Opinion / Raymond Zhou

No place for farce in charity

By Raymond Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-19 08:53

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Most big businesses and some of the superrich do put aside certain sums for charity, and each often has a particular area of interest.

At this particular stage of economic development in China, these philanthropic efforts are run probably by instinct.

The bridges that should exist between those who want to reach out and those who need a helping hand are largely non-existent.

Which corporate or personal charity foundation is most likely to extend assistance to a leukemia patient? I don't think there is an easy way to find out.

That makes room for people like Chen Guangbiao, the eccentric Chinese billionaire who has become notorious for publicity stunts.

I wrote recently of how he took out a full-page advert in the New York Times to invite 1,000 poor Americans to lunch.

"People say I should turn to Chen for help. I never thought of it, but I'll leave a message on his micro blog and see what happens," said Mo.

The irony is, Chen could not have foretold the success of Mo's stunt, or he may have been willing to help Mo.

Mo's plea to Chen, had it taken place before the press coverage, most likely would have become a needle in a haystack of similar requests - considering Chen's high profile.

It is sad that one has to make a show out of seeking or giving help. In this Internet age, a platform can easily be set up where two sides can have a free flow of information, which is accessible to all, and which can then be subject to public and professional scrutiny.

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