Local government officials from Weihai, where Lancaster University and Beijing Jiaotong University established a campus in 2016, wanted to show their support for Lancaster’s fight against coronavirus.
Each box of masks carries a quote by William Shakespeare: “He that is thy friend indeed, he will help those in the need”.
The boxes were accompanied by a letter from Zhang Haibo, Head of CPC Weihai Municipal Committee and Yan Jianbo, the Mayor of Weihai Municipal Government.
They wrote: “People in Lancaster are going through a critical time similar to the situation we suffered a couple of months ago.
“On behalf of the Weihai government and all the people here, we would like to convey our sincere sympathy to you and all citizens in Lancaster.
“We hope and wish you will overcome the difficulties it has presented at an early date.”
The letter added there had been no new cases since March 12 in Weihai and businesses and people’s lives were back to normal.
“Although our task for future virus prevention and control are still tough, we would like to spare some of our face masks to assist Lancaster in battling against this virus,” they said.
Weihai Municipal Government initially contacted Professor Jinghan Zeng, the Director of the University’s Confucius Institute, who has worked to facilitate the donation.
He said: “We need strong global cooperation and solidarity to fight coronavirus. I am grateful to the city of Weihai for coming forward to help Lancaster.”
The Mayor of Lancaster, Councillor David Whitaker, said: “This is an excellent example of the council’s burgeoning relationship and strong links with the Confucius Institute and the University as a whole.
“The council has been working hard for its communities and to maintain essential services in these troubling times.
“These masks will be used wherever there is a need and help to maintain those frontline services on which people rely.
“Thanks also go to Glenn Willis of Inxpress, the UK importer, who have been of great assistance in making this happen at no cost to the council.”
The city of Weihai, a commercial port and a major fishing centre with a three million population, is interested in strengthening its relations with Lancaster when things get back to normal.
The British Studies Centre in Weihai has also expressed a wish to connect with Lancaster University and are looking to create joint programmes.
Other city to city donations are currently taking place.