File photo of Thomas Ramsey
It's not a good time to point fingers during a pandemic. Instead, the world should work together to combat the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, according to a teacher from the United States who has witnessed China's battle against COVID-19 this year in Hubei province, the former epicenter of the contagion.
At a time when China and its people face groundless accusations and stigmatization, Thomas Ramsey－who teaches at China Three Gorges University's School of Foreign Languages in Yichang, Hubei－decided not to remain silent.
"Let the authorities do their due diligence after this virus is under control so that we can prevent it in the future, but it never was a 'Chinese virus'," Ramsey said.
"I was getting a little sick and tired of seeing officials, especially in the US, pointing their fingers at China," said Ramsey."It's not a 'Chinese virus', it's a virus that knows no borders. Stop blaming China."
Ramsey arrived in Yichang in 2010 and has become attached to the city, which is about a five-hour drive from Wuhan－the Chinese city that suffered most during the epidemic. Yichang closed all its exits on Jan 25 because of the severity of the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.
"It was a tough decision," Ramsey said."But it was the right decision." He said the quarantine measures were necessary strategies that had to be adopted to save lives. He chose to stay on campus and "has been treated with nothing but respect during the epidemic". With good coordination by the university, he was able to "lie back, catch up on reading, exercise and get the house cleaned".
Meanwhile, he said he marveled at the deeds of many courageous Chinese people, including doctors, nurses, police and governmental officials who rushed out to the front line to guarantee people's safety. "They put their lives on the line for the rest of us," he said.
Having spent nearly a decade living and working in China, Ramsey said he has grown weary of Western media attempts to "put out a wrong picture of what China and the Chinese people really are", which then leads to more ignorance. Ramsey stressed that it's fear and ignorance hiding behind ideological views that lead to discrimination.
If certain US officials continue to blame China without actually making the attempt to understand the country, he said, "they're making themselves and their country look really bad".
Ramsey said he thinks the only way to break down prejudice is to continue to have open exchanges and dialogue while building mutual trust.
Instead of judging through quick impressions, he said one has to come and see the country firsthand.
"Let's try and work together as a people on this planet for a change, rather than putting each other down and ripping everybody apart," Ramsey said. "That serves no purpose at all." The US and China are too interconnected to be always fighting against each other, he added.