Chinese professor, 91, donates US$152,640 to university after ‘confrontation’ at the bank
Fang Hanqi wants the money to be used for an education fund, but first he had to convince bank staff that he was genuine
A prominent Chinese journalism history professor has made a 1 million yuan (US$152,640) donation to Renmin University of China – but first he had to convince bank staff that he was genuine.
Fang Hanqi, a 91-year-old honorary professor with the university, wants the money to be used to set up an education fund named after him.
Fang is regarded as one of the top authors on journalism history in China. He made the announcement on Sunday, pledging to use the cash from a lifetime achievement award he was given by his faculty three months ago.
But when he went to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to transfer the money, his assistant in tow, the teller was cautious about processing the transaction and called over other staff to help.
“The bank was immediately on alert,” according to a social media post by Chen Changfeng, deputy dean of Tsinghua University’s journalism school and a friend of Fang’s assistant.
“It was quite a confrontation. [Fang’s assistant] was interrogated like a criminal by the bank – they almost called the police.”
But the transaction was approved when Fang’s assistant produced media coverage of the professor’s announcement that he would donate the money, according to Chen’s post on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China said its staff were doing their jobs properly by showing caution in processing the donation.
“Fang is elderly and this is a huge sum of money – this is exactly what we should be doing, processing it with extra caution,” the bank said in a statement posted on its official Weibo account.
Fraud is a common crime in mainland China and it is often elderly people who are targeted. A public education campaign was launched last year aimed at raising awareness among the elderly of telecoms and internet fraud.