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Chinese billionaire hands out cash in Taiwan

2011/01/27 21:57:29

Taipei, Jan. 27 (CNA) China's top philanthropist donated NT$6.7million (US$227,118) to disadvantaged residents in northern Taiwan'sHsinchu County Thursday on the first leg of a heavily publicizedphilanthropic tour of the country.

"The Hsinchu charity event is just a start, " said Chen Guangbiaoat a donation ceremony held at the Hsinchu county government'sauditorium. "I look forward to making a similar visit to Taiwan everyyear, " he added.

Chen, who made his fortune recycling construction materials, iswell-known in China for his flamboyant style of charity work.

Instead of giving out cash personally to each of the needyfamilies, which is his usual modus operandi in China, Chen firsthanded a symbolic NT$4 million check to Ku Su-chen, president of thefederation of women's associations in the county.

Federation staff then distributed cash-stuffed red envelopes to315 people from low-income families, each of whom received NT$10,000.

Nine social welfare groups in the county also received Chen'smoney, ranging in amount between NT$50,000 and NT$150,000.

In addition, the tycoon donated NT$2.7 million to help provideschool lunches for young students from poor families.

Although some people criticize his ostentatious methods, Chensaid he does not care.

"I take pleasure in carrying out acts of charity and I hope myactions can inspire more people to follow suit, " the 43-year-oldtycoon said.

Earlier in the day, he gave away three red envelopes containing atotal of NT$70,000 to a Taiwanese woman as he was leaving his hotelfor a visit to the National Palace Museum in suburban Taipei.

The woman in her 60s had been waiting for him since Wednesdaynight. She told Chen she had no regular income and had to care forher 88-year-old mother. Chen immediately gave her three redenvelopes. The woman burst into tears as she clutched the envelopes,saying she had never had such a large sum of money at one time.

He is scheduled to make a similar cash-dispensing trip to thecentral county of Nantou Jan. 29.

Some Taiwanese county governments and opposition party officialshave voiced opposition to his donation plans in Taiwan, raisingconcerns that his high-profile donation manner might hurt therecipients' feelings or dignity.

Feelings on the issue were running so high that a clash eruptedbetween Chen's supporters and opponents at the Taiwan TaoyuanInternational Airport after his arrival late the previous day in thecompany of his wife, 9-year-old son and dozens of Chinese businessmenand journalists.

(By Lin Jui-yi, Eva Feng and Sofia Wu)