Sat, Jan 29, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Tycoon seems to rein in high-profile style of making donations

By Vincent Y. Chao  /  Staff Reporter

Too much publicity appears to have convinced Chen Guangbiao (陳光標), a Chinese tycoon distributing hundreds of millions of NT dollars to poor people nationwide, to rein in his high-profile style.

The last straw apparently came yesterday, on day three of his weeklong “Thanksgiving” tour of Taiwan, when a young man kneeled in front of him while having lunch, asking him to donate one of his red envelopes containing at least NT$10,000 (US$345) in cash.

Chen refused; in an unexpected turn for a man that has already given three envelopes worth NT$70,000 to an elderly woman who waited outside his hotel and another NT$20,000 to a young man on the street with his niece on Thursday.

“He’s a strong young fellow. He should be creating business with an entrepreneurial spirit. I didn’t give [the red envelope] to him because it would have harmed him, not helped him,” Chen said.

Chen and his family arrived on Wednesday as part of a controversial donation tour in Taiwan, flanked by other Chinese industrialists. Chen said he was committed to making NT$500 million in donations, through personal meetings with recipients and other donations to charities and non-profit organizations. He is also reportedly in Taiwan to handle a business deal that he said would return 40 percent of its profits.

Chen and members of the entourage have maintained that they wish to keep the trip “low-profile,” despite making media appearances, photo-ops and granting interview requests at almost every stop of his itinerary yesterday.

A large button on each of their lapels read: “This is a low-profile trip.”

Chen said he wouldn’t be handing more money out on the street and that the remaining amount would instead be donated to a charitable organization.

His actions, markedly toned down since his arrival, when he reportedly insisted on meeting personally with all recipients, still drew heated -questions by -lawmakers across party lines, who called some of the behavior Chen encountered “shameful.”

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲), meanwhile, told a press conference that Chen, instead of showing the best in people, “appears to have brought out the worst.”

“I guess even in the richest of Middle Eastern countries, you will see the poor and the disadvantaged; it’s not that surprising,” Huang said. “Chen’s efforts, while laudable, should be better thought out.”

His itinerary yesterday included a visit to the tomb of late pop singer Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), where Chen shed tears.

DPP lawmakers have expressed concern that Chen may be violating the terms of his business visa when he reportedly skipped a business meeting yesterday.

Trip itineraries by Chinese visitors are tightly controlled, but Chen has insisted that the business deals will be completed.

Meanwhile, the New Taipei City (新北市) Government yesterday confirmed that a local donor gave NT$10 million to the city anonymously in the past few days.

“He was very low-key,” said Lee Li-chen (李麗圳), director of the city’s Department of Social Affairs. “He used cash and asked that the bank simply send it over.”

This story has been viewed 3198 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top