From China with love and care
Updated: 2013-06-19 15:03
By Peng Yining (China Daily)
Peace Ark is on a 118-day medical mission overseas.
Designed and constructed in China, the Peace Ark is a purpose-built hospital vessel and much of its equipment is of the same standard as that found in some of China's top hospitals. The vessel has 300 sickbeds, eight operating rooms and a rescue helicopter.
Wang said the crew includes three experts in traditional Chinese medicine, who provide treatments such as acupuncture and massage.
"Chinese medicine is widely accepted in Southern Asian countries. Our trip is also a great opportunity for people to learn more about our culture and history," said Wang. "During the visit, the ship will be totally open to local medical professionals. We are looking forward to learning from them as well."
On the walls of one sickroom, posters explain Chinese medicine and treatment. A doctor stabbed a thin needle into an officer's back to ease his backache. Through the porthole behind the doctor, seagulls could be glimpsed as they glided by. Even during heavy gales and swells, the sickrooms are quiet and dry.
"Showing goodwill to neighboring countries is a responsibility and also a sign of a confident country," said Guo from the PLA National Defense University.
He said China has a tradition of spreading friendship across the seas, referring to the voyages of Zheng He, a politician and navigator during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Zheng led 100 vessels and more than 27,000 officials and soldiers on visits to more than 30 countries and regions in Southern Asia and East Africa during seven voyages in a 28-year period between 1405 and 1433. Zheng's voyages were a landmark in the history of navigation and a remarkable chapter in the diplomatic activities of ancient China.
"The Peace Ark's voyage can also be seen as a diplomatic trip, one that could help China build its international image. China and the countries the ship visits can all benefit from this trip," said Guo.
"Other nations, including the United States, also send their hospital ships overseas to provide humanitarian services."
Chen Xianguo, senior captain of the Peace Ark, described the vessel as a "lifesaving ship. Our voyage is a trip to make friends. It sends a friendly message to countries across the seas, and it's also an opportunity for them to get to know China and her navy."
Ju Zhenhua, Tang Yue and Zhang Yuchen contributed to this story.
Source: Peace Ark Feng Xiuxia / China Daily