Chinese Philanthropist’s New York Charity Lunch Controversy

Chinese billionaire philanthropist Chen Guangbiao holds charity lunch in New York promising to distirbute 300 USD to each participant.

Chinese billionaire philanthropist Chen Guangbiao holds charity lunch in New York promising to distirbute 300 USD to each participant.

The most commented article on Chinese web portal NetEase (at time of translation)…

From NetEase:

Chen Guangbiao Feeds the Poor in New York, Each Person Given 300 USD Cash

2014 June 25 local time, Chen Guangbiao held a charity event at the Boat House restaurant in New York’s Central Park. The event originally planned to provide lunch and then 300 USD each to a thousand homeless people was greatly shrunk. In reality, only 250 people participated in the lunch, with no more than five people to have actually received cash on the scene. Photos: CFP.

This event had 150 volunteers present. Some of the volunteers arrived at the site of the event 3 hours beforehand, but were only allowed into the premises at 12pm, where they were arranged in front of the dining tables to sing “Learn From Lei Feng’s Good Example”, and afterward asked to immediately leave the premises. Every volunteer was asked to wear green or blue Red Army uniforms, as well as red armbands that read “volunteer”.

Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao held a charity event at the Boat House restaurant in New York’s Central Park, inviting a thousand homeless poor people, and promising to hand out 300 USD in cash [to each]. This event was organized with the American New York Rescue Mission charity organization. Chen Guangbiao loudly sang “We Are The World” at the event, as well as performed magic tricks.


According to someone who watched the event from inside the restaurant, the diners invited were required to listen to Chen Guangbiao give a speech on stage, sing songs, and enjoy his magic show. The site at the same time provided a simultaneous interpreter. The meal included salmon, steak, and dessert. However, after the meal, no more than five homeless people received the 300 USD cash. The other homeless were told they would get vouchers to be redeemed at the shelter’s headquarters in downtown New York for cash.


The rescue charity organization clearly indicated on the distributed vouchers that there would be buses to take the homeless to the shelter, but as of 5pm that afternoon, many homeless people who have not yet collected their cash were still gathered in front of the rescue shelter. Among them, one African-American youth said “I’ve been waiting here with my older brother all afternoon, and I heard that person’s (Chen Guangbiao) lawyer also came to coordinate/negotiate, but haven’t given us an response.” According to reports, a representative for the charity that Chen Guangbiao is working with plans to use the remaining amount of his donation on related projects as opposed to directly distributing them to the homeless. A number of homeless with vouchers were upset and were organizing a protest against the charity and Chen Guangbiao for not honoring their promise to distribute the money.


This NetEase photo feature also linked to a video of an old interview with Chen Guangbiao singing “We Are The World”:

Comments from NetEase:

大菠萝卜 [网易黑龙江省哈尔滨市网友]:

This is a disease that must be treated! [referring to Chen Guangbiao’s self-promotion through charity]

天道健行游四方二世 [巴西球迷]:

#An honest word for Mr. Chen Guangbiao:
How did you get rich in the first place? Who were your most important supporters and partners in the beginning? Are these supporters and partners in jail, our out of jail?

libicheng1 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

Were Chen Guangbiao’s parents close cousins/relatives who got married…?

屠龙术 [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

Looks like it isn’t just distributing money, but also promoting “Red Sun” [Maoist] ideology.

maolinwei1 [网易上海市网友]:

SB, embarrassing [himself/Chinese people] abroad.

NightWishWISH [网易江苏省常州市网友]:

Do you [Chen Guangbiao] dare go to North Korea?

同为父母母婴 [网易湖北省武汉市网友]:

I have goosebumps all over!

天道健行游四方二世 [巴西球迷]:

#A purely rational judgement of the people behind the #Chen Guangbiao Phenomenon”:
Netizens have quickly seen through the “Chen Guangbiao Phenomenon” over the past few years, demonstrating the stupidity of the behind-the-scenes decision-makers from the beginning till today for starting and continuing this! He [Chen] has chosen stupid planners, stupid directors, and stupid actors! He has underestimated the people’s intelligence, and neglected further the people’s unstoppable increase in intelligence! As a result, we are watching this most useless actor Chen Guangbiao sinking in a sea of people’s laughter!

阿拉系文盲 [网易江苏省苏州市网友]:

Oh….oh…. you’ve made me throw up all my breakfast.

使持节 [懂球新秀]:

Seeing those Red Guards uniforms is truly disgusting, and it is these people who are truly SB. I truly TM want to go up there and slap them.

网易天津市网友 ip:111.161.*.*:

Chen Guangbiao, a fellow from your Anhui hometown was so poor that he didn’t have the money for surgery and sawed off his own leg. How come you don’t go help him?

香港狗 [德国球迷]:

Why are they wearing Red Guards clothes? Not only do they don’t think that period of history is shameful, they instead think it is glorious!

linyahong [网易广东省珠海市网友]:

Only a country like China could produce this kind of freak! The rest of the world doesn’t have any and has never had any throughout history.

kevin534 [网易山西省长治市网友]:

[Someone who] relied on demolition and relocation [land redevelopment] to steal money flashily goes to America to hand out money. All country men with normal brains should on their own initiative boycott all products and services related to Chen Guangbiao.

xuemao21 [网易辽宁省沈阳市网友]:

Originally I didn’t want to say anything, but seeing the people wearing Red Guard uniforms just made me even more disgusted.


I used to think Chen was a person with conscience, but with this I think this guy really does have ulterior motives!

思慈0 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

Those homeless people have better clothes than the people with homes and cars here in Shenzhen’s Huaqian North district. Also, those Red Guards were China’s disgrace/shame, the Cultural Revolution having set back China several decades in economic development, and these people are treating it as it was glorious?!!! Looks like they’ll need to eat bottles and bottles of anti-retardation pills to be saved.

荒唐的国度 [荷兰球迷]:

Volunteers who wore the Red Guard uniforms, your sickness needs to be treated.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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