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Chinese central SOEs in fighting the COVID-19

By Ren Hongbin | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-06-24 17:29

China National Nuclear Corp employees pack medical supplies for use in Wuhan, the hardest-hit city during the epidemic in China, on Feb 9, 2020. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, President Xi Jinping has attached great importance to fighting the virus and personally took charge and planned our response. With the painstaking efforts of the entire nation, we have made major achievements in our response to COVID-19. In the process, Chinese central state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have fulfilled their social responsibility and played a very important role in preventing and controlling the epidemic, promoting economic and social development, and assisting in the global anti-virus battle.

Confronted with the unexpected epidemic, Chinese central SOEs have resolutely acted on the important instructions given by President Xi Jinping and the decisions and deployments made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Acting as the vanguard and mainstay, they have undertaken difficult tasks and withstood the test of this special battle, fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of central SOEs.

First, central SOEs exerted their great strengths in ensuring the supply of necessities and fulfilled their mission in winning the fight against COVID-19. Petroleum and petrochemical enterprises actively dispatched resources, power grid companies took the initiative to ensure electricity access, and power generators operated at full load, all to ensure energy supply for the country, especially the hard-hit areas such as Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province. Communications enterprises kept the networks in Hubei functioning at a high capacity, airlines proactively flew chartered planes to transport medical personnel and supplies to the front line, and agri-trade companies went all out to ensure the normal supply of staple and non-staple food. Construction, power and communications enterprises worked collaboratively to build the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals in about 10 days, and build and renovate more than 200 specialized and makeshift hospitals. Some enterprises adopted a wartime mode to shift to, and expand, the production of medical supplies from scratch, effectively mitigating shortages. Enterprises engaged in the medical sector took the lead in developing and manufacturing nucleic acid testing kits, and proposing convalescent plasma therapy, and have made substantial progress in the development of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. About 600 doctors and nurses from hospitals affiliated with central SOEs rushed to help Hubei, and all medical institutions of central SOEs in Hubei were designated either as fever clinics or hospitals to receive suspected cases, providing strong support to the front line.

Second, central SOEs exerted a strong driving force and played a leading role in economic and social recovery. To cope with the challenges presented by COVID-19 and achieve this year's development goals, central SOEs once again set the example in resuming work and production in an orderly manner. Central SOEs in petroleum and petrochemicals, power grid and generation, military industry, iron and steel, machinery and equipment manufacturing and aviation maintained stable operations during the Spring Festival holiday when the virus was at its peak. Over 90% of central SOEs had resumed operation by the end of February and this figure was over 95% in late March. Now they have fully resumed work and production. Central SOEs in the construction, automobile and tourism industries that were hit hard by COVID-19 resumed work ahead of other enterprises in these sectors by overcoming many obstacles, and those undertaking major projects and programs did their best to accomplish their goals on schedule. A large group of central SOEs took the initiative to set up platforms to offer cooperation opportunities. Those engaged in the power grid, petroleum and petrochemical, communications and trade sectors reduced fees and cut or waived rent payments as required by the central government. This will reduce the burden on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as the self-employed, and push the orderly recovery and coordinated operation upstream and downstream of industrial chains. Central SOEs pledged to provide more job opportunities and launched the special anti-epidemic program of "stabilizing and expanding employment". The number of college graduates, migrant workers and first-time hires they will recruit in 2020 will be no smaller than in 2019.

Third, central SOEs used their strong advantages in solidarity and coordination and contributed Chinese strengths to the global anti-virus battle. Central SOEs upheld the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. On the one hand, they did a great job balancing COVID-19 response and work resumption. On the other hand, they coordinated resources to strengthen international anti-virus cooperation by providing much-needed supplies and assistance to other countries within their capacity, boosting the international community's confidence in defeating the virus. China State Construction, China Railway Group and China Railway Construction Corporation built overseas versions of the Huoshenshan Hospital. Sinopharm dispatched medical experts overseas to guide and assist in anti-virus work. A large number of central SOEs actively mobilized resources for COVID-19 prevention and control and shared China's experience, helping their partners worldwide to defeat the virus. Meanwhile, they refined the allocation of production resources overseas, cleared logistics channels, and worked for the orderly resumption of projects. By intensifying international cooperation to keep the global supply chain and production chain stable, they conveyed to the world Chinese enterprises' resolve and capability of honoring their commitments to economic stability and prosperity.

This year marks a milestone in China's development history. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and central SOEs will fulfill our missions and responsibilities, and make the utmost effort to overcome the impact of the epidemic. We will foster new opportunities from this crisis, blaze a new trail in the turbulent situation, prepare for the worst and strive for the best. While implementing COVID-19 prevention and control measures on an ongoing basis, we will continue to advance high-quality development through reform and opening-up and develop new growth drivers to achieve annual targets. We are committed to making new and greater contributions to achieving stable and healthy socio-economic development, winning the tough battle of poverty alleviation, and securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

We firmly believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at its core and with the united efforts of all walks of society, we will eventually achieve victory both in COVID-19 control and in economic and social development. The human community, with a shared future, will finally walk out of the shroud of the virus into a brighter future.

The author is Vice Chairman of State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.




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