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”:

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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.

  • Mighty曹

    PLA army uniforms and singing “We Are The World”?? What was he trying to prove?

    • Guest

      No, it is not PLA. With the red armband, it looks more like attire of the notorious Red Guards.

    • vincent_t

      Well, it is not PLA.
      With the red armband, it looks more like attire of the notorious Red Guards.

      • mr.wiener

        A sensative choice.
        Aparently the local Chinese community were not too happy about that…though I assume the folks who dressed up were from the local Chinesr community.

        • Teacher in China

          Yeah what the hell were they all thinking? It says they were volunteers, but maybe they were paid a tidy sum of money to do it…?

          • Dr Sun

            They look like a bunch of Hua , most likely ex CPC and their Er nai, who need some cash

    • Teacher in China

      Yeah and the irony is that in the true period of the Red Guards, even suggesting that it would have been a good idea to go to the US and give out money to the people there would have gotten you beaten to death as a “capitalist running dog”. What, exactly, was he trying to prove with that garbage?

    • donscarletti

      The Red Guards are to the PLA what the Aryan Brotherhood is to the United States Marines, or what the Real IRA is to the Irish Army.

      • Mighty曹

        Hitler Youth to the Nazi.

  • Ruaraidh

    Clearly he’s gone mad. I probably would too with that much money.

  • don mario

    what a douche, looks like everyone can see through his act. pretty cute girl in one of the pics tho

  • DavidisDawei

    Is this Quid Pro Quo?
    If so, I’m curious to know what Chen Guangbiao is getting as payback

    • Dr Sun

      USA citizenship , no green card needed first, no immigration paperwork or need to interview.

  • garbo

    He’s such an embarrassment. I love the comments from Chinese netizens.

  • ex-expat


  • nqk123

    even I feel kinda embarrass for China. He’s the face of china’s philanthropy

  • Where is Jarvis Cocker when you need him??

  • Germandude

    Refreshing to see that the netizens are not cheering for this moron but looking through his dubious publicity stunt.

    • mr.wiener

      They saw through this fool long ago.

  • Tamil Tiger

    A typical silliness of Chinese in the act.

    • Dr Sun

      not typical chinese, just typical

      • IsurvivedChina

        I don’t he was referring to all of China in that comment. But good for you for making us think he did! ; )

  • pink panda

    i do not mind go there eat and take money also photos.
    oh, i am so poor any way!

    • denvereen

      Cue the violin strings for eattot…..

  • Guest
  • Guest

    And the Communist Party leaders are all like…

    • MonkeyMouth

      aw…… that movie is wicked awesome!

      “master, i have traveled many miles to see you.”
      ‘How many miles?’
      “i don’t know…quite a lot.’
      ‘Would you say….ten million?”

      • Connor

        What movie?

        • Markus Peg

          Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)
          It’s an awesome movie!

    • Insomnicide


  • bang2tang

    We are the World…

  • MonkeyMouth

    its ‘official’….he has gone batshit crazy

    • KamikaziPilot

      Haha, my feelings exactly. But for some reason I can’t help but laugh.

    • Dr Sun

      Cant argue with that

  • BillBo

    He took out full page ads for 3 days in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times advertising this. Absolutely shameless self promotion. Not that it wasn’t good for those who attended, but the cost of a single one of those ads undoubtedly cost way more then what he spent/give away for the event itself. If he truly wanted to just help people he probably could have had a Habitat for Humanity house built for every single one of them and furnished them all for what he spent on those ads.

    I know, how shameless of me to criticize something that has helped the poor/homeless. But while I admit it was helpful to those who attended he was doing this more to exploit them then help them.

  • bprichard

    Making homeless people sing for their food? That’s fucking disgusting. Although it’s only marginally worse than making them watch his dumbass magic show. Chen is a man with absolutely no understanding of what charity actually means.

    • Kai

      He didn’t make anyone sing. He and some volunteers sang.

      • xiaode

        have you heard this guy singing?
        Trust me… these guys worked hard for their food!

        • 5,000 years of uncivilization

          I’m sure after he finished singing, they had all but lost their appetites. Then when they didn’t get da cash for a fix, their dreams were broken and it pissed them off. But at the sight of those red guards, what could they do?

        • F.

          You just said a mouthful, 哥们儿

  • Le chat

    Could it be that his money became too much for his mental ability to bear that he had gone gaga?

  • narsfweasels

    Sad little famehound.

  • Le chat

    On a side note, who was the PR and advertising campaign director behind all this? Shame to whichever business school s/he graduated from.

  • Surfeit

    A self-interested philanthropist… LOLZ!

    • Dr Sun

      LOl, that reminded me of the CEO from DGH

  • Blue

    If he was truly interested in philanthropy he would have spend the money on organizing some kind of charitable event which actually raised money to go to the cause. Not stuffing a non-life-changing sum of money into a few people’s hands for a sickening photo opportunity.
    Did this event actually change anybody’s circumstances for the better in any long term way? No.

    • Irvin

      It shows people that even idiots can be millionaires, it’s a way of telling the homeless “yes you can! just look at me!”.

      • Dr Sun

        Dude, Bush and Cheney are fucking morons and their both muti- millionnaires

        • styles99

          *They’re… they are Dr. Sun

          • Dr Sun

            my apologies mr ESL teacher, now do you have anything else to contribute to the site ………….

    • Dr Sun

      If he was truly interested in Philanthropy he would be giving this money to the poor in China and would be campaigning for real universal welfare in China.

      • JabroniZamboni

        If you give them more money, how will they stay motivated enough to make me a smartphone and fleshlight on the cheap?

        • Dr Sun

          “fleshlight” ?
          had to google it, the single , desperate, sad guys sex tool.

  • bang2tang
  • YourSupremeCommander

    First pic, the chick at the far right…. WTF is that all about?!

    • Le chat

      I think she’s been burnt. Her hand seems to be deformed and can be seen from the pic too.

  • Science Patrol

    Being poor is very expensive in every way.

  • JabroniZamboni

    The vouchers were for them to get a free ticket to China as English teachers.

    • styles99

      Shiiittee…. and I paid full price for my ticket to China.

    • denvereen


  • JabroniZamboni

    You break, you buy!

  • 5000 years of history

    Typical Chinese bullshit

    • Dr Sun

      typical bullshit not exclusive to the Chinese

      • IsurvivedChina

        I don’t think he was referring to anything but the fact that this guy is Chinese.

        • Dr Sun

          You either cannot read or you’re a moron.

          • IsurvivedChina

            A little sensitive on the use of the word “typical”?

      • fabulous

        It may seem that this is typical bullshit to you because you live in “Kunming”. Where I live we have bullshit, but it doesn’t look like this. This is some atypical bullshit for people who don’t live in China.

  • Nor Bolbe

    And they quickly spent their money on drugs and continue to be homeless with no effort to make a better life for themselves. Ah America.

    • fabulous

      Dr Fabulous says, “Ah poor people in every country, not just America.”

  • IsurvivedChina

    awesome movie!

  • mr.wiener

    Burn victim, not Texas chainsaw massacre.

    • YourSupremeCommander

      Love it when people just reposts other people’s posts and trying to pass it off as their own post, niggaplz.

  • Operation Plumbbob

    When I first heard about his ‘feed the homeless’ plan, I was pleasantly surprised. But I’m a skeptic so I had to look more into this. He originally said he was going to feed 1000 homeless and give them all money. He didn’t HAVE to say that but he did. Then he failed to do just that.

    If all he wanted to do was feed 250 and not give them any money, he should have just said he was going to treat 250 people to lunch. He would have looked much more noble. As it is, he just made himself a liar who wants to use poor people to make himself look good.

    • denvereen

      Well said. To promise that and then leave those people without, is just plain wrong.