By Ji Peijuan, Song Yiran, People’s Daily
A special promotion event for Hubei, the hardest hit Chinese province by COVID-19, was held by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, to introduce the strong resilience of the province amid the pandemic, showcase its robust recovery, and build for it a new bridge of foreign cooperation.
Themed “Heroic Hubei: Reborn for New Glories,” the special promotion event was the first promotion event in China for a provincial-level region held by the ministry since outburst of the pandemic. It was joined by around 500 people, including diplomatic envoys from 155 countries, representatives of 21 international organizations to China, as well as representatives from Chinese and foreign business circles.
A series of delicious local food and drinks were displayed at the event, such as hot dry noodles of Wuhan, rice wine of Xiaogan, scented tea of Xiangyang, lotus root drink of Jingzhou and Wuchang bream.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the event and addressed audience. He said under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and with support pouring in from across the country, the people of Hubei and Wuhan stood united as one and fought a tenacious battle with the virus. Their enormous sacrifice not only made China’s victory over COVID-19 possible, but also contributed significantly to the global COVID response, he remarked.
Hubei’s heroic fight against COVID-19 is an epitome of China’s response efforts, and more importantly, an embodiment of the unique character and strength of the Chinese nation, the minister noted, adding that having emerged from the trying times of the pandemic, the ancient land of Hubei will show still greater vigor and vitality.
He said as a responsible major country, China has fought the pandemic for the common good, not just for China itself; China has pursued shared prosperity, not just its own development.
He vowed that China will uphold solidarity and mutual assistance as it works with other countries to prevail over the coronavirus, uphold openness and cooperation as it works with other countries to promote world economic recovery, and uphold multilateralism as it works with other countries to build a community with a shared future.
Ying Yong, Secretary of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the CPC, and Wang Zhonglin, Secretary of the Wuhan Municipal Committee of the CPC made presentations at the event.
Tourism, catering and transport industries were hit hardest in Wuhan, capital of Hubei, amid the pandemic. Last August, Hubei Province launched a promotional tourism event and saw massive tourists flocking in from across the country. The 44 scenic spots that had joined the event received a total of 21 million visits, up 27.5 percent from the same period in 2019.
Last year, the total tourists reception and general tourism revenue of Wuhan recovered over 80 percent of those in 2019. The city’s catering is also picking up. In the first two months of this year, 11 of the 20 catering enterprises with an annual income of over 100 million yuan ($15 million) in Wuhan saw a growth of over 10 percent in their revenue compared with that in the same period of 2019.
French Ambassador to China Laurent Bili said at the event that currently there are over 30 French auto enterprises investing in Hubei. He hoped that the promotion event would further drive the enthusiasm of foreign investors to invest in Wuhan.
Brazilian Ambassador to China Paulo Estivallet de Mesquita recalled the touching stories of China and Brazil fighting together against COVID-19. He said Wuhan’s victory against the virus is inspiring all people in winning the war against the pandemic.
Colombian Ambassador to China Luis Diego Monsalve said that Wuhan’s rapid work resumption has set a role model for the world and is worth learning for Colombia.
Oita, Japan is the earliest sister city of Wuhan. The mayor of Japanese city Kiichiro Sato sent a video message to the event, saying the experience of mutual assistance firmed his confidence to pass on the two cities’ friendship. Oita and Wuhan will share development opportunities and further enhance cooperation, he said.