Chinese in Africa fight COVID-19 with local communities side by side

By Yang Ning, Liu Xiaoyi
Chinese living in Africa are actively joining local efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as the disease is spreading on multiple continents of the world.
They made cash and material donations, advanced salaries to local employees, and delivered food for local communities. They are seen everywhere as Africa is making all-out efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
“Most of the people here are hospitable and friendly, and they offered my help many times when I was in trouble,” said Wang Jun, a Chinese who has been living in Angola for 10 years.
After the country declared a national state of emergency on March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many local employees lost their source of income as enterprises are requested by the government to suspend operation.
“I have a lot of friends here, and we want to do something we can,” said Wang.
According to Wang, around 2.6 million kwanza ($4,645) was raised in less than a day by 80 Chinese in Saurimo, Angola’s Lunda Sul province who established a chat group on social application WeChat. The money was later used to buy food and daily necessities, Wang introduced.
On April 14, Wang and other Chinese in the city arrived at the health department of Lunda Sul province, with 10 pickups fully loaded with materials.
“We just want to do this. Angola is my second hometown, so I hope we can unite at the critical moment,” Wang said.
Apart from the donation, some Chinese paid salaries to local employees in advance to help them get through the difficulty, and this was the case for Xie Guangqi, director of Chuanyu Association Kenya who has been living in the country for 15 years. His restaurant halted operation since February because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We paid full salary to our employees in March and half of that in April since the government issued home quarantine order, because 18 of our local employees might lose their source of income,” Xie introduced.
“Many members of our association did this, and a lamp company has always maintained full salary for its employees to help them get through,” he said.
Yu Yang, chairman of board of Cheetahway, a Chinese logistics company in South Africa, noted that the first designated hospital to receive COVID-19 patients was in dire need of medical supplies during the lockdown, but many large carriers had suspended business. To relieve the situation, Cheetahway offered free transportation for the hospital, Yu introduced.
Yu made detailed plans to guarantee the supply. “We offered masks, gloves and disinfectants for our drivers each day, and we also made emergency response plans to guarantee the missions and lower the risks of the drivers getting infected,” he noted.
Only a small number of supermarkets were in service during the lockdown. “Short-distance deliveries by motorcycles were all halted, and there was barely professional company delivering food, which pose great inconvenience for locals to purchase food. So we cooperated with supermarkets run by locals and Chinese, and started delivery services for the citizens,” Yu said.
This year marks the 15th year for Yu and his family to live in South Africa. An Xin, Yu’s wife said that the Chinese living there have always followed the quarantine policies and regulations issued by local government, and they are willing to offer money and efforts to get through the difficulty with their African friends at the critical moment, for the stability of the society.
When Botswana was firstly struck by COVID-19 at the end of last month, Nan Gengxu, chairman of China Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification in Botswana, immediately called on the Chinese community in the country to make donations to local society. Nan’s proposal received active response from the local Chinese community, and nearly 6 million yuan was raised by approximately 500 Chinese enterprises and individuals.
“The first batch of materials has been handed to the country’s Ministry of Health and Wellness on April 15 to guarantee the use of government officials and medical workers,” Nan said.
He called for more perseverance and support at the hardest time for Africa, saying the Chinese community will work with Africans to fight the pandemic and support their second hometown with concrete actions.
Nan, also the president of the Global Max Media Group and chairman of board of Africa Oriental Post, said his media corporations have been well prepared since the onset of the pandemic. To introduce the development of the disease, Nan invited diplomats from the Chinese Embassy and medical workers for interviews. “By doing so, we hope to introduce Chinese experiences in curbing the disease and set a reference for local prevention and control work,” Nan said.
Source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition

The photo shows the atomizers donated by Chen Zhihao, chairman of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce in Angola. Photo by Xu Kunpeng

more recommended stories