Chinese Billionaire Chen Guangbiao Visits Taiwan To Disperse Donations
Whether it be wantonly distributing red envelopes filled with money or staging elaborate donation drives, Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao believes in flashy philanthropy.
However, controversy surrounds his intentions as many scrutinize and protest his actions, including government officials.
The Taiwan Times reports that he has started a week-long philanthropic circuit in Taiwan both to garner and give more donations.
In Taiwan, he doled out over $250,000 in red envelopes to those in need on Wednesday, as well as announcing additional donations to organizations devoted to social welfare.
The China Post reported that Chen considered his visit a "thanks-giving" trip, repaying Taiwan for donations made to China's earthquake relief in 2008.
Even so, the Hong Kong Standard reported on protests staged outside of his events, as some claimed his actions to be veiled communist propaganda. Chen maintained his position, telling the Standard:
"I don't know anything about propaganda for Chinese reunification. I only know about charity and environmental work. I just want to do good."
The protesters aren't the only ones skeptical of his motives. Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun told the Taipei Times that his style of giving made the Taiwanese government hesitate before granting him approval to visit. Liu thought the amount of money Chen disperses causes more burden than relief for the poor. He told the Times:
"It is a good thing to bring a little warmth in the chill of winter, but due to Chen's particular style, the low-income families [who receive money] are faced with a challenge."
Some site Chen's actions as being unrealistic. Robert Frank of the Wall Street Journal recently blogged about Chen, saying that his style clashes with modern philanthropic strategy.
"Rich people in America also sneer at such give-aways. The fad among today's venture philanthropists is to target their dollars to solve a larger social problem, not give away cash to the poor."
In recent years, Chen has repeadedly made headlines with his showy displays of handouts. In February of 2010, Chen had a wall of 100-yuan bills constructed before donating the funds to the poorest areas of Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan districts in China.
During the event, Chen told Beijing Today:
"I've been a philanthropist for 10 years. Although there are people saying I'm putting on a show, I'm hoping more will emulate my 'performance.' If more people did, more needy people would get help."
In September of 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett visited China in an effort to encourage philanthropy among the world's richest. During a meeting with Gates and Buffett, Chen announced in an open letter that he would donate all of his weath to charity after his death. He told the Associated Press:
"I'm a rich man, but I don't want to be a miser. China's economic reform started only 30 years ago. For lots of people who became rich, they believe they earned their fortune through hard work. They don't think about society and only want to leave their fortune to their children."