“Violent Charity”, philanthropy with poor taste?

| March 25th, 2011

From Yangzi Evening News | translated by Ivan | edited by Key

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Recently, “China’s number one philanthropist” Chen Guangbiao distributed disaster-relief funds to two villages in the earthquake-stricken area in Yingjiang, Yunnan Province, each villages received 200 yuan in cash.   However, the photo of him with the villagers flaunting the donated money afterwards raised a storm of disputes on the Internet.  As for his charitable act being defined as “Violent Charity”, Chen Guangbiao responded on Mar 20, “I think the term ‘Violent Charity’ is quite (good and) appropriate, because the current development of China’s philanthropy needs to be promoted with “Great Violence” ”(Mar 21, Jinghua Times)

Personally, I respect Chen Guangbiao a lot. Whether it’s to attract attention or a publicity stunt, Chen Guangbiao, after all is making contribution to charity with his own money. But frankly, my feeling of admiration towards him has changed a bit. His great spirit to help the poor and the vulnerable is greatly appreciated and admired, but the money he gave out is more like a meal offered out of pity and contempt. We hope that more and more poor receive relief but not at the expense of their dignity. It is expected that china’s charity course can make a great headway but not replying on this kind of “Violent Charity”.

Approving of Chen Guangbiao’s alms deed doesn’t mean we cannot express our objection to the way of his charity. Chen Guangbiao had good intention to encourage more people joining the charity army through eye-catching acts to push China’s development of philanthropy forward. However, the effect remains unclear. Donation is originally a  noble deed, something that many people may not be able to do but still anticipate to, but “Violent Charity” is by no means a positive term. When the heart-warming charity is associated with Violence, it is concerning that whether the reputation of charity will be harmed.  If charity is distorted into a belittling giving, or even into callous Violence, is this kind of charity going to attract more people to participate or is it going to push them away. Another question is whether “Violent Charity” is beneficial to the long-term and healthy development of China’s philanthropy development.

(by 晏 扬 from Zhejiang Province)

Second perspective:

Whether “Violent Charity” is good or not, receiver has the final say

If you are not the receiver, how can you understand his feelings? People have different understanding of dignity under different circumstances. I think that whether Chen Guangbiao’s “Violent Charity” is right or wrong, better not become the theory-based loud and empty talk. The most fundamental way is to investigate how the receivers felt.

Discussion about charity, whether criticism or allegation cannot just be empty talks with no evidence.  Human nature is quite complicated and human heart is quite vulnerable especially for people suffering from disasters, particularly for the poor.  So in the current context, please get rid of the academic or moral debate, and give the right of criticism to the receivers to decide whether “Violent Charity” is good or bad.

(by 郭之纯 from Hebei Province)

Read more “Rich philanthropists ‘acting in poor taste’” on People’s Daily

Highlights of Chen’s charitable acts:

Chen, president of Jiangsu Huangpu Renewable Resources, made headlines and drew criticism two months ago when he gave out red envelopes stuffed with money in Taiwan, and again this month during his charity road show to earthquake-jolted areas in Japan and Yunnan province.

On a five-day trip to Japan, Chen donated 1 million yuan ($24,690). He also handed out about 2 million yen ($24,735), giving 1,000 yen and 100 yuan – and his business card – each to Japanese students who were collecting donations on the streets.

The most controversial incident involved posed photos of Chen pulling a woman from the rubble. The photos were spread online quickly and generated harsh criticism from Internet users at home.

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(Chen pulling a woman from the rubble home in Fukushima, Japan)

Xu Yongguang, secretary-general of the Narada Foundation, labeled Chen’s actions "violent charity" – sacrificing the dignity of recipients to meet his own needs. Defenders praised him for giving when many wealthy people don’t.

"I’m being high-profile not to promote myself. I’ve been high-profile since I was little," Chen told a group of more than 40 executives of charitable foundations on Sunday in Beijing. "If I did not talk about the good deeds I’ve done, I would feel pent up."

Chen said he believes that his way of "violent charity" is what China needs, and he gives that way to push the development of philanthropy forward.

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17 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. Carl says:

    授之以鱼,更授之以渔

    This is so appropriate for this guy. Seriously, the poor don’t need pity. They really don’t. Especially the rural poor, the have hopes and dreams, they have prides, they don’t need pity.

    It’s a disgrace for the poor, to be forced into a personality cult some rich guy. A quick look at the picture and you see what a good job CCAV as done.

    I admire the basic drive of this man, but his complete lack of understanding for the people he is presumably trying to help is just despicable.

  2. Bo Wang says:

    Holding up bricks of 100s posing happily with disaster and poverty stricken locals… wow, just wow. Only a fucking Chinese could do this.

  3. Curren$y says:

    He’s balling! Everyone hating because they got zero swag!

  4. Gary says:

    How did this guy make his fortune, anyway? All I can find is that he has a recycling company. Is it one of those toxic waste dumps that employ retarded children to tear apart old computers? Is he giving away money because he’s generous or because he feels guilty?

  5. vonskippy says:

    Wow a whopping 200 yuan each – that will surely change their life after having their entire life trashed by an earthquake.

    The guys as slimy as kim jong il.

  6. michel says:

    Creating some work , schools and better living conditions would have been much wiser , but of course one would not come on TV / newspapers with that.

  7. Helen says:

    The tittle said it all- philanthropy with poor taste!

  8. Voice of China says:

    Gook simida, kimchi hamida!

  9. Cameron says:

    Those are some quite disturbing images right there. Still, is this any worse in kind than the millionaire businessman driving his BMW past the 500kuai a month street cleaners?

    Capitalism is a cruel and degrading system. Trouble is Communism and Socialism are even worse. What to do indeed?

  10. Liz says:

    hypocritical!!!!!!!!!!!! he makes me sick

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