Across China: Anti-epidemic fight links China, Spain

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CHENGDU, May 11 (Xinhua) -- When primary schools in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, reopened on May 6, Pedro Diaz, a Spanish sports coach, also resumed work after two months of online coaching.

Pedro, a PE teacher working in a sports training school, has been living with his Chinese wife in the city for five years. He had to work at home to coach his students due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Before the Lunar Chinese New Year, Pedro took his two-year-old daughter back to Spain, and then the two returned home at the end of February, because Pedro was worried about his wife when the epidemic was reported in China.

In mid-March, the situation in Spain deteriorated, and Pedro called his family in Spain every day to stress the importance of self-protection and tell them to always wear masks and wash their hands.

"Since my wife is Chinese, we paid close attention to the epidemic very early and knew the gravity of the situation compared to most Spanish," Pedro said.

He also joined a WeChat group, which was organized by Spaniards living in China. They donated money to purchase masks in China to be sent to Spain.

Alberto Carot, a sports consultant living in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, is the organizer of the WeChat Group. What was happening in Spain was always on his mind.

"There were only about a dozen people who joined the group, and we were all friends. Then we found more Spanish people," Alberto said. Among the group, some were in charge of designing posters, some raised donations, some purchased masks and other materials, and some contacted Spain's Consulate General in Guangzhou.

"We also have two Chinese friends in our group, and they helped us translate and contact local mask suppliers," Alberto said. "We have so far raised nearly 370,000 yuan (about 52,310 U.S. dollars) and donated 67,800 masks through the Spanish Embassy in China."

Now the Spanish group has subsidiaries in Beijing, Shanghai and south China's Guangdong Province. Many Chinese people joined their group and donated as well. "One day some Chinese friends donated 7,000 masks for us," Alberto recalled.

Pedro's wife Huang Jie is in charge of a short-video platform's business in southwest China. She has been cooperating with her colleagues and overseas Chinese to record anti-epidemic stories in China and abroad.

Xu Yuzhou, president of a Chinese-speaking tourist guide association in Barcelona, is one of the protagonists of these stories.

"Having been working in Spain's tourist industry for almost 20 years, I can deeply feel the charm of this country, but the pandemic hurt local tourism so badly," Xu said.

Though they have been forced to stop working since February and their income greatly decreased as well, Xu and his friends have purchased 17,000 masks, 100 protective gowns and other materials, and asked their friends to transport them back to China's hard-hit areas.

When the United States and Europe became the latest epicenters of the pandemic, their association began to buy masks from Chinese suppliers and donated them to local communities and enterprises in Spain.

Meanwhile, Chen Jianxin, chairman of the Chinese Association in Spain, has been committed to helping China and Spain fight the virus for months.

As a result of the pandemic, many hospitals and public service agencies in Spain have had to cope with a shortage of medical supplies. In a week, the Chinese association along with Chinese living in Spain donated 6,500 items of protective clothing, 1,300 pairs of protective glasses, 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Spanish hospitals.

Overseas Chinese from different countries and volunteers from Spanish-speaking countries have also established a volunteer alliance to assist nearly 900 doctors in over 25 countries with the help of Chinese doctors.

"The pandemic has plunged the world into a common battle, and all people must unite to win," Chen said.

For more than a month, Xu and his Spanish neighbors had applauded on their balconies every night to express their support for medical staff.

"I hope the pandemic will end and life will return to normal as soon as possible. We are looking forward to meeting everyone in the beautiful city of Barcelona," Xu said. Enditem

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