by Xinhua writers Li Laifang, Zhang Xudong and Zheng Xin
BEIJING, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Clad in protective clothes, policewoman Wei Guojuan does her daily work at the Karasu Pass, the only land port between China and Tajikistan. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the port has remained open for regular trade between the two countries.
"We use large machinery to lift cargo boxes to avoid contact between personnel and vehicles on both sides, and goods are strictly disinfected, thus lowering the risk of coronavirus transmission to the most extent," said Wei, 27, at the pass with an altitude of over 4,000 meters in Kashgar Prefecture, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
China and Tajikistan are among the founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional bloc representing nearly half of the world's population and over 20 percent of global gross domestic product.
In his remarks at the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the SCO is required to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and deepen solidarity and collaboration in the current circumstances.
"Together, we will contribute more to the stability and development of countries in the region and take more steps toward building a community with a shared future for mankind," Xi said via video link in Beijing.
At the meeting, Xi stressed the need to step up anti-epidemic cooperation and build a community of health; to safeguard security and stability and build a community of security; to deepen practical cooperation and build a community of development; and to nourish people-to-people amity and build a community of cultural exchanges for all.
Stories in these four fields have manifested the concrete efforts of building a closer SCO community with a shared future.
A COMMUNITY OF HEALTH
In late October, a video meeting was held for medical experts from Shuangyashan in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and Russia's Magadan city, to exchange experiences in fighting COVID-19. The two cities have witnessed increasingly vibrant cooperation and exchanges in various fields such as the economy, culture and tourism since a friendship city tie was established in 2013.
"When COVID-19 cases were reported in Shuangyashan, the government, companies and the people of Magadan offered aid to our city. We have also paid close attention to the epidemic situation in Magadan and collected ani-epidemic materials to help them within our capability," said Sun Yu, vice mayor of Shuangyashan.
The epidemic control exchange is just one of the examples of anti-epidemic cooperation between China and other SCO members.
After the coronavirus epidemic broke out in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, early this year, China received aid such as masks from other SCO members including Russia, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
China has also provided various support measures to SCO countries, including sending medical experts, providing materials, and organizing video meetings for medical workers to share experiences in epidemic prevention and control. In April, China sent an expert team from Heilongjiang to Russia to help control the epidemic there.
A COMMUNITY OF SECURITY
Security cooperation has been one of the main agendas for the SCO.
For the past 20 years, Zirak Memerayhim, a herdsman in Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County, Xinjiang, has been patrolling the border, following in his father's footsteps. The county, on the Pamir Plateau, neighbors Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.
Riding a horse before and now a motorcycle, he has offered information to assist in capturing terrorist suspects who attempted to cross the border. "I will continue to safeguard the border and will not allow any suspect to cross it," Zirak Memerayhim said.
On security cooperation, the SCO member states agreed at Tuesday's meeting to strengthen cooperation to jointly prevent the spread of the ideologies of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
As Xi said at the meeting, security and stability are the number one precondition for a country's development, and thus concern the core interests of all countries.
A COMMUNITY OF DEVELOPMENT
On Monday, a train carrying tires, auto parts, electronic components and other goods from Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) pulled out of the transport center in east China's coastal city of Qingdao, heading for Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The center is located in the China-SCO local economic and trade cooperation demonstration zone in Qingdao.
At present, the Qingdao multimodal transport center has 17 domestic and foreign train routes, including outbound trains to Central Asia and Europe (Russia and Belarus), said Wei Xuelun, deputy general manager with the Qingdao branch of China United International Rail Containers Co., Ltd.
Via the multimodal transport center, goods from SCO countries can reach countries such as Japan and the ROK through rail and sea transportation. In the first 10 months of this year, the center's throughput of containers hit 592,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit), up by 5 percent year on year.
In June, the "SCO Special Commodities Hall," jointly built by the China-SCO cooperation demonstration zone and China's e-commerce giant JD.com, opened to sell specific commodities from SCO countries.
Progress has also been made in deepening economic and trade cooperation as China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative synergizes with development strategies of other SCO countries.
"We need to be guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and open up more opportunities for practical cooperation to facilitate economic recovery and betterment of people's lives," Xi said at Tuesday's summit.
A COMMUNITY OF CULTURAL EXCHANGES
Also at the summit, Xi called for promoting mutual learning among civilizations, and enhancing good-neighborliness and friendship among countries to lay a solid foundation of public support for the long-term development of the SCO.
At the Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine, some 100 students from SCO countries such as Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are studying traditional Chinese medicine theories and practices such as acupuncture, massage and cupping therapy.
Mukhamed Lyushlin, a former boxer from Kazakhstan, is in his first-year study of a postgraduate program majoring in acupuncture and massage at the university.
"My parents knew Chinese medicine a long time ago and supported me in shifting to the new career. It is my family's hope and my own dream," he said.
Mukhamed Lyushlin has participated in a number of Chinese medicine skill competitions in China, where more and more foreign competitors were showing up.
"The countries where these students come from have their own traditional medicines. I learned a lot from them, too," said Jia Chengwen, a professor in acupuncture and massage at the university. "There are some consistencies and also differences between Chinese medicine and those of other SCO countries, but they all provide useful ideas for treatment."
According to Pu Jisheng, deputy Party chief of the university, SCO countries are the college's focus of international exchange and cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine, and 88 percent of its current foreign students are from SCO states.
"Overseas students who come to appreciate the charm of Chinese medicine will become messengers for people-to-people exchanges," Pu said. Enditem
(Xinhua reporters Zhang Zhongkai, Liu Heyao and Zhou Ye contributed to the story.)