Be with You: Full Support from Scholars of CCS Program in the Face of the COVID-19

[Source]    Confucius Institute Headquarters [Time]    2020-03-12 13:17:25 

Editor’s note: The evolvement of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has pulled at the heartstrings of the people around the world. Since the outbreak of the disease, important politicians, university presidents, renowned experts and scholars, as well as teachers and students of Confucius Institutes and other educators of Chinese language from many countries have offered their assistance, support and encouragement in various ways.

Hundreds of scholars of Confucius China Studies Program (CCS Program) around the world have also sent messages of concern and generous assistance to China at the first time of the outbreak. Since its inception in 2013, the CCS Program has been carried out in many research institutions for Chinese studies at home and abroad, funded nearly 800 students, scholars and young sinologists to study in China for degrees or research programs, and invited more than 900 young leaders and elites from all walks of life to visit China.

As a new generation of sinologists with outstanding bilingual proficiency and research capabilities, they not only devoted themselves to various voluntary work to fight against the pandemic, but also had their voices heard on social platforms and through news reports at home and abroad so as to present a very real China to the rest of the world.

Blessings Lie in Every Word: We Stay with China Regardless of Distance

As the COVID-19 broke out, Marco Cepik, a renowned professor of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and visiting scholar of CCS Program (2018 Version), wrote in an email, he believed that with great efforts, the Chinese government and its people will certainly overcome the disease, and the Brazilian people will, as always, do their best to offer attention and support to the Chinese people so as to keep China-Brazil friendship to last.

Francesco Macheda, a professor of political economy at Bifrost University in Iceland and scholar of CCS Program (2019 Version) said, “I believe China will have a quick victory over the COVID-19.”

Stankomir Nicieja, a professor of Institute of English Studies at University of Opole in Poland and an adviser for China and East Asia relations, who is applying for CCS Program (2020 Version), said, “China has gradually recovered from the outbreak of the COVID-19. I am greatly impressed by the great efforts of the Chinese people in their fight against the disease. Looking forward to an early opportunity to visit China!”

At the same time, many scholars and students who had ever involved in CCS Program and studied in China also showed their great concerns over China by sending sincere blessings from overseas, hoping to offer assistance within their ability to teachers, students and friends in China.

Michael Long is a doctoral student at the University of Cambridge in UK. Through Joint Research Ph.D. Fellowship of CCS Program, he went to Renmin University of China in 2016 to study the history of Chinese ethnic minorities. Although he had finished the project and returned to his own country, he was still concerned about his Chinese friends. Soon after the outbreak, he asked his tutor in China on WeChat how he was doing and offered to donate masks.

Thi Duyen Hong Pham, who received her doctorate from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2018 and now works for Chinese language major at the Foreign Languages and Information Technology University of Ho Chi Minh city, expressed her concerns over China from as far as Vietnam.

To help her Chinese friends to pull through the crisis, she translated, based on her bilingual proficiency, publicity materials on the COVID-19, hoping to give some help to the fight against the disease.

Support across Social Platforms:A Real Picture of China’s Efforts

During the special period, many scholars of CCS Program made full use of their professional skills and personal experience to support China through various media at home and abroad, so as to let the world know the real situation of China’s efforts in pandemic prevention and control.

Stephen Ondago Oduor, a Kenyan doctoral student of Wuhan University, has been living in the city during the outbreak. Although it was a difficult period, he was always positive about the control over the disease. During his self-quarantine, he made personal videos for the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and produced the Vlog about his own experiences during the outbreak period in Wuhan for four foreign TV stations, including China Radio International in Kenya, to show his support for Wuhan and China.

Stephen attending an academic conference in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province in northwest China

Ramziya Fazdalova, from Russia, now working on global history studies at Beijing foreign Studies University, wrote an article based on her own research field entitled Russian Students in China: What Russia Could Learn from the Outbreak of the COVID-19 in China.

“There will always be those who believe in the darkness and go straight toward it. But tolerance and understanding, the hallmarks of those who are well-educated and capable of self-reflection, are the best weapons against prejudice, fear and rumor.”

“It is now an era of global village. No country and people can stay isolated wherever the COVID-19 breaks out. People should know the real situation in China and the Chinese people’s efforts in fighting against the disease.” wrote Ramziya.

Karina Khasnulina, a doctoral student of Joint Research Ph.D. Fellowship of CCS Program from Russia's Novosibirsk State University, is now studying in Nanjing University. To show her support for China, she joined a volunteer group of translators for Chinese pandemic prevention.

Karina attending the seminar on the 80th anniversary of Kui Ge (Yan Jing-Yun Nan Sociology Study Center) and the 40th anniversary of the restoration and reconstruction of Chinese sociology

In addition, Karina and her husband, who works in medicine, self-funded and started Sciensk, a science education channel on Youtube, to share with the Russian-speaking world how effective are China’s efforts in fighting the COVID-19 and to allow more people to know about the real situation in China.

Karina and her tutor Zhou Xiaohong at Kui Ge

She said what impressed her most during this period in China were “the government’s quick actions in detecting the virus, the solidarity of Chinese citizens and the efficient management mechanism."

Kenichi Doi, a Japanese doctoral student studying Chinese education policy and international development cooperation at Peking University, had work experience at the Japan International Cooperation agency (JICA), so he has good knowledge of international cooperation in economic and social development and personnel training between China and Japan.

While staying in China during the COVID-19 outbreak, he continued his research work and actively used his expertise and social networks to provide Chinese companies with information on global public issues, international cooperation in particular.

Kenichi Doi and his family

“Since the outbreak, both the Japanese government and the private sector sent a lot of medical supplies,” he said. “Many Japanese said, ‘China is our friend, we should help them.’ I’m very happy and proud of this. As the disease developed in Japan, Chinese friends also show their support for Japan. I profoundly feel the friendship between China and Japan.”

Zhanar Toktarbay from Kazakhstan, who is working on a research on language policy in the five central Asian countries in Beijing Language and Culture University, has also taken an active part in the volunteer group of translators for Chinese pandemic prevention, encouraging students and friends from around the world to engage in the translation work.

The translation group sorted out and translated the materials about some countries’ export policy, transportation route and customs declaration of medical supplies so as to make it more convenient for overseas Chinese to send supplies to China. They also translated the manuals of medical devices manufactured in different countries, including specifications and models of products in order to make sure Chinese medical workers who received the donation could better use them.

Many CCS Program doctoral students joined the volunteer group, and soon the Russian translator group involved 167 members and the minority language group 388 members.

Alberto j. Lebron Veiga, a doctoral student from Spain, began his doctorate at the School of International Relations at Peking University in 2017 and studied the trade and investment flows among China, Europe and America, and Latin America. During his study, he also served as an adviser to the Beijing branch of Spanish Chambers of Commerce in China, offering advice and suggestions on economic and trade cooperation for China and Spain and Latin American countries. In 2019, he was elected to the president of the chamber of commerce.

Veiga attending the annual corporate awards ceremony of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce

During the outbreak of the COVID-19, Veiga, choosing to stay in China instead of returning to his own country, led the chamber of commerce to help contact with overseas medical suppliers for the Chinese public institutions and private enterprises. He also encouraged members to make donations, work closely with the Chinese government agencies, and provide services to Spanish companies in China, such as risk assessment of the impact of the disease on economy and trade.

Due to its outstanding contributions to the pandemic prevention and control work in Beijing, the chamber of commerce has received special recognition and appreciation from the Beijing municipal government. “To overcome this crisis, we have suspended almost all of our business activities and have been fully engaged in the fight against the disease. Helping Chinese society and local businesses is our top priority!” said Veiga.

Sincerities in Poetic Words: The Care for China, All in These Words

In addition, many people turned their care and support for China into Chinese characters to cheer the country up.

Ashley Brown, a CCS Program doctoral student from the United States, and Haryono Candra from Indonesia, had their letters to China delivered to the Confucius institute headquarters.

“China is my second home. China gave me a passion and inspired me to dream big. I plan to return to NY after I graduate to teach and spread the language and culture of this beautiful country. China has given me so much, cheering China on is the least I can do. I love you China!”

Benatti Maximiliano, from Argentina, stayed at Jilin University since the outbreak. His article writing about his real life during the Spring Festival and expressing his blessings to China was published on the university’s Wechat official account. “China is my home. I live here and I am one of this big family. Let's win this fight together.”

Nazarbay Yerkin, a doctoral student of Wuhan University who studies the influence of Belt and Road Initiative on the political and economic integration of central Asia, has learned Chinese since he was a child. The CCS program allowed him to have a further understanding of China, and he felt that he was given “many opportunities” because of that.

Yerkin visiting Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King in Guangzhou

Yerkin did not find something unusual on January 20 when he left Wuhan until he returned to Kazakhstan and saw the report about the COVID-19. He was very worried about situation and wrote down his feelings through his Wechat moment,“Wuhan gave me a lot in the past short two years. My connection with the city has just begun. Wuhan, you are going to be fine. The storm will pass. At the end of the tunnel waiting for us would be the bright sunshine and rainbow.”

Luleng Lim, a Malaysian CCS Program student studying Chinese popular culture, is working on his doctor’s degree at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and stayed in the city during the outbreak. What she said “It is from ‘the hustle and bustle’ of the secular life that we see a prosperous world” impressed people a lot.

Wongsally Huang, a Panamanian who is studying for a doctorate in art at Beijing Normal University, painted a Chinese-and-Western-style picture of Welcoming Spring in Fighting against the Pandemic during the outbreak and donated it to an art institution for auction, with the proceeds going to hospitals in the affected areas.

Huijeong Cho, a Korean CCS Program student working on his doctor’s degree in the Advanced Institute of Confucian Studies of Shandong University, donated 10,000 yuan by responding actively to Under the Sky of Shandong: Targeted Donation Initiative launched by Shandong University, hoping to make his part of contribution. He said he has learned the empathy of “extending one's own feelings to others” from Confucianism and the practice principle of “the unity of knowledge and action” from writings of Wang Yangming.

The disease shows no mercy while humans do. To express intense feelings, or document the everyday life; to deliver high-profile encouragement, or make inconspicuous contribution; in China and around the world, in this unusual early spring of 2020, we are always together! Let's get through this hand in hand. Go China! Go world!