BEIJING — The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which has long been an important force in domestic disaster relief, is making more contributions in international aid.
Most recently, Chinese military doctors played a crucial role in combating Ebola in west African nations with remarkable results.
On Jan 13, a third dispatch of medical aid teams from the Chinese army left Beijing for Sierra Leone to help fight Ebola.
On Jan 12, the China-financed Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Liberia, which is operated by an elite PLA medical team, discharged three Ebola patients after two tests revealed they were negative for the virus, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
They were among 67 patients, including five confirmed and 45 suspected patients, who were treated by the 163-member Chinese military medical team since Dec 23.
The unit is the only one in the epidemic-stricken countries that is constructed, staffed and operated by a foreign country. It has won applause from local governments and media.
China’s aid reflects the friendship between the country and African nations, which have stood together in times of need over the past five decades.
But the PLA ‘s assistance is not confined to Africa.
On Jan 12, two transportation aircraft with the PLA Air Force delivered relief goods including sewage pumps and water purifying equipment, to Malaysia, which has seen its worst bout of flooding in 45 years as more than 200,000 people are displaced by the rising waters.
A month ago, PLA Air Force planes delivered water to Maldives, when the Island nation suffered an acute water shortage. Pakistan, Mongolia and Thailand are also among nations that have received disaster relief materials carried by PLA Air Force in recent years.
Meanwhile, the PLA Navy is no less diligent in offering its share of assistance.
Since last year, PLA Navy vessels had joined in the search operation of the missing Malaysian airliner MH370 and the black boxes and debris from the ill-fated AirAsia Flight QZ8501.
All these efforts began with the PLA’s presence in United Nations peacekeeping missions worldwide in 1990. As the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has deployed more than 27,000 military personnel around the globe as of September 2014.
In a historic move, China announced in December that it would send its first infantry battalion to South Sudan to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission in 2015. Previous Chinese peacekeepers were mainly engineering, transportation, medical service and security guard corps.
All these relief operations and peacekeeping missions have shown to the world that Chinese army is a peaceful force, and China, as a nation, is a responsible member of the international community.