Chinese donation gets mixed reception
The China Post news staff and CNAA Chinese billionaire has made a public pledge to donate NT$500 million to Taiwan's disadvantaged minority and low-income families in an act of philanthropy to the island, although it has been met with cautious and mixed reactions by local governments.
January 25, 2011, 11:35 pm TWN
Chen Guangbiao, a well-known Chinese philanthropist, is slated to visit Taiwan with more than 53 Chinese businessmen on Jan. 27 to donate a total of NT$500 million (US$17.2 million) to disadvantaged families.
Inspired by the Giving Pledge campaign initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, which encouraged the world's wealthiest people to donate half their money to philanthropy, Chen voiced his desire to hand out the money in person during his visit to Taiwan.
In a recent donation drive in China, the chairman of Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Co. did exactly that, piling up “a wall of banknotes” before giving them away in person.
The high-profile nature of Chen's charitable acts and exorbitant amount he desires to donate have been well received by some local governments while making others uneasy.
“The city government appreciates the charitable effort of the business sector and other sectors to provide help to disadvantaged families,” New Taipei City Mayor Eric Liluan Chu told reporters Monday.
“We also hope that it can be conducted in a low-profile and simple manner. This would also respect the feelings of the recipients,” Chu said.
Chen, 43, had allotted NT$4 million of the total donation to New Taipei City, with each household expected to receive NT$10,000 in cash, city officials said. However, the city government said it would be better if the cash donation could take on the form of daily necessities based on individual needs.
The Taoyuan county government in northern Taiwan also refused the offer based on similar concerns.
Taipei City Mayor Hau Lung-bin said no one — neither Chen nor related companies — has reached out to the Taipei City Government or any social groups in the city. Such an unprecedented act needs time, detailed discussion and a thorough evaluation as to how it can be executed, Hau said.
If national charitable organizations believe the donation is necessary after contact and discussion with Chen, then they may seek approval from the city government, he added.
In contrast, the government of northern Taiwan's Hsinchu County, which will be the first leg of the Chinese billionaire's charitable visit, claimed to have come up with a solution.
“We will hold a ceremony that will make local residents feel respected,” Tsai Rong-kuang, the head of the county's Social Affairs Department.
The Nantou County Government plans to dispatch special buses to help the recipients pick up the cash at the county government office.
Zhang Yongpeng, a Chinese business executive tasked with arranging Chen's activities in Taiwan, said Chen had a simple purpose for his first visit to Taiwan: to help the needy families.
Zhang said Chen supported New Taipei City's Deputy Mayor Hou Yu-ih's suggestion that the Chinese donor cooperate with Taiwan's civilian groups in dispensing the funds.