Chinese entrepreneurs respond to charity appeal amid stir

16:40, September 15, 2010      

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China's most famous philanthropist said on Wednesday more than 100 Chinese entrepreneurs had responded to his appeal to donate all of their personal wealth to society.

The remark came amid a stir over the willingness of China's rich to part with their money for a good cause after only a small number of Chinese businessmen had accepted invitations to an upcoming charity event.

Chen Guangbiao said the entrepreneurs made the charity pledges after he announced to donate 100 percent of his personal wealth upon responding to a charity call by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, who will host a charity banquet on Sept. 29 in Beijing.

"Although the pledge makers do not want to be exposed to media, I give my sincere respect to their charity spirit," he said.

Chen called for more public tolerance and understanding of those wealthy with interests in charity, as some media often suspected the sincerity of charitable donations by the rich.

Chen is CEO of a resources recycling company in eastern Jiangsu Province. He has said that he had made charitable donations worth 1.34 billion yuan (197 million U.S. dollars) over the past 10 years. In 2009 alone, he donated 313 million yuan, accounting for 77.6 percent of his company's profits that year.

He was among the first businessmen in China's mainland to announce his attendance to the charity banquet.

Chen said he would ask Gates and Buffett to recommend to him the best place to study charity in the U.S., where he would take his family to learn more about philanthropy.

Gates and Buffett initiated a project called The Giving Pledge in June, aimed at persuading billionaires in the United States to give much of their wealth to charity.

The two richest Americans told Xinhua in a response letter on Tuesday that they would come to China to share their experiences on philanthropy, relieving concerns that they would pressure people to give at the dinner.

Wang Kaiyu, renowned sociologist in east China's Anhui Province, suggested the Chinese public not judge wealthy individuals generous givers to society simply based on whether they accepted the invitation to the banquet.

The understanding of charity vary in different countries, he said, adding the government should improve donation rules and regulations to encourage more rich people to donate to charities.



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