Controversial multi-millionaire Chen Guangbiao placed a full-page advertisement in Monday’s New York Times and a half-page advertisement in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, inviting 1,000 underprivileged Americans to dine with him.
In the latest eye-catching campaign following his unsuccessful bid to buy The New York Times earlier this year, Chen said he would also hand out red packets of US$300 to each participant after the charity lunch in New York on June 25.
The full-page ad in Chinese and English, designed by Chen himself, summarised his views about his wealthiest compatriots and hoped that Americans would realise that not all rich Chinese were “crazy” about shopping for luxuries.
“I want to spread the message in the US that there are good philanthropists in China and not all are crazy spenders on luxury goods,” Chen told the South China Morning Post yesterday.
“At the same time, there are many wealthy Chinese billionaires but most of them gained their wealth from market speculation and colluding with government officials while destroying the environment,” Chen said. %“I can’t bear the sight of it, because all they do is splurge on luxury goods, gambling and prostitution and very few of them sincerely live up their social responsibility,” Chen said.
“I’m trying to stimulate them to do good.”
In his ad, Chen said he was “teaming up with a famous American charity to host a charity luncheon for 1,000 poor and destitute Americans, who each will receive 300 dollars”.
The underprivileged will be invited to the Boat House restaurant in New York’s Central Park on June 25, where Chen will sing We are the world in English.
“I hope they can spend the money on occupational training and know there are no religious or ethnic boundaries when it comes to charity,” he said.
Chen said more than 250 people had responded to his offer and he expected the 1,000 places to be filled in a few days.
“I believe [people’s perceptions] will change. Many of my friends in the US responded very positively after the ad was published,” Chen said.
Chen estimated that the campaign would cost him at least US$1 million. Chen said he would return to the US this week to discuss a new deal to buy The New York Times’ opinion section.
“It would be a bilingual page, in Chinese and English, and the content would be my call. It would be about environmental protection and charity,” he said.
In response to criticism that he should help his poor countrymen first, Chen said doing the right thing was most important.
“US philanthropists donated to China’s disasters; why can’t we help the poor in the US? It will also improve Sino-US ties.”