Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba and one of Asia’s richest men, has also taken the lead in providing assistance to countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Announcing that he will send 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and 1 million masks to the US, Ma has stated he will donate more than 1 million kits to Africa, as well as send emergency supplies to a number of South Asian and Southeast Asian Countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The emergency supplies include 1.8 million masks, 210,000 test kits, 36,000 protective suits, and ventilators and thermometers.
The Chinese government is also providing assistance to other countries dealing with COVID-19. In response to a request for assistance from the Italian government, China sent a group of 300 doctors, as well as coronavirus testing kits and ventilators to Italy.
“China’s experience in dealing with SARS, H5N1, and now COVID-19 is vital in assisting the global need to stop the spread of the pandemic,” says Chris Devonshire-Ellis of Dezan Shira & Associates. “What it can’t do is export the social order systems it has and that have worked in controlling large movements of people and halted the progress of the virus in China. We are about to witness the difference between permissible freedoms and human rights and between regionally acceptable capitalist and socialist standards in the East and in the West.”
China’s President Xi has been calling in on China’s Belt & Road Partners as a matter of some priority to establish needs, most recently having discussions with the leaders of Pakistan and Kazakhstan, both neighboring countries.
“China is stepping up to the plate and assessing what work can be done to help countries in need,” says Devonshire-Ellis. “To do this, it would be useful if certain trade and tariff disputes could be put on the backburner for a while, including for countries such as Iran and Russia who are currently facing sanctions. Political differences need to be put on hold to get humanity as a whole working together to defeat this problem. If not, some countries will become longer term transmission hubs for the pandemic. The US has a distinct and measurable responsibility here with its own humanitarian creed, and if it can provide leadership in this regard, then China will be keen to follow. If not, then China will go it alone and global divisions will accelerate. It is noticeable that thus far it is China’s Jack Ma as one of the few billionaires providing global assistance. His gesture is exactly the type of support the rich should be giving right now. Other wealthy countries and their billionaires should take his – and China’s lead. Now is a time for global aid, not trade disputes.”
China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at email@example.com.
We also maintain offices assisting foreign investors in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand in addition to our practices in India and Russia and our trade research facilities along the Belt & Road Initiative.
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