What do you do with a friend in distress?

The Coronavirus in China could have happened to any country or nation. While China has displayed historic fight against the spread of the virus, some factions in international media are trying to launch a hybrid war against China. Apparently a benign campaign, the trend analysis of the international media points to something sinister and agenda driven.

In a very subtle way, China is being targeted through four major campaigns.

Make a dent in Chinese trade and commerce by spreading rumors against Chinese efforts to fight the disease of gigantic proportions.

Create a perception about Chinese people and their food habits and hygiene through fake propaganda on digital and social media.

Affect Chinese oversees investments by targeting tourism, aviation, food and health sectors and Chinese working on strategic projects like CPEC in Pakistan.

Tarnish Chinese Global image abroad by projecting Chinese inability to cope with the spread of Coronavirus.

Pakistan should not fall into this trap

Pakistani diaspora in China is mainly students and business community, who consider China as their second home. Coronavirus is affecting most of the elderly above 60 years of age, Pakistani diaspora in China is mostly of younger age. We should also note that the rules of Host County apply in all circumstances, more so in emergencies. It must be understood that Chinese efforts and actions taken are meant to quarantine the virus and not Human beings.

It should also be highlighted that Chinese expertise in fighting such viruses are much better than any developing nation, including Pakistan.

It may be interesting to discuss of past emergencies and crises and how did international community react. The Australian fires, California fires or even trend of mass shootings in the US did not lead to panic. As reported by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in US, an average of 40000 people die of flue in US every year. Recent report of Washington Post published on Ist Feb 2020, The rapidly spreading flu virus in US has closed schools in Knoxville, Tenn, cut blood donations to dangerous levels in Cleveland and prompted limits on hospital visitors in Wilson, N.C. More ominously, it has infected as many as 26 million people in the United States in just four months, killing up to 25,000 so far.

Were the businesses shut down? Were the students studying in western universities called back, did the international airlines stop flying to the west?

Most important is the propagation of Chinese efforts to fight the Coronavirus.

Global Times on 30 Jan sent a strong message to international community and Chinese citizens with the title, ‘Let’s all unite to fight deadly virus’, in the internet era, everything seems diverse and complicated. We might have been slow in responding to the novel coronavirus at the very beginning, but a nationwide line of defense was soon set up. This testifies to our ability to safeguard our own interests. Let’s be strong-minded and believe in science. While we are cautious about preventing the spread of the virus, we don’t have to be overly anxious. The government should also have confidence in the solidarity of the people. The lockdown of Wuhan and the national activation of the top-level public health emergency response mechanisms have been carried out smoothly. It is normal for some people to vent their sentiments and reveal problems during the process, which also aids future prevention work.

It may not be out of place to highlight the construction of state of the art Wuhan Hospitals. As reported by CGTN, workers are racing to build two new hospitals in Wuhan – within days. The city is straining to treat thousands of patients. This week Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged the government’s full support.

As reported by Quartz magazine, Chinese media is regularly broadcasting the drone footage of the construction site showing a ballet of bulldozers digging the foundation and a parade of trucks hauling in steel cable, cement, pre-fab parts and power generators. Workers are toiling around the clock to meet the frantic timeline: Huoshenshan Hospital, which broke ground on Jan. 24, is scheduled to be operational on Feb. 3, will have 1,000 beds and occupy a 269,000 sq. ft. lot in the edge of the city. With an equally ambitious timeline is Leishenshan Hospital, a 323,000-sq. ft, 1,300-bed facility slated to open two days later.

What should Pakistan be doing?

There is an immediate need to run a media awareness campaign on what is Pakistan’s capacity to handle the virus. Can Pakistan, like Australia, put the returning citizens into a quarantined Island?

What is the availability of masks for common citizens and a proper gear for Doctors? How many hospitals are available to put the suspected patients of Coronavirus?

We should also talk about Chinese community working for development of CPEC; despite some terror attacks in Balochistan and Karachi, did the Chinese stop working in Pakistan?

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan stands by the Chinese people and leadership in their valiant efforts to bring the Coronavirus under control and support the measures taken by them in that regard. In a statement on Thursday, he said the Chinese authorities have made monumental efforts to deal with Coronavirus and the top Chinese leadership has been overseeing the disease control efforts.The Foreign Minister said the global community has widely appreciated China’s efforts.Secretary General UN has also lauded China’s efforts in this regard.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that for our part, we stand ready to extend every possible assistance to our Chinese brethren to help deal with the aftermath of Coronavirus. He said we are also extremely thankful to the Chinese government for extending best possible assistance to Pakistani nationals in China.

China gave wide coverage to Pakistani doctor Usman Janjua,who volunteered to work in Wuhan to treat the Coronavirus patients. These small gestures can cement Pak china friendship.

To conclude; it is a Historical opportunity to stand in solidarity with China, this is testing time for Iron brothers, and this taller than Himalayas friendship should be able to meet the challenge of Coronavirus.

Pak-China friendship Zinda Baad.