Back home in China, the Coronavirus cases are showing signs of retreating, but in India, the virus has started to advance. And this has made Kevin (name changed on request) worried sick. He is one among the many Chinese nationals who have made India their second home.
Kevin, who travels across India for work, is now stationed in Mumbai. He started avoiding any travel post the news of the first Coronavirus case in India. Now with a lockdown in many states, there is no way and reason for him to travel. He is among the 5,000-7,000 Chinese expatriates living in the country (as per 2015 data).
Kevin is not the only one who is worried, a top executive of a Chinese bank, Zheng Bin, exclaimed, “I am very worried about what is happening here, my second home.” But that did not make him leave India to go back to China. He added, “I am not planning to leave. It is not because all international flights are grounded, but I have a bank to run here in India and many clients need our services at this very testing time.”
Nazia Vasi, Founder and CEO of Inchin Closer who interacts with the Chinese community on a regular basis, said, “The Chinese community here is worried about the speed at which the virus is spreading in India. They are also worried about the healthcare system in the country and what will happen if they are diagnosed with Covid 19.”
While many Chinese nationals went back home to enjoy the Chinese New Year, but handful stayed back in India. It was the same time (in January) when the Coronavirus outbreak happened there. “Basically, Chinese nationals here have been on high alert and have tried their best to prepare for the crisis as soon as WHO announced it was a pandemic,” Kevin said.
At present, India has around 430 Covid-19 cases. To contain it from spreading, India has called for a lockdown. The Chinese communities here feel that India took a bold and right step of lockdown to contain the virus. Countries like China, Korea, Italy, France and other countries, have also opted for lockdown as it was considered as the best approach (due to the absence of a vaccine for the virus).
Angela Li, founder, Power Bridge Films said, "I have seen what Chinese people especially Wuhan people have been through and the sacrifice they have given by staying at home for months, which bought the country even the world enough time to prepare for this war. I hope we all take precaution and keep a social distance for a while and win this fight with corona as soon as possible." India is home to around 1.85 lakh Chinese-Indian nationals. One among that community is Angela Li who has been living with her husband and kids in India for years now.
While Chinese around the world have faced strong racism in many western countries, in India it is relevantly low. Commenting on this, Zheng Bin said, “Indian people are very kind and loving. I have not heard too many cases of racism in this country in the last few years. There might be a few folks misguided by fake news on the Internet and say some negative words about China, but facts speak louder.” Adding to this, Vasi stressed there had been some negative views in Indian media but that has changed over time.
While India is focusing on the social impact of the illness, Zheng Bin directs the attention to the economic aspect too. He added, “In my view, a huge bridge loan should be readied by the government to support the Indian economy. Secondly, what is of more concern, is how daily wage earners and those without deposit can survive in the next few weeks. Again, more measures need to be taken decisively, and fast (to boost the economy).”