Hong Kong tycoons tried to outbid each other when Chen Xitong asked them for money to support a Beijing art house, the disgraced former party boss revealed in a book released in Hong Kong this week. In Conversations with Chen Xitong, written by scholar Yao Jianfu, Chen says when he visited Hong Kong a few years before the 1997 handover to raise money to support the Beijing People's Art Theatre (BPAT), he had many generous offers from the city's tycoons. Encouraged, he set his target at a whopping 100 million yuan. 'I met Tung Chee-hwa and I told him that Hong Kong was a rich city but it had this reputation as 'a cultural desert',' said Chen, later jailed for corruption. 'The famous BPAT was in financial trouble and [I asked] if you people could help it a bit.' Shipping magnate Tung, who went on to be Hong Kong's first chief executive, promised to donate US$1 million, equivalent to 8 million yuan, to BPAT. Chen next asked Cheung Kong chairman Li Ka-shing. 'Li asked me how much Tung donated and said he would top Tung's amount, whatever it was,' Chen said. 'I told Li this was a charity donation, not a competition. He said 'I must do better than him'.' Li donated 13 million yuan.