On 31 March 2020, the Joint Working Team from Shandong Province had a meeting remotely with representatives from the Scottish Government and the Health Service at the Chinese Embassy in London. Mr. Wang Hua, head of the Shandong delegation and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People’s Congress, Chinese Consul General Ma Qiang in Edinburgh and Mr Scott Wightman, Director of the External Affairs addressed the meeting. Health experts from the delegation shared first hand information with Scottish clinicians and planners after the principals’ remarks.
Consul General Ma said that, “In this uniquely challenging time of the growing pandemic and its development in the UK, the Joint Working Team from Shandong Province arrived in the UK on a special mission to bring greetings and medical supplies to the Chinese community, students and enterprises. They also donated medical supplies to the relevant bodies in the UK and shared professional experience with their British counterparts in a bid to demonstrate China-UK, China-Scotland friendship and our support and help in beating COVID-19.
Shandong and Scotland maintains frequent contacts so as to strengthen fruitful trade links and flourishing people-to-people exchanges. In his phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, President Xi Jinping expressed his confidence that when the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, China and the UK will enjoy deeper mutual understanding, more extensive consensus and broader prospects for bilateral cooperation. I trust this conference will become another much-told story about successful regional engagement between China and the UK, pushing Shandong-Scotland connections to a new high. ”
Mr Wang Hua added that, “Shandong delegation travelled to the UK with greetings and medical supplies to the Chinese students, community and enterprises. The delegation in particular brought the donations to the UK including some of the ventilators, face masks, medical gowns and testing kits designated to Scotland. Under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping and the Central Committee of the CPC, the Chinese government and people mobilized all resources to fight the virus since the outbreak. China has achieved a phased victory as normal economic and social order being gradually resumed. We highly appreciated that the UK government and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce expressed their sympathies and support to China.
China stands ready to take the implementation of the important consensus of President Xi and PM Boris Johnson. China sincerely hopes that the Scottish Government can take concrete steps to safeguard the health, safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Scotland particularly those of Chinese students, and to provide with necessary and timely medical support.”
Mr Wightman welcomed the Shandong delegation to the UK and the experience shared by Chinese side at the online meeting. He said that Scotland is committed to strengthening links with China, that Shandong government and its universities had cooperated extensively with Scotland. On behalf of the Scottish Government, he thanked immensely for the donation of equipment and supplies, which he assured would be put to good use. He emphasized that the Scottish Government values the wellbeing and safety of Chinese students and will care for them as they do to the Scots.
Experts from the delegation took questions of their Scottish counterparts, while the latter acknowledged that China’s experience would prove invaluable to them and other clinicians and health workers at the front line. They look forward to the responses from China to their further questions so as to advance the collective effort to eradicate the virus.