Fighting COVID-19: We are all together

As the world battles hard against COVID-19, Tsinghua University and China Daily jointly organized a new edition of Vision China, inviting speakers from home and abroad to share their views and stories with a global audience about fighting the novel coronavirus.

The event, with the theme "Fighting COVID-19: We are all together", was broadcast online at 8:30 pm on March 31st, Beijing time. It was aimed at sharing experiences and consolidating strength, after last week's Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on COVID-19 sent a message of solidarity and coordination in confronting the pandemic.

Chen Xu, Chairperson of Tsinghua University Council, delivered an address at the opening. “Public health security is a common challenge facing all countries, and COVID-19 is the common enemy of all mankind. At this critical moment, it is more urgent than ever to recognize that ‘we are all together’, including the critical role that universities play around the world,” Chen Xu noted.

On March 2nd, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Tsinghua University and emphasized the importance of scientific research in the battle against the pandemic. He stressed that "we must insist on asking for answers and methods from science".

Tsinghua has made breakthroughs on antibody and vaccine research, and developed a test kit for fast and accurate diagnosis. In addition, Tsinghua has also provided open access to Tsinghua's drug discovery resources and platforms for global researchers.

Chen Xu said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, Tsinghua University has been closely monitoring the health of all students, faculty and staff. Strict prevention and control measures have been implemented across the campus, in line with the government’s response plan.

On February 17th, the spring semester commenced online, on time and on schedule; and more than 3,900 courses were launched. Tsinghua has shouldered additional responsibilities by expanding its social and international engagement. Tsinghua-affiliated hospitals have dispatched medical workers to hospitals and quarantine zones in Wuhan and Beijing.

Tsinghua has also communicated with global partners to make active contributions in fighting the pandemic.

Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, also said that the whole world is now fighting against a common enemy - COVID-19.

President Xi Jinping has stated since the onset of the epidemic that China upholds the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and calls for nations to unite in building a community of common health.

"The fast-spreading pandemic has put all people in the same boat," Zhou said while delivering his opening speech. "This is a time for unity and solidarity. This is a time for reason and responsibility."

He said the sacrifices borne by the Chinese people have served to stem the transmission of the virus, giving the rest of the world precious time to prepare for the looming crisis.

Just as the international community rallied to help China in this time of need, the country has been quick to lend a hand to other countries in sharing both knowledge and material aid, he added.

Zhang Ruiru, a 20-year-old student at Tsinghua University, went back to her home city of Wuhan for the traditional Chinese New Year holiday. Both of her parents were later diagnosed with the infection, and have recovered. Zhang said the fight against the outbreak has made her fully realize the strong unity of the Chinese people.

“Chinese people have stood as one to fight the virus. Medical workers from all over the country descended on Wuhan to help, and resources were sent into the city from all over China,” she said.

Guest speakers included Dr Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization; He Yafei, former vice-minister of foreign affairs, former vice-minister of the State Council's Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and a distinguished professor at Peking University's Yenching Academy; Dr Robert Lawrence Kuhn, a renowned China expert and recipient of the China Reform Friendship Medal; and Jim O’Neill, an economist from the United Kingdom who is chairman of Chatham House and a former commercial secretary to the UK Treasury.

They told their stories about fighting the pandemic and called on collective effort to defeat the pandemic together. Megan Monroe, art adviser at Pro-Stage Education from the United States, also shared her personal stories.

It was the 10th Vision China event since its launch in 2018. Each event has featured global opinion leaders invited to discuss Chinese topics of international significance.