Heated discussion held among CUC international students of the Institute of Communication Studies on President Xi's reply letter to Pakistani students of USTB

                                Author:Huang Hairong???? 2020-05-30

                                Some Pakistani students of USTB (University of Science and Technology Beijing) wrote about their experiences and feelings of studying in China in a letter to President Xi couple of weeks ago. They expressed their gratitude to USTB for the care and help during the outbreak of COVID-19. They also expressed their willingness to devote into developing the Belt and Road Initiative and promoting China-Pakistan friendship after finishing study.

                                President Xi, in his reply letter, welcomed the outstanding youth from all over the world to come and pursue advanced studies in China and communicate more with Chinese youth, hoping they could join hands with each other to stride towards the goal of building strong ties among people and establish a community of shared future for mankind.

                                International students of the Institute of Communication Studies had a heated discussion on the reply letter, in which many of them were profoundly inspired. Those who stayed on campus during the epidemic also extended sincere thanks to CUC for the special care they had received in this memorable period. Having witnessed the effective measures and joint efforts China has taken to fight against COVID-19, they have a lot to say here:

                                Amjad Zarin

                                 (PhD student from Pakistan)

                                Being a Pakistani student studying in China, it is quite exciting and encouraging for me, and indeed I feel proud to know that Chinese President Xi Jinping responded to a letter of Pakistani students attending the University of Science and Technology Beijing. This is an evidence indicating how much importance the Chinese government attaches to the safety of foreigners in China.

                                Four months before the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province was the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, where the government imposed lockdown on 23rd January 2020 immediately. I was lucky enough to be in China at that time and witnessed the efforts of Chinese government and people in the battle against the coronavirus. Though I was not in Wuhan or any nearby city, I still witnessed a number of unprecedented sacrifices rendered by China against this virus in order to safeguard its own people and the rest of the world.

                                Being a foreign student in China, I observed that even in that panic-like situation, this country took best care of all foreigners regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, color and race. During this whole hard time I did not feel unsafe even for a second in China. Our university took best care of us and helped us with all kinds of need, whether it’s big or small. I feel very happy for deciding not to go back to my country during the outbreak and now I can proudly say that I have a lot to share with people that how China won the battle against COVID-19, as I have witnessed the outbreak and how the Chinese government reacted to that. 

                                Tehreem Azeem 

                                (PhD student from Pakistan)

                                Recently, some Pakistani students from University of Science and Technology in Beijing wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping, telling him about their experiences in China. The president mentioned in his letter that the Chinese government and people put people's lives first and treat foreigners in the country the same way they treated Chinese nationals, making no exception in offering them care.

                                I can totally relate to this statement. I could see the Chinese fighting against the virus at all levels. The authorities were trying their best to flatten the curve and the people were helping them to achieve this goal.

                                I saw how my university took care of its international students during this time. Although the virus was there, they still would come to the campus to make sure our wellbeing. They made arrangements to provide us with masks so that we could keep ourselves safe. The dormitory staff would take our temperatures, recording which in a register daily to make sure all of us are healthy. They give us fruits every week so we could keep our immune systems strong.

                                I wrote some articles for different media outlets in Pakistan to tell how our friends were fighting with this virus all the time. Now, when China has defeated the coronavirus, my friends send me a message and ask me how it happened, and how China overcame it?

                                I give them a simple answer. It is China. Its people are capable to realize wonders, and they just did one.

                                Donatien Niyonzima

                                 (PhD student from Rwanda)

                                The kind words of President Xi had motivated not only the Pakistanis but also all the foreigners studying and working in China. The international youth in China will always be grateful to the president and all the Chinese citizens for their support and care for the foreign students during the pandemic

                                The letter of President Xi to Pakistani students has impressed the international students’ community in a sense that we all felt recognized by the supreme authority. International students played a key but silent role in fighting against the COVID-19 especially by stemming false information and anti-Chinese narratives which were spreading through different forms of media. When the virus started spreading in other parts of the world, all eyes were turned mostly on the students who had remained in China to seek advice concerning preventive measures against the new epidemic.

                                The universities took utmost care of all international students staying back and did not let them have any problems. The situation of each student was closely monitored and health facilities were made accessible to everyone. The foreigners living in China did not feel any discrimination in regard to health facilities. As a foreigner staying in China during the pandemic, I am grateful for all the support this country has provided and the message by the president is praiseworthy.

                                RACHEL NAA KWARKOR QUARTEY

                                (Master’s Degree student from Ghana)

                                I am a Ghanaian foreign student pursuing my Master's degree at the Communication University of China (CUC). One may wonder why I chose to stay back on campus in China and complete my studies amid the COVID-19 pandemic in China. I believe it was the best decision I have ever taken, though the period was not without some negativity. My experience on campus during this period has also taught me a few lessons of life.

                                For those of us who stayed on campus during this time, the Chinese government and the school authorities offered us their unflinching support. I quite remember in early March this year, a strict directive came that no student will be allowed to go out of the school’s gates, restricting our activities to be taken only on the campus. Most of us at that time became worried because we hadn’t made enough plans concerning our feeding, etc. However, to our relief, the university management acted promptly with numerous assistance. Among them were arrangements to pick up our packages and deliveries and provision of free printing service during the period. We are also given free masks and a box of fruits every week. Also, our various departments supported us with some foodstuff earlier during the period. An officer was available at the reception as well to help students download and use an application for ordering provisions and food online.

                                Very importantly, our body temperatures were checked and monitored regularly to ensure that we are in good health. During the pandemic, most students became stressed and psychologically unstable. Here again, for our mental wellbeing, the university management arranged a free online counselling session for all students who need such a kind of service. On campus, we could also use the stadium for some leisure and move freely.

                                I want to state that though our activities have been restricted as students on campus for some time, the measure ensuring our safety and wellbeing is quite apt. Personally, my experience as an international student in China during the pandemic has taught me to respect the measures which the authorities issue during situations like this and abide by rules to seek our common good.

                                I seize this opportunity to sincerely thank the Chinese authorities and the President Xi Jinping, for their renewed commitment and support to us foreign students in China.


                                 (Master’s Degree student from Ghana)

                                I would like to convey my sincere gratitude and highest form of thanks to the People’s Republic of China and its entire leadership for having been there for the international students at our greatest need. The time you took to care for us and show us compassion is a tremendous asset to the effectiveness of China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

                                In my honest opinion, you have been an example of servant-leadership which you demonstrated through dedicated giving and support; not just in terms of necessities, but also through psycho-social support by offering psycho-social therapeutic counseling services to ensure that as an international student, both my physical, social and mental well-being are well attended to. Throughout the entire period of the pandemic, no matter what situations and challenges I experienced as an individual, I believe that if it were  not for your efforts to maintain an easy and cool environment on the ground I would not have coped well. Your relentless efforts to fight against the  COVID-19 have given me a sudden boost of hope. Indeed I feel great, safe and sound to be within the borders of China during this period. This experience had made me  realize that China cares about the people and the country cares even more about foreigners. No foreigner was discriminated against in terms of the provision of information, health care and everything that is necessary to combat this scourge. During my 16 year vocation as a state journalist, I have travelled the world but I have never felt so appreciated and beloved than in China.

                                Valuable information reached all the locals and not even discriminating against the international students. I got a chance to subscribe to local news outlets online that gave thorough informative education on the COVID-19 especially ways of transmission, prevention, incubation period, diagnosis and healthcare. This information assisted me in writing and having a serious of articles published in my country’s newspapers condemning those who misled people about the pandemic and how China is handling it as well on lessons which countries can learn from China with regard to the fight against COVID 19. 

                                Facing the epidemic, it sank in me that people from all race, ethnicity, and different ethnic color in China most importantly should unite and help in the fight against the COVID-19, because there goes a saying in my vernacular language interpreted as “one man’s fall today maybe another man’s fall tomorrow.” Therefore, I perceived inciting racial discrimination and hurling insults against China and her people as inappropriate and not in any way helping in lessening the spread of the virus but was most likely to hamper the joint efforts by the medical health experts, volunteers and all those in the front-line against the COVID-19 that has claimed the lives of many. However, as great as China is with her people, they never let any of these get to them. They fought a good fight. With the joint efforts of all the people of China, today we are experiencing light at the end of the tunnel.

                                With these few words of gratitude and thanksgiving, I would like to salute President Xin Jinping and the people of China as a whole for a great job. China is my second home, and as such in times of difficulties, I had to stand in unity and solidarity to protect and defend my home. After all, an injury to one is an injury to all. Thank you, China!

                                Editor: Hou Yifu   Zhang Xu   Arshad Bhatti


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