SCIO briefing on the health and security of Chinese students overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on April 2 to brief the media on the health and security of Chinese students living overseas during the COVID-19 outbreak. April 6, 2020


Could you please give us more details about the health packs that Chinese diplomatic missions have sent to overseas students? In addition, some of the packs were sent from China using international logistics companies. Could you tell us how logistics transportation will be guaranteed as the international outbreak intensifies?

Ma Zhaoxu:

As I mentioned earlier, many countries are facing a shortage of medical supplies as the epidemic continues to spread, in particular masks, disinfectant and sanitizers which have sold out. In this situation, overseas students and their parents have become worried. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have paid close attention to the situation, instructing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overseas embassies and consulates to provide help to these students. Under the joint support of the finance, education, aviation and national health sectors, each embassy and consulate immediately acted, fully mobilizing all resources to collect and send health packs to students overseas, sparing no effort to solve the practical difficulties they are facing. 

I would like to list some examples. The Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom held a ceremony for sending health packs. Here is a group photo of Liu Xiaoming, the ambassador to the United Kingdom, alongside student representatives. Ambassador Liu told the representatives that in the face of the fierce outbreak, they are not alone, and that the motherland will always be with them, whilst the embassies and consulates will support them. The health packs have delivered love to every student in the U.K., bringing warmth, health, strength and confidence. The Chinese Embassy in Japan sent out a survey through public platforms to identify needs, sending the first batch of 30,000 masks to over 4,000 students lacking protective equipment. Before the arrival of the health packs from China, the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco actively collected over 20,000 masks and sent them to students stranded in hard-hit areas. The Chinese Consulate General in Penang, Malaysia, donated masks purchased for their private use, bought some protective supplies locally and prepared the first batch of health packs before the arrival of the ordered supplies, also writing letters of sympathy to the overseas students. The students said that the health packs made them feel the care and love of the Party and government as well as the support and help from their motherland and family. They could truly feel that the embassies and consulates are standing with them, providing a strong backing. 

Next, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas embassies and consulates will consider the current situation in the students' host countries, continuously sending out health packs to those students stranded by the epidemic in a timely manner, sparing no effort to assist them in the fight against the epidemic, jointly safeguarding their health and safety and overcoming the current crisis.

Lyu Erxue:

At present, Chinese citizens who remain abroad, with overseas students in particular, may have their health and safety exposed to the threat posed by the rapid spread of the pandemic in foreign countries and regions. On March 25, the CAAC embarked on a mission to transport health packs containing hygiene products to Chinese students overseas. This task was assigned in accordance with the requirements made by the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control, the concrete deployments of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council and the general demands provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The first batch of more than 300,000 packs, weighing 300 tons, will be delivered to 46 Chinese embassies and consulates in 12 countries, namely, Italy, South Korea, France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Canada and Malaysia, before reaching the students. While coordinating with China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, the CAAC has drawn up a plan with multiple approaches, such as, transporting the health packs in the holds of passenger planes, making full use of cargo aircrafts and refurbishing passenger airliners for cargo services. The delivery of the packs will be prioritized under the joint efforts between the CAAC and the airlines involved to ensure that the necessities can reach our embassies and consulates overseas as soon as possible, as a substantial number of international passenger flights have been suspended. In terms of our latest plan, we will finish delivering the more-than-300,000 packs with an estimated weight of around 300tons, by April 10. By yesterday, we had already flown to the seven countries of Italy, the U.S., France, the UK, Germany, South Korea and Canada, delivering an estimated 116 tons. The CAAC has supported passenger airliners from both home and abroad for use in cargo transportation, opened green access channels and streamlined approval procedures to help the cargo flights complete check-in in a timely manner. That is how we are managing to meet the cargo demand for international aviation.

At the same time, abiding by the concrete deployments of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council, the CAAC has organized and provided help with several humanitarian missions and commercial export cargo deliveries of medical necessities. By April 1, it had conducted 178 chartered flights, sending 100 experts and healthcare personnel and over 2,635  tons of anti-virus supplies to 40 countries, including, the United States, the United Kingdom, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Italy, Serbia, Japan and South Korea. Thank you.

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