Gates, Buffet: No plan to pressure rich

08:35, September 15, 2010      

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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett said Tuesday that they would come to China later in the month to share their experiences on philanthropy, denying speculation that they would pressure people to give.

"Some people have wondered if we're coming to China to pressure people to give. Not at all," the two richest Americans told the Xinhua News Agency in a response letter on the banquet for Chinese billionaires sponsored by them, which is scheduled for September 29.

Amid concerns that the two big shots - who initiated "The Giving Pledge" project in June to persuade US billionaires to give most of their wealth to charity - would pressure wealthy Chinese to donate, only a small number of Chinese businessmen had accepted as of last week the invitation to the banquet.

Gates and Buffett explained in the letter "one part of that trip we are looking forward to is the opportunity to sit down with a number of successful business people and philanthropists to learn about philanthropy in China and to share some of our own experiences about the impact giving can have on society and our world."

They said they know that the Giving Pledge is just one approach to philanthropy, and do not know if it's the right path forward for China.

"Our trip is fundamentally about learning, listening, and responding to those who express an interest in our own experiences. China's circumstances are unique, and so its approach to philanthropy will be, as well."

They said the present generation of successful entrepreneurs has an opportunity to set an example for the nation's future generations.

Gates and Buffett said in the letter: "Of course, there is noteworthy philanthropy going on at all levels of society in China, not just among the very fortunate."

The Chinese billionaires who have confirmed their attendance of the banquet include Chen Guangbiao, China's most famous philanthropist, and Zhang Xin, CEO of SOHO China.

Chen posted an open letter on the company's website, pledging he would donate all his wealth to charity when he leaves this world.

"If Gates and Buffett's visit and banquet could change the way Chinese billionaires handle their fortunes, that would be a good start to encourage more people to donate," Zhang Yinjun, spokesperson with the China Charity Federation, said.

Source:Global Times


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