By Vivian Chen
EVENT Smile Angel Foundation “Let’s Love” Gala Dinner
WHERE Grand Ballroom, InterContinental Hotel
Happenings: Beijing-based songstress Faye Wong and her husband, former actor Li Yapeng, established the Smile Angel Foundation in 2006, when their daughter Li Yan was born with severe cleft lips. Seven years on, the charity is making its mark outside the mainland. The celebrity couple hosted their first charity gala dinner in Hong Kong.
Many of their A-list friends turned out to support the cause, including actresses Carina Lau, Zhao Wei and singer Na Ying. A total of about HK$56 million was raised at the event, including the record-breaking sale of a painting by Chinese contemporary artist Zeng Fanzhi, which sold for HK$30 million. A panda painting by Li Yan also fetched HK$1 million.
HK$1million for a child’s doodle? It would be a real bargain when Li Yan becomes famous.
CHIC CHAT with Li Yapeng
Can you tell us about Smile Angel Foundation’s plan for Hong Kong?
We’ve been running the charity for seven years, and last year we opened Beijing Smile Angel Children’s Hospital. We want to seek support on an international stage and facilitate communication with global charities. Hong Kong is the first destination where we chose to officially register.
What’s your goal for the hospital?
It’s the first hospital for children on the mainland which offers free surgery to children born with a cleft lip. We hope in 30 years’ time, we can make the hospital the best children’s hospital in China.
What are the main challenges of running a charity on the mainland?
I think it’s the current general environment. Charity work on the mainland is still in an early stage of development. There is not enough awareness, and legal issues and other aspects are lagging behind a little.
Do you miss showbiz?
It was never an impulsive decision to quit my acting career. I’ve been planning it since 2000. I only made one movie a year up until 2010, when I officially announced my retirement.