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Charity banquet of China's super-rich opens east-west dialogue

English.news.cn   2010-09-29 12:46:13 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Xinhua writers Fang Ning, Hu Tao

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- While Bill Gates and Warren Buffett host a closed-door charity banquet on Wednesday with China's super-rich in Beijing, they opened a dialogue on philanthropy between the East and West outside the ballroom.

Peter Buffett, son of the U.S. billionaire investor, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua prior to the banquet, that his father hoped the "Chinese people will come to their own conclusions about the role of philanthropy in their culture."

"It isn't always just about money. It's also about speaking out on the issue to get others involved," said the famous music producer, who manages his own charity foundation.

The second generation of the U.S. billionaire investor family has planned to share more of his ideas on charity with rich Chinese families and their second generations in his China trip in November.

He said his father chose to give his money to others to practice the work of philanthropy, because he feels that others may be better at distributing the money than he would.

"We both like to focus on the people we are serving. We will invest in them for long periods," he said.

Buffett and Gates succeeded in June in convincing 40 wealthy individuals and their families in the United States to hand over more than half of their fortunes to a charitable cause as part of "The Giving Pledge" project launched in June.

As they moved the campaign to China for the charity banquet in Beijing, some media used the meeting as a touchstone to test the philanthropist attitudes of Chinese billionaires.

To dismiss Chinese billionaires' worries, Gates and Buffett had to repeatedly clarify that they came to share their experiences and would not pressure people to give. The banquet host also kept the identities of the select group of guests confidential.

Chinese media reports speculated that except for a few outspoken wealthy Chinese, like Chen Guangbiao and real estate tycoon couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, who acknowledged attending the banquet, Niu Gensheng, founder of China's leading dairy producer, Mengniu, and real estate giant Wang Shi might also be among the guests.

Chinese billionaires have displayed different attitudes towards the call to give to charity by the U.S. philanthropists, especially after Chen, known as China's most generous donor, pledged to donate 100 percent of his personal wealth to charity as his "gift" to support the commitment of Gates and Buffett.

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Editor: Yang Lina
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