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This article appears in the May 28, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

China Briefs

President Xi Calls for Global Community of Health for All

China’s President Xi Jinping addressed by video the May 21 Global Health Summit, co-sponsored by the European Union and the Italian Presidency of the G20, held in Rome. Xi announced that China will contribute $3 billion in aid over the next three years to combat COVID-19, and will assist developing nations in post-pandemic economic response. In his comments, Xi put forward a five-point program for dealing with the pandemic and returning to policies of growth. First, he stressed, it was necessary to “put people first.” He said, “No effort must be spared to attend every case, save every patient, and truly respect the value and dignity of every human life.”

Second, he said, “We must follow science-based policies and ensure a coordinated and systemic response.” In this respect he also called for development, and for debt relief for hard-hit developing countries which will have a difficult time in coping with the pandemic.

Third, he called for solidarity and cooperation, and rejecting all attempts to politicize or stigmatize on the basis of the virus, as forces in the U.S. and Britain have been trying to do. “Political manipulation would not serve COVID-19 response on the domestic front,” Xi said. “It would only disrupt international cooperation against the virus and bring greater harm to people around the world.”

Fourth, he called for fairness and equity in achieving vaccination. In this, developed countries and international institutions must make a special effort. “Major vaccine-developing and producing countries need to take up their responsibility to provide more vaccines to developing countries in urgent need, and they also need to support their businesses in joint research and authorized production with other countries having the relevant capacity,” Xi stressed.

And last, he called for improving the world health governance system and preparedness for meeting future pandemics, strengthening the role of the UN and the WHO. Xi noted that China had provided 300 million doses of vaccines to developing nations.

Kashgar Forum Showcases the Reality of Xinjiang

The China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) of the Foreign Ministry sponsored a visit to Xinjiang of a delegation of leading scholars from Chinese institutions, who visited many cities in Xinjiang earlier this month. On May 20 the CPDA held an online forum from Guli’s House in Kashgar, with online participation of scholars from different parts of the world. The visit to Xinjiang hosted by the CPDA is just a part of China’s concerted effort to explain Xinjiang’s story.

At the forum, the delegation reported on their visits, showing video material from their interactions on the trip. A number of VIPs also spoke in support of Chinese policy in Xinjiang. These included Wu Hailong, the President of the CPDA; Danilo Turk, a former president of Slovenia; Filip Vujanovic, a former president of Montenegro; and Djoomart Otorbaev, a former Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. Other speakers who gave their impressions of Xinjiang included Thore Vestby and Jan Oberg, who had published a major report debunking the “genocide” accusations with regard to Xinjiang; and EIR’s Bill Jones.

Most of the foreign presentations were well received by the delegation. Only Jeffrey Sachs, who was given a cordial and polite greeting, received little applause after his comments. While expressing support for the developments in Xinjiang, he also urged that China accept the proposal to have the UN come and investigate the various claims of wrongdoing. While China is open to all parties to come and see Xinjiang, including officials of the UN, it is not in favor of opening the province to any international “investigation,” as if it were a “contested” territory.

Such an investigation was pushed heavily by the British Ambassador to the UN, Dame Barbara Woodward, who would like to bring the Xinjiang allegations onto the agenda of the UN. Before taking her UN post in 2020, Woodward served as the British Ambassador to China between 2015 and 2020, during the period that the BBC was running wild in Xinjiang and concocting coverage to support the “genocide” accusations.

Wang Yi Calls for More Vaccine Aid to Africa

Speaking as host at a virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on May 19, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the international community to ensure the “accessibility and affordability of vaccines” in Africa. The event was called “Peace and Security in Africa.” Wang declared, “The international community should give more help in pandemic prevention materials, medical supplies, technology and funds, especially through free assistance, preferential procurement, technology transfer, cooperative production, and other means to ensure the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa.” The South China Morning Post reported further that Wang said, “Africa is an important part of the global anti-pandemic effort. An urgent task now is to build a defense line against the pandemic in Africa.... China calls on all countries with the ability, to provide vaccines to Africa urgently.”

Wang continued, “China welcomes more countries and international organizations, especially Africa’s traditional cooperation partners, to join this initiative, adhering to the principle of ‘Africa-led, equal-footing, and openness,’ strengthening coordination and cooperation, committing to real multilateralism, so as to gather the strong force to support Africa’s development.”

Speaking at the same event, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that, of the 1.4 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world, only 24 million, or less than 2 percent, had reached Africa. “Equitable and sustainable vaccine roll-out worldwide is the quickest path towards a fast and fair recovery,” Guterres said. “This requires sharing of doses, removing export restrictions, ramping up local production and fully funding the ACT-Accelerator and its Covax Facility.”

Zhurong Roving on Mars: China Sees Promethean Nature of Exploring Space

On May 14, the Chinese lander in the Tianwen-1 mission, put down on the surface of Mars, the second country to do so successfully. On May 22 the rover on board, Zhurong, started its trek along the Mars plain. Equipped with a special suspension, and gear to operate multi-directionally, like a crab, the Zhurong will record the Martian landscape with high-resolution three-dimensional images, analyze the material composition of the planet’s surface, detect its subsurface structure and magnetic field, search for traces of water ice, and observe the surrounding meteorological conditions. It has specially processed solar panels to repel dust accumulation, to keep it operational. Zhurong’s panels were designed to adapt to the sunlight on Mars, which has a spectrum different from that on the Earth’s orbit.

Both Russia and NASA congratulated China on the landing, and on what Zhurong can do. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, “As the international scientific community grows, the United States and the world look forward to the discoveries Zhurong will make to advance humanity’s knowledge of the Red Planet.”

Speaking at the Foreign Ministry on May 18, Spokesman Zhao Lijan, in language reminiscent of the western myth of Prometheus, said: “The Chinese people have a long-cherished space dream. From Shenzhou, Chang’e and Yutu to Tiangong and Tianwen, these beautiful names are the crystallization of their infinite longing for the distant stars and unknown space. The Mars rover of Tianwen-1 is named Zhurong after the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology. Fire brought warmth and brightness to the ancestors of humankind, and fire lit up human civilization. Naming China’s first Mars rover after the god of fire signifies igniting the flame of China’s inter-planetary exploration, inspiring those working in this field to surpass themselves and pursue space dreams.”

Yuan Longping, Father of Hybrid Rice, Dies at Age 90

Renowned crop scientist Yuan Longping died May 22, in the southern city of Changsha. Until his recent hospitalization, he had been still at work in plant breeding improvements. He is celebrated around the world for his achievement in 1973 of developing a strain of hybrid rice, which recorded an annual yield 20 percent higher than existing varieties. For China, this meant producing food for an additional 70 million people a year, thereby ensuring China’s ability to feed its growing population. Yuan and his team worked with dozens of countries around the world to address issues of food security, as well as malnutrition. Today, over a fifth of all rice grown in the world comes from Yuan’s breakthrough work.

Even in his later years, Yuan did not stop conducting research. In 2017, working with a Hunan agricultural school, he helped create a strain of low cadmium Indica rice for areas suffering from heavy metal pollution. It reduced the amount of cadmium in the rice by 90 percent.

As Yuan’s body was driven to the burial site in Chengdu, people lined the roadway in deep respect and love for this man, held in great honor by his nation and a grateful world.

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