between the two must continue to help cope with any economic fallout, Gao said.


"China and the United States are the two largest economies in the world … managing their relations effectively, instead of pointing fingers and exerting pressure on one another, is of great concern to everyone," he said.


Cui Fan, a professor from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the countries must push ahead with negotiations to ease trade tensions to help stem any economic crisis that may arise from the pandemic.


"The outbreak in China currently seems to be under control, but it still faces challenges beyond that such as economic slowdown, disruptions in global supply chains and affected businesses," Cui said.


"China and the United States should now strengthen economic and trade dialogue and the implementation of existing agreements."


China and the US inked a phase one trade deal in January, marking a high point in their nearly two years of trade tensions. Last month, China moved to halve tariffs on imports of a number of US products that followed recent tariff reduction decisions by the world's largest economy.


But even as economists began to hail the reciprocal moves, latest warnings are increasingly calling for the world to brace for economic recession due to the pandemic.


"Implementing what has been achieved effectively in the trade negotiations would be ideal … but that requires a lot of effort and proactive communication is key."





People who disturb Chinese inspection and quarantine designed to control the novel coronavirus outbreak at customs will be held liable no matter where they are from, the country's judicial authorities said on Tuesday.


The Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate highlighted the fight against crimes relating to border health and quarantine, noting offenses should follow Chinese laws and offenders may face criminal charges.


This is not about nationalities and also applies to stateless people, the national top court and top procuratorate added.


As it is witnessing a rising risk of imported infections of COVID-19, China has been tightening inspection and quarantine measures in international flights and ports in recent weeks.


On March 16, for example, five central authorities, including the top court and the top procuratorate, issued a guideline warning that travelers who deliberately hide their symptoms or fail to truthfully report their health condition when they come to China could face prison time.


When handling offenses among exit and entry, Chinese courts nationwide have also strengthened efforts in hearing civil disputes through online platforms to meet litigants' demands and protect their safety and health.


From when the epidemic began in January to March 18, courts at each le

level filed 2.12 million civil cases, of which 898,000 have been concluded, statistics released by the top court said on Tuesday.


It also disclosed 10 typical civil cases relating to business resumption, such as those on enterprise shutdowns and delay of financial loans due to the epidemic, to show judicial determination to help companies alleviate disputes during the outbreak.


Courts across the country will continue offering strong legal protection and better legal services to support resumption of enterprises, the top court added.





Public health workers in Hubei province, the area hardest hit by the novel coronavirus in China, started participating in a weeklong training session on Sunday to improve their abilities in prevention and control of the virus.


The training, organized by the National Health Commission and Hubei's COVID-19 epidemic control headquarters, is also aimed at fostering a team of talent in the province capable of providing improved overall health services to meet the increasing demand from the public in the long run.


The training will cover staff from various levels of public health service providers in Hubei, ranging from officials at the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention to grassroots public health workers at community hospitals and township health centers, according to the commission.


Yu Xuejun, vice-minister of health, said the training, which lasts a week, will focus on COVID-19 control and prevention but will also include control and prevention of other diseases.


In particular, the training will be integrated with the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic control efforts in Hubei so public health workers across the province will be more prepared to cope with epidemic risks, restoration of production and the return of migrant workers, he said.


Meanwhile, disease control and prevention staff from other parts of China who are in Hubei to help fight the epidemic will also provide tailored training to local staff.


The epidemic, although contained in China, has exposed loopholes and deficiencies in public health management, Yu said.


"Our ability to provide services lags behind the health demands from the public," he said. "We must not only try to improve the ability of disease control and prevention staff workers in Hubei in terms of COVID-19 control and prevention, but also try to improve their overall ability to provide public health services."


Wang Hesheng, another vice-health minister who is also a top official in Hubei, said the training will not interrupt epidemic control and prevention work in the province, as sustained efforts are still needed to cope with possible epidemic risks with the restoration of production and inflow of visitors from other epidemic-affected countries.


Wang called on centers for disease control of all levels to play a more professional role in the prevention and control of outbreaks, including clearly identifying all close contacts of patients, to ensure no loopholes are left.


As a major city and a transport hub in Central China, Wuhan faces higher risks of importing COVID-19 cases, Wang said, adding that targeted plans and measures should be formulated to prevent a possible rebound of infections.





Chinese scientists and doctors from the front lines can help other nations formulate their own response plans and contain the pandemic by sharing their practical know-how and key data regarding COVID-19 with foreign peers, experts said.


Since China has wrestled the disease to its knees over the past few weeks, experts have become more available and are sharing their insights with the rest of the world through workshops, video calls and news briefings.


The topics with the most amount of foreign interest are quarantine measures, diagnosis methods and treatments, especially for patients in severe and critical condition.


Some of these outreach efforts are done through official channels like embassies or government institutions, but many experts are also getting their knowledge out through universities, hospitals, civil societies and other grassroots agencies.


"Almost all the suggestions for improvement given by Chinese experts have been accepted by their Italian peers," Li Junhua, the Chinese ambassador to Italy, said in a video call with China Central Television.


"I believe the situation in Italy will gradually come under control as more rigorous prevention and control is implemented."


Tang Menglin, the head nurse of a medical delegation sent to Italy, said the friendship between Italy and China will deepen through this joint battle against the pandemic.


"We Chinese medics are the bridge linking the two peoples now," Tang said.


Last week, doctors from Zhejiang province held a video conference with peers from Yale University in the United States.


The Chinese participants shared practical advice ranging from trial drugs and their potential side effects to how to conduct surgeries on critical patients.


"By looking at the current statistics, the disease's global mortality rate is no lower than that in China," said Liang Tingbo, a medical professor from Zhejiang University.


"We must share our experience and methods with the world, including some of our shortcomings, so that other nations can avoid making the same mistakes and help save more people."





Chinese stocks surged on Tuesday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 2.34 percent at 2,722.44 points.


The Shenzhen Component Index closed 2.37 percent higher at 9921.68 points.


The ChiNext Index, China's NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, rose 2.73 percent to close at 1876.91 points.





China will strengthen financial support to its border and cross-border economic cooperation zones to create better condition for companies to resume production, as well as foster fresh momentum for foreign trade growth, according to the Ministry of Commerce.


Government departments and policy banks will provide guidance and financial support to companies operating in border and cross-border economic cooperation zones and resolve urgent issues such as ensuring capital turnover and broadening the financing channels to assure smooth operation of their industrial and supply chains, to minimize the impact caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, said a circular jointly unveiled by the Ministry of Commerce and the Export-Import Bank of China on Tuesday.


The government will raise credit support in key areas and promote the growth of industrial complex in its border and cross-border economic cooperation zones, encourage businesses in these areas to undertake industrial transfers and diversify goods trade categories, especially with markets participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, the document said.


China will expand policy coverage by attracting more foreign companies to establish facilities within border and cross-border economic cooperation zones to further diversify these areas' developing strength.


The Export-Import Bank of China is a State-funded and State-owned policy bank with the status of an independent legal entity. Under the leadership of the State Council, the bank provides financial services to China's foreign trade, investment and international economic cooperation.





In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. - Eric Hoffer

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