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By Haroon Ali Updated: 2020-05-27 23:48
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My name is Haroon Ali from Pakistan. I work in Ji'nan at the Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology as a foreign teacher and director of international students. One month ago, everything was normal. People were preparing for Chinese New Year, and I was making plans to attend my brother’s marriage ceremony in Pakistan on Jan 31. But I got news of a virus spreading around Wuhan city and many people getting infected. I received notice from my institute giving strict instruction to all international students. At this critical situation I made the hard decision not to attend my brother’s wedding and stay here in China to help my students. Here are my own experiences and observations during this epidemic.

I live in Jinan, which is almost 800 kilometers from Wuhan. The situation is not as serious here as Wuhan, but for public safety most supermarkets, malls, cinemas, car workshops, public offices and schools are closed. Public transport is still running but almost without passengers, and few private cars can be seen on roads. As everyone has to stay at home, the main issue is availability of food and medical facilities. The local government has made a system to provide access to all kinds of necessities. People can buy things online and have them delivered in a few hours.

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I would like to appreciate China’s government, which is doing its best to fight in a critical epidemic situation. I also appreciate my institute as well, which is working hard day and night for international students. Food is being provided inside dormitories and physical check-ups are being done continuously on all students. All teachers frequently connect with students who returned home or elsewhere. International students living in dormitories cannot go out at the moment, so I am helping them buy all kinds of food items and other daily necessities from the supermarket. I explain different safety precautions to them for virus prevention and protection. In order to refresh their minds, I teach them Chinese and their major courses as well. Most students’ parents are worried about their kids. I often talk with them through WeChat to tell them about the current situation and remind them to be strong and stand with China, their children’s second homeland, which is giving them advanced learning opportunities.

We all know this is a crisis, but we are keeping our eyes on China and hoping for a fast recovery. I have been living in China for the past four years. I deeply know local government and their abilities. I believe everything will be normal in the next few weeks. We all know everyone is making an effort in their own way. All the international community, especially Pakistanis, stand with China and will support the Chinese government and their remarkable efforts during this epidemic.

Haroon Ali works at the Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology as a foreign teacher and director of international students.

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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