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MAC advises Chinese philanthropist on controversial trip

2011/01/27 21:26:55

Taipei, Jan. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's top China policy-making agencyadvised a Chinese billionaire to act in a moral manner after thetycoon embarked upon a high-profile and controversial philanthropictrip Thursday during which he plans to donate up to NT$500 million(US$17.22 million) to Taiwan's needy.

Chinese philanthropist Chen Guangbiao gave away NT$6.7million-worth of "red envelopes" that day in the northern county ofHsinchu, the first stop of his philanthropic trip, to localdisadvantaged families, in cooperation with the county government.

The 43-year-old is known for carrying out highly publicizedphilanthropic trips around China, using the schtick of a piled-up"wall of banknotes" that he then hands out. He has been quoted assaying that he likes to make donations in a high-profile mannerbecause he hopes his actions will be recognized by the public andwill inspire people to carry out acts of philanthropy of their own.

"The way Chen conducts his philanthropy has caused challenges forboth the government and the underprivileged, " Mainland AffairsCouncil (MAC) Deputy Minister Liu Te-hsun said in a press briefing.

Chen has not violated any laws, though, so there is no way forthe government to interfere in the matter, he said, adding that theunderprivileged will have to decide for themselves whether or notaccepting his cash will cause them to lose their dignity.

"We will certainly condemn Chen's behavior if his trip is foundto come with any political motive, " Liu said.

Liu's comment came after Chen was stopped by several poor peoplebegging for cash during his trip to Hsinchu.

Such behavior of the local poor, as well as the extensive mediacoverage and involvement of local governments in Chen's stunt, haveall made the trip controversial. Some Taiwanese county governmentsand opposition party officials have voiced opposition to his donationplans in Taiwan, raising concern that his high-profile donationmanner might hurt the recipients' feelings or dignity.

Meanwhile, Chen's cancellation of his business itinerary thatmorning also raised doubts, because he was granted entry to Taiwan asa business professional and was supposed to participate in businessactivities during his stay under the regulations governingcross-strait travel.

Chen is scheduled to visit the central county of Nantou and theeastern county of Hualien during the remainder of his trip.

(By Chris Wang)