By Zhu Yongbiao
On June 22, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Khost and Paktika in Afghanistan, killing many people. After learning about the earthquake, the Chinese government immediately expressed its sympathy to the Afghan people and decided to provide 50 million RMB as emergency humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
The Chinese government also said it will coordinate closely with the Afghan interim government to ensure that relief supplies reach those affected by the disaster as soon as possible and help the Afghan people overcome the difficulties. China is also ready to work with Afghanistan to consolidate disaster prevention and mitigation, especially in disaster monitoring and forecasting. On June 27, the first batch of Chinese relief supplies arrived in Afghanistan and were quickly distributed to those in need.
A sum of 50 million RMB is not a small sum for China. The Chinese people, however, did not file any complaints but unanimously expressed their great support. Meanwhile, the Chinese people, the local government, the Red Cross Society of China, and Chinese companies, institutes, individuals and others have taken steps to offer what they find to help Afghanistan. So far, various civilian donation events for Afghanistan are still ongoing. Indeed, for a long time, especially after the upheavals in Afghanistan last year, the Chinese government and people have not stopped their humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, even showing greater momentum.
Since the earthquake, China has provided the largest and most substantial aid of any country. China is also the fastest in implementing aid. The supplies, which are of high quality, relevant and practical, have been unanimously welcomed by the interim government and the people of Afghanistan. It can be said that China’s prompt and effective assistance to Afghanistan has once again set a vivid example of China’s long-term and constructive support for the Afghan people.
In recent years, China has seen continuous improvement in the level of international assistance and has consistently implemented its value as a community with a shared future for mankind through its practical actions. In foreign aid, China has adhered to internationalism and the humanitarian spirit and made every effort to offer the utmost timely assistance to foreign countries and their people when they are exposed to threats of natural disasters, major infectious diseases and others.
This large-scale aid to the earthquake disaster in Afghanistan has once again highlighted China’s humanitarianism and global affection. The international humanitarian spirit embodied in the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity sheds a light that commands attention.
The humanitarian spirit must be fundamentally people-oriented, valuing not only the safety of the citizens of a nation, but also that of the inhabitants of other countries as human beings. According to a Chinese proverb, one should take care of the elderly like one’s own elderly parents and of the young like one’s own young children. China will never stand with folded hands when a friend is in trouble and will never offer help under the precondition of self-interest. This reflects China’s righteousness and the longstanding principle of the Chinese people. This is very consistent with the Afghan people following the traditional idea of establishing Hujra (the Afghan cultural guesthouse) to entertain familiar or unfamiliar passing guests. It is similar to the hospitality of the Afghan people.
The Chinese government and people have maintained that when large numbers of Afghans face survival and right to life issues, the most important and urgent task is to save lives. It should neither deliberately link humanitarian aid to politics nor politicize issues of humanitarian aid, human rights and the right to development under the banner of politics, much less use them in a biased way as weapons to torment the suffering Afghans.
China has actively engaged and supported Afghan infrastructure and helped build a large number of hospitals, educational buildings, roads, water conservancy facilities and other that benefit people’s livelihoods and promote development. China has been an active model in supporting Afghan farmers, with measures such as the opening of the air corridor for pine nuts, the exemption of customs duties on Afghan agricultural products exported to China, training Afghan agricultural experts, etc. Each measure reflects China’s substantial assistance to the Afghan people.
China has been striving to establish a mechanism integrating emergency aid and long-term aid, bilateral cooperative aid and multilateral cooperative aid, so as to create a comprehensive and solid ecology of assistance combining development aid and Afghanistan’s national self-development capabilities, which not only alleviate the current catastrophe facing the Afghan people, but also improve the Afghan people’s capacity and confidence in reconstruction of his country, thus carrying out a true reconstruction.
China’s timely assistance has warmed the hearts of the Afghan people. Reading the press releases on China’s aid to Afghanistan and relevant news released by the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan, many Afghan netizens have made glowing comments. It can be said that China’s aid has provided multiple and valuable support to the Afghan people in calamities, added certainty and stability to complex and difficult situations in Afghanistan, and contributed to improving the conditions and quality of life for the Afghan people. When the Afghan people were ruthlessly thrown from planes and ships by the United States, it was China and other countries that consistently reached out to help and maximize relief from the dual physical and mental suffering of the Afghan people. .
Driven by its utter irresponsibility, the United States completely abandoned Afghanistan and deliberately attempted to dismiss Afghan issues. Furthermore, the United States has deliberately exploited other international issues to divert the attention of the American people and the international community.
This earthquake caused nearly 5,000 serious casualties and again revealed injuries that the American people do not want to mention. The reason why a magnitude 6.2 earthquake leads to such a tragic outcome is that Afghanistan has extremely weak disaster warning and prevention capabilities and poor living conditions and infrastructure. This shows once again that over the past 20 years, the United States has failed to make a substantial investment in Afghan nation-building and the livelihoods of the people. Billions of US dollars have been spent on military purposes, especially bombs. Many of them returned to the United States.
In response to the demand of the Afghan people and the international community for the release and return of Afghan assets, the United States has sometimes played deaf and dumb or sometimes used national laws and regulations and executive orders as excuses. At the same time, the United States continues to offer various resounding excuses to prevent the international community from offering aid to Afghanistan.
The United States intends to make humanitarian aid an issue. He used his discursive hegemony to influence and control the Afghan situation and attempted to install a switch operated by no one but himself. This actually shows that the United States applied a dull knife to the Afghan’s bleeding wounds. Faced with the serious and incessant humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, it is high time for the United States to completely change its style, which it must do, and match words with deeds to assume its responsibilities.
The author is a professor, executive director of Belt and Road Research Center of Lanzhou University, director of Afghanistan Studies Center of Lanzhou University.