At the time when China was struggling against the outbreak of coronavirus, the Confucius Institutes co-built by Xiamen university in five continents gave us warmth and strength. Now as the world is in the grip of a coronavirus pandemic, the safety of teachers and students in the overseas Confucius Institutes also concerns everyone at Xiamen University. Facing the increasing widespread of the pandemic in the world, Xiamen University has taken various measures to work together with the 15 Confucius Institutes to fight against the pandemic.
During the pandemic of coronavirus, President Zhang Rong sent letters to a number of Confucius Institute partnership universities, expressing the concern and greetings for the teachers and students, thanking them for their care for the Chinese staff at the special period. He also said that as a Chinese partner, Xiamen university is willing to provide support and assistance to combat COVID-19.
In early March, under the guidance of Vice President Yang Bin, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs gave further instructions to the Confucius Institutes to make a new emergency plan for the prevention of the coronavirus outbreak in light of the latest situation and policies in the country. At the same time, Southern Base also strengthened the communication and contact with the Confucius Institutes, and formulated the "Working Plan for Preventing and Controlling the Pandemic of Covid 19 for Confucius Institutes and their Chinese staff", implemented the "Daily Report", "Zero Report" systems and "Return to China Approval Management System", and assigned special information officer to connect with each Chinese staff to ensure full coverage.
In addition to paying close attention to the daily health status of various Chinese personnel serving in the Confucius Institutes overseas, Xiamen university also actively cared about other relevant persons, such as the family members of Chinese staff, more than a dozen Xiamen University volunteers, who could not return to work due to their vacation in China, or had just left the country and various scholarship students. An online contact group was established in order to connect those persons, to know their health status, and to provide advice and assistance.
After learning about the material needs of the overseas Confucius Institutes, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs sent masks to them and Xiamen University students in other Confucius Institutes by express delivery in batches. Since March 5th, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs has sent 27 batches of anti-pandemic materials. A consolation letter was enclosed in every package, conveying the school's deep concern to everyone.
From March 18th to 26th, to render help to the overseas Confucius Institutes in their anti-pandemic work, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs held the "Thematic Video Conferences on the Prevention of Covid-19 in Overseas Confucius Institutes" four times in order to update information and give directions. Mao Tongwen, Director of the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs, Fan Li, Chairman of the Southern Base Council, 15 Chinese CI Directors, and 11 full-time teachers from 15 Confucius Institutes in 12 countries attended the meetings. At the meetings, the Chinese Directors and full-time teachers gave specific reports on the overall situation of the pandemic in the host countries, the Confucius Institute's pandemic prevention policies and measures, the difficulties they encountered and the assistance they required. Mao said that the university would do its utmost to guarantee the material needs of each Confucius Institute, and asked each Confucius Institute to maintain close contact with their host universities, Chinese embassies or consulates abroad, Confucius Institute Headquarters and Xiamen University to keep abreast with the latest prevention requirements for entry into China, and give conscientious cooperation. Mao instructed the directors to strengthen the care for the Chinese staff and provide guidance on pandemic prevention to ensure the safety of every Chinese staff. Fan conveyed the university’s concern and consolation to the Chinese personnel who remained at their posts during the pandemic. Fan also made suggestions on scientific prevention, material reserves and psychological adjustment, and hoped that the Chinese teachers would actively cooperate with the Confucius Institute Directors and host universities in the difficult period.
In addition, the Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs shared various types of pandemic prevention knowledge and policies online, conveying the latest guidelines, responding promptly to the concerns of the Confucius Institutes, increasing the frequency of interaction with them from the aspects of emotional care, psychological counseling, epidemic prevention knowledge and policy publicity, etc., so as to help the Confucius Institutes to combat COVID-19 in real earnest.
In this global war with the COVID-19, although Xiamen University and the 15 Confucius Institutes are thousands of miles apart, they have been continuously fighting hand in hand and will tide over the difficulties in the end.