Belgrade, Feb 16 (IANS) On the occasion of Serbia’s Statehood Day, President Aleksandar Vucic decorated nine Chinese physicians and Chinese biotech company BGI Group for assisting in the country’s battle with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 170 individuals and institutions whose work was recognized by Serbia included physicians Peng Zhiqiang, Hou Cailan, Guo Yubiao, Xiong Yan, Lin Bingliang, Long Qisui, Liu Dayue, Tang Kejing and Cheng Shouzhen. They arrived in Serbia at the very beginning of the pandemic and for months shared their knowledge and experiences with their local colleagues, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
The gold medals for merit were conferred on nine members of the doctors’ team in absentia.
The BGI Group, which helped Serbia build two state-of-the-art “Fire Eye” laboratories for Covid-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing, received the first class of the Order of the Serbian Flag.
“Thank you, heroes of our time, who gave a lot to Serbia and lived not only for yourselves, but for us,” President Vucic told the award recipients. “To give a lot to Serbia without asking for anything in return, to incorporate one’s work in its name, to sacrifice for it — is the most that someone can do in life and that is why Serbia responds with gratitude and the greatest recognition it can give. Their names will be written in the eternal book of praise, courage and honour.”
Celebrated since 2001, Statehood Day marks the anniversary of the first constitution that the Principality of Serbia adopted in 1835.
The central ceremony of Serbia’s Statehood Day traditionally takes place in the village of Orasac, some 80 kilometers south of the capital Belgrade, where the Serbian people launched a rebellion — known as the First Serbian Uprising — against Ottoman rule in 1804.
A state delegation, led by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, laid wreaths at the monument dedicated to Karadjordje, leader of the uprising.
“Our ancestors would be proud if they witnessed how we are fighting today using our resources and the knowledge we have,” Brnabic said.