The news, which emerged on Friday through Weibo, comes just after Chinese officials expressed suspicion that the American military may have brought the novel coronavirus to Wuhan.
With a net worth of $40.5 billion, Ma is currently the richest man in China. The Alibaba co-founder is also a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus,” Ma said. “We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!”
The face masks and test kits have already been sourced and prepared for shipping.
“The pandemic we face today can no longer be resolved by any individual country. Rather, we need to combat the virus by working hand-in-hand,” Ma added. “At this moment, we can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons.”
Through a donation of 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks, we join hands with Americans in these difficult times. pic.twitter.com/tGviVhC6Gx
— Jack Ma Foundation (@foundation_ma) March 13, 2020
Before Ma’s announcement, some Chinese officials speculated that the U.S. Army may have planted the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Their claim appears to be based on the faulty counting of cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“It might be U.S. Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said in a tweet, which linked to a video of CDC Director Robert Redfield admitting to the agency’s errors. “Be transparent! Make public your data! U.S. owe us an explanation!
2/2 CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation! pic.twitter.com/vYNZRFPWo3
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) March 12, 2020
It’s unclear whether Zhao’s theory represents the views of the Chinese government, but state broadcaster at CGTN tweeted about Zhao’s statement the following day.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said it is the U.S. that lacks transparency in the #CoronavirusOutbreak.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) March 13, 2020
The spokesman’s suggestion also came after his superior, Hua Chunying, retweeted the same video of Redfield and commented, “It is absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus.”
@CDCDirector Dr. Robert Redfield: Some cases that were previously diagnosed as Flu in the US were actually #COVID19. It is absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus. https://t.co/Mk4RB7XYq0
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) March 12, 2020
Interestingly, Ma’s announcement also came hours after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to mobilize $50 billion in federal resources to combat COVID-19. For weeks, the Trump administration has received criticism for its sluggish response against the outbreak, while China claims to have made strides in developing solutions.
Ma has already donated millions of masks and test kits to other countries such as South Korea, Japan and Iran. Last week, he announced that he would donate 1.8 million face masks and 100,000 coronavirus test kits to Europe.