Chinese government sends care packages to students abroad, including UMN

The care packages include masks, disinfectant wipes and protective gloves, among other items


A “health package” sent to Chinese international students, including those at the University of Minnesota, containing personal protective equipment  to aid them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Courtesy of the Chinese Student Scholars Association.

Jiang Li

As part of a global health initiative by the Chinese government, all Chinese international students, including those at the University of Minnesota, are eligible to receive personal protective equipment “health packages” to aid them during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On March 25, China began sending packages to students studying abroad in multiple countries. The kits include KN95 masks, disposable masks, disinfectant wipes, capsules that ease coronavirus symptoms, protective gloves and disease prevention manuals.

China is sending the care packages to 46 embassies in 12 countries, where Chinese embassies will then allocate them to universities or schools within their district. 

The Consulate-General of The People’s Republic of China in Chicago sent the first batch of packages to the University of Minnesota’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association, which is in charge of allocating the kits to University students. The Consulate General of China in Chicago coordinated the packages’ distribution by the number of students in a given area and the severity of the local epidemic.

There will be at least 2,000 health packages sent to the University, according to a staff member in the Chicago embassy.

In the 2018-19 school year, there were more than 2,500 Chinese international students registered at the University — the largest demographic of international students on campus.

Zijian Jia, a University senior from China, said he was happy that the Chinese government sent these packages. 

”I just feel like someone is concerned about me,” Jia said. “Just this kind of feeling, I don’t know how to describe it.”

The University’s CSSA created a Google Form for Chinese international students and underage Chinese students near the University to register for a care package. Chinese students holding an F-1 or J-1 visa will be allowed to register. 

CSSA announced it has received the first batch of packages. All the parcels will be collected and sterilized before being picked up by students.

“Since Minnesota is not the worst state in terms of the pandemic, the consulate has to give priority to those states that are in critical condition,” CSSA said in a statement earlier this month. 

University Ph.D. student Yichang Liu from the Carlson School of Management said he felt deeply touched when he heard the news.

“As a Ph.D. student who is currently teaching an undergraduate course, I’m not able to return to China right now,” Liu said. “However, the health kits make me and my friends feel the love and care from our home country. I hope that the coronavirus will die out soon and that people all around the world stay healthy and well.”