Full text of CIDCA spokesperson
Tian Lin's interview with CGTN
On August 18, CGTN interviewed Tian Lin, CIDCA spokesperson and director-general of CIDCA's Department of International Cooperation. The full text appears below:
CGTN: Thank you so much for your time.
Tian Lin: My pleasure.
CGTN: As we know, earlier this month, President Xi Jinping announced the new actions China will take to promote international vaccine cooperation. So what has China done so far and what does China plan to do in the future?
Tian Lin: Recently we held the First International Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine Cooperation. President Xi Jinping has pledged that China will provide two billion doses of Chinese vaccines to the world this year, and also donate US$100 million to COVAX.
Actually, vaccine assistance is an important part of China's international vaccine cooperation. On February 1, China handed over the first batch of vaccine aid to Pakistan, which is our neighbor and brother.
Now China has provided and is providing 105 countries and 4 international organizations with Chinese vaccines. And we are also exporting to over 60 countries, with a total amount of nearly 800 million doses, ranking first in the world. It covers almost all the areas in the world and the number keeps growing.
We also attach great importance to special groups. For example, we have decided to provide Chinese vaccines to United Nations peacekeepers. We will also work together with UNRWA to provide Chinese vaccines to Palestinian refugees in the near east.
CGTN: You mentioned many figures, so why is China providing such aid?
Tian Lin: Foremost, to save lives and fight the pandemic. The virus is the common enemy of all humankind, and we have to work together to fight it.
Although the virus continues to mutate and evolve, the vaccines remain one of the most important weapons. Last year, President Xi Jinping announced that China would make its vaccine a global public good. And earlier this year, even when China didn't form a scaled production capacity and faced a sharp rise of domestic vaccination demand, we already started to provide vaccine aid for those countries in need.
Secondly, to promote fairness. Faced with the virus, people in the world, regardless of their nationality or race, can hardly be concerned only for themselves. We should have an equal and fair access to vaccines. Vaccines should be of the people and for the people.
However, we regret to see that some countries stockpiled vaccines. They engaged in "Vaccine Nationalism" and put political and economic interests above people's lives and health. We should firmly and jointly stand against such actions.
CGTN: Some critics are accusing China of vaccine diplomacy, as if receiving our aid is a bad thing. How do you respond to that?
Tian Lin: Actually, we're hearing more thanks and appreciations than anything else. If you ask those countries that have had vaccine cooperation with China, or countries that have received vaccine aid from China, that whether China is taking advantage of vaccines to seek any political or economic interests, I believe all the answers will be "no." On the contrary, they have described Chinese vaccines as "a timely help" and "a light at the end of the tunnel."
Some critics only represent themselves, not the voices of developing countries, not even the international community.
When we are fighting the virus and pandemic, I think it's important for us to take concrete actions instead of blaming others by groundless accusations.
CGTN: Other countries are also planning their own global vaccine assistance. For example, the US announced a donation of 80 million doses to other countries, and promised to work with COVAX, a scheme that aims to ensure that vaccines are delivered in a safe, equitable way. So what's your take on this?
Tian Lin: Of course we welcome all the actions by countries with the capabilities, to offer vaccines to developing countries, and to promote the equitable distribution and application of vaccines.
And China is willing to work with all the countries and organizations, taking part in the fight against the virus. We wish they can "So said, so done", because the battle against the virus is a race against time. We hope they can honor their commitment faithfully and as early as possible.
CGTN: As we know, before vaccines were developed and approved, China provided large quantities of other medical supplies to developing countries last year. So tell us more about that.
Tian Lin: Actually, vaccine assistance is the "second half" of our assistance for combating the virus. The "first half" was after the global outbreak last year, when China launched the largest emergency humanitarian assistance since the founding of New China. We have provided personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, protective suits, and ventilators to 150 countries in the world and 13 international organizations. We have dispatched 37 medical teams to 34 countries. We have organized nearly 1,000 workshops to share our experience. Since last April, when the second wave happened in South Asia, we have launched an emergency assistance again. We have provided other emergency supplies, such as oxygen cylinders, oxygenerators, and breathing machines, to regional countries, like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Laos. As long as the pandemic continues, China's international cooperation and foreign assistance for combating the virus will not stop.
CGTN: Thank you so much.
Tian Lin: Thank you.