Speech by Commissioner Xie Feng at the Ceremony of Donation from Honorary Consul of the Federated States of Micronesia in Hong Kong Dr. Tan Siu-lin for China's Battle Against COVID-19

The Hon. Dr. Tan Siu-lin,

Dear friends from the consular corps, foreign chambers of commerce and media,

At the outset, on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the Commissioner's Office and Hubei Province, I'd like to express our sincere gratitude to Honorary Consul Dr. Tan Siu-lin for donating $1 million to support the people of Hubei in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic. Based in Hong Kong and with businesses around the globe, Dr. Tan is deeply attached to his motherland. Not only has he taken an active role in national reform and development, boosted cross-strait people-to-people exchanges and supported China's diplomacy, but he has also generously given back to the community and contributed to poverty alleviation, education, culture and other philanthropic causes for decades with admirable patriotism. He is, in every way, a gentleman of virtue.

In the past weeks, General Secretary Xi Jinping has personally directed and made deployment for outbreak response, and a nationwide epidemic control system has been established with the most comprehensive, stringent and effective measures, covering governments at all levels and both urban and rural areas. Aid has been pouring into Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province from all parts and sectors of China. On Feb. 26, General Secretary Xi and other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee made personal donations to support the fight against the coronavirus. Party members around the country have followed their example and actively raised money for the battle.

To our encouragement, initial progress has been made in China's fight against the virus. The number of new confirmed cases has shown a significant decline overall, and suspected cases get diagnosed more quickly. By 24:00, Feb. 27, more than 30,000 patients had been cured and discharged, with the daily number exceeding 1,000 for 16 consecutive days. The fact has proven that China's measures are sensible and effective, and that the epidemic can be contained, mitigated, and overcome. As the first line of defense, China has gained time for other countries to curb the spread of the virus. It has also spoken volumes about the firm CPC leadership and the strengths of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. No hardship will ever overwhelm the united, courageous and resilient Chinese people!

It is also heartening that China's economy and society are returning to normal at a faster pace. The impact of the epidemic on China's economy is temporary and limited. With remarkable resilience, robust domestic demand and a solid industrial system, the sound fundamentals of China's economy for steady growth in the long run have not changed. The Chinese government is attaching importance to both epidemic containment and economic and social development, and is doing its best to minimize the negative impacts. As the epidemic is gradually brought under control, the suppressed consumption and investment needs will be fully unleashed, and emerging business models and markets will become new growth points with tremendous potential. We have the confidence and capability to achieve the economic and social targets for this year, in particular the key goals of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty. China will continue to be a major engine for global growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we speak, the situation remains grave, with cases mounting in some countries and regions.

The virus is our common enemy and the epidemic a common challenge. As members of the global village, we have a shared future, and need to boost confidence and support each other.

While curbing the spread of the coronavirus, we also need to guard against and combat the "virus of selfishness" featuring apathy, the "virus of panic" featuring overreaction in disregard of science, the "virus of discrimination" featuring the identification of a disease with a particular region, country or ethnicity, and the more dangerous "political virus" featuring ideological bias, Cold War mentality and mudslinging.

Over the past month and more, leaders of more than 170 countries and over 40 international organizations have expressed firm support for China through telegrams or letters. Governments and peoples from dozens of countries, including those our friends here represent, have rendered precious assistance to us. Mr. Antony Hung from the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and his colleagues, for instance, have had 256 oxygen concentrators delivered to Hubei Province in no time and raised RMB 1 million. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

As a responsible major country, China is ready to share experience with and lend a helping hand to other affected countries. We will continue to work closely with WHO and other countries and coordinate our epidemic response, so as to jointly protect global public health and defend our common home.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Brothers and sisters are born for adversity. At every critical juncture, be it the Asian financial crisis or SARS or the international financial crisis, the motherland always has Hong Kong's back, with the Central Government giving it full support and the people in the mainland standing firmly with Hong Kong compatriots.

The Central Government has been following the development of the epidemic here closely. Attaching top priority to the life and health of Hong Kong compatriots, it has allocated 17 million masks to Hong Kong against all odds in the early days, supported the SAR government in its response, and ensured a steady supply of daily necessities and medical materials to the city.

Here at the Commissioner's Office, my colleagues and I have had Hong Kong compatriots overseas on our mind and done our utmost to reach out to them, providing consular protection and assistance. Last week, directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, and under the coordination between the Commissioner's Office, the HKSAR government and the Chinese Embassy in Japan, about 200 Hong Kong residents aboard "Diamond Princess" cruise ship safely returned home by chartered flights. The buses taking them to the airport had banners reading "Let's go home!" Indeed, our motherland is always by our side. After the pictures were posted on our office's Facebook, many Hong Kong netizens liked them with such comments as "Thank you, my country!", conveying their love for the motherland.

At the same time, just like Dr. Tan, many Hong Kong compatriots and leaders across society have given generously, sourced urgently needed supplies globally or rushed to the frontline to join the fight. A lot of ordinary citizens have also readily donated to cheer their mainland compatriots on.

Such solidarity in tough times has again shown that Hong Kong and its motherland are closely knit together, and that the ties of kinship between Hong Kong people and their mainland compatriots cannot be severed. No matter whether it is the epidemic or other challenges we are confronting, we will surely win the final victory as long as we fight united as one family.

Cherry blossoms are already blooming in Wuhan and spring is in the air. With the concerted efforts of the 1.4 billion Chinese people including our Hong Kong compatriots, and with the solidarity of the international community, we have every confidence that we will usher in the dawn of victory at an early date.

Thank you.

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