Lei Zhang’s Donation To Yale University, Chinese Reactions

From NetEase:

Summary: According to news on Yale University’s website, Yale 2002 graduate Zhang Lei has already committed to donate 8,888,888 USD to Yale University’s School of Management (SOM). This is the largest donation to Yale University’s School of Management to date.

Comments from NetEase:


Very proper, very good, at least it is donating to justice, donating to hope…


I once previously contacted my alma mater Hua Nan XX University to donate 100,000 RMB to assist impoverished students, and the school told me to just directly deposit the money in their [the school’s] account. When I said, “Tell me who are the students that need help, and I will directly give the funds to them”, and the school if I did it like this then they are no longer interested. Hahaha.


In China, I bet the amount that would actually be properly used would be missing one “8”.


[If it were] given in China, it would be a miracle if there were 80,000 left [to be properly used] in the end.


SB, traitor, were you born with the knowledge you had before going to America?


A SB, why not donate the money to those in China who cannot afford to go to school, the impoverished areas who cannot afford to build schools? Double-crossing bastard, a dog who grew up eating China’s food [a “dog” who was “raised” by China but does not repay China afterward].


Our China has people who cannot afford to go to school, impoverished areas that cannot afford to build schools? Even a small leader [government official] in these kind of places drive luxury cars that cost hundreds of thousands, live in luxury residences that cost millions. I really envy the leaders of those impoverished areas!


From an objective perspective, who others donate their money to is their personal business, and there is no reason they must donate to China.


Country and government are two different things! Two different concepts! We should all love our country [be patriotic], but…


All day [talking about] betrayal betrayal? Who is betraying? What did the country give you? Whose country is this? Your country?
For you, “country” is paying taxes, is high housing prices, is high fuel prices, is monopoly, is no speech, is 70 km/h, is crooked building
To the country, you are just a “pi” [fart].


If you have so much money, why not donate it to China’s Project Hope schools? China still has a lot of impoverished areas.


Did China not give birth to you, raise you? What kind of person are you? Were you raised by wolves, China gave you your life…


To say what shouldn’t be said, with China today, prices rise, but wages do not, we almost have to start begging for food, yet no one donates to us. Sigh.


Even Qian Xuesen wanted permanent residence in America, so this and whether one is patriotic are two different things. Yale helped him achieve his current career and he is gratefully repaying them, we should be pleased. Their education is definitely more advanced and, what more, many of their graduates donate to their alma mater after becoming famous/successful. In China, even if you donated, you wouldn’t know where the money was spent.


Donating money to Americans, the Americans who have the most money in the world! Cups!


Why not make your own foundation and give the money to China’s most disadvantaged group of people?


China’s education system does not produce elites. The majority of elites are all produced abroad, including Qian Xuesen. China should deeply reflect on its own education methods.
He did nothing wrong. It was Yale that produced what he is today. At least, there are two points about him worthy of our respect: 1, he worked hard and 2, he is grateful.
You will say, why didn’t he donate to China? In our lives, we will have many teachers who have taught us, yet we will not appreciate every one of them, and not every one of them are able to change our lives. But those who changed our lives you would remember your entire life.

This story has spread to Sina and KDS now. Sina has a poll:

“What do you think about Chinese graduates donating large sums of money to Yale?”

  • “Understandable. There is nothing wrong with a person allocating his own money.” — 48.9%
  • “Not understandable. He should first donate to his own country’s education.” — 39.5%
  • “No opinion.” — 11.6%

At this time, there are nearly 45,000 votes.

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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.

  • Mike Fish

    Generosity is great, no matter who the recipient is. It is very likely he has given to Chinese charities but just did nothing to publicize it. Should a guy like him really be questioned by people who likely have given nothing to anyone?


    • FYIADragoon

      Chinese people hating on other Chinese people for having a positive concept of “face”…He’s the youngest and highest contributor. That’s not something that makes them swell with pride at all? Most money out of any country in the world, and Americans still don’t have this honor at one of their most prestigious universities, instead a Chinese does? This doesn’t turn the FQ kiddies on at all? With their innate insecurity, I’d think this would be a big hit.

      Donating to China’s education system is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard of. Rote memorization isn’t something that even merits a donation. Innovative teaching is. I’ve often found that the actual smartest students in China, who are smart outside of just test scores, have taken it upon themselves to improve their knowledge and thinking outside of the classroom. Schools don’t play that great a part. BUT its not like America has been doing so well in the education area either lately…

      And even if you do donate, nigh zero chance of it going to the right place as so many netizens stated. You’d have better luck of some of that money going towards something education related by dumping all 8 million out of an airplane flying over the poor sections of Beijing or Shanghai.

      • FYIADragoon

        Weird, why did that post here…Oh well. Congratulations on a positive comment rating of 17+ PUSAN.

        • Kennon

          He could of donated that money to a university on the brink of closing down, Yale doesn’t need that money. I can understand the idea of him wanting to give something back, but i don’t think this was a constructive way of doing so. Especially when i think of a certain large london university, threatened with closure and not to mention HEFCE threatening to stop funding.

          Talk about the bourgeoisie looking after the bourgeoisie… Or maybe i am just jealous that i cannot study my master degree in yale, but then again false consciousness or not at least i have made my way in life without masses of money.

      • Daphie

        Chinese educational system is extremely unfair. First there are a lot smart young people who can not afford university (this one is same in UK, US as I was told, but I know in France university is free and equal for everybody) Second the university has totally different entrance requirement for students from Beijing and elsewhere.If you have Beijing Hokou(ID), then lucky you! If you get 4/10 you get to the best universities. If you are from a small town like me, so basically you are ****, and have to get at least 7/10 to get in the best university. I can understand like if you are the son of Sakuzoy you can become a minister at 23, but just by where you were born? it is just rediculous.

    • YRM

      Everything can be related to the Chinese government, don’t donate! government!
      Don’t you get tired of yourself using this over and over again? Are any of you actually work in the government? (no packing paper boxes for the government doesn’t count, I mean an official). They’re actually under strict rules to go about things; they also pay a lot of attention to rural area of China and building schools (officials are forced to do some every couple of months).
      When there’s a trendy pink elephant in the room, it’s always trendy to yell at it, government this, government that. 1) The government doesn’t give a shit about what the fuck you say and 2) You don’t know the first thing about how they function inside the Chinese government, you only have guesses, you’ve never worked inside. So keep yelling, idiots

    • C

      Oh man. He’s learned how to bold. The Korean Cao Cao must have boosted his adrenaline. I need to catch up

  • andeli

    In all fairness some of that money will go to train other young Chinese talents at Yale. In that way it’s bias towards open market liberalism and not the more nationalistic tendencies in mainland Chinese universities. That could be the political statment of the donation and the reason why some netizens do not like it. Still it seem like there will be more room for Chinese talents in one of the worlds best universities yet no commented on thatfrom the netizen

  • jack butcher

    it would be better if he had paid chinese man to fuck blonde hair american girl

    • mechanized

      the dude just donated $8,888,888 you seriously think he hasn’t gotten any blond punani?

    • ST

      Let’s trade. You can have a shot at any blond girls you like and I won’t begrudge you if you are successful. Meanwhile, let me have a shot at any Chinese girls I like and you don’t begrudge me if I am successul.

      • jack butcher

        deal!! are you in china now? bring a blonde girl here, i will bring you a chinese girl. then we both become sucessful

    • DavidPaulBuckley

      yeh like ud have to pay a chinese guy to do that whilst the blond wud just be gagging for the 3 inch shaft of the 2 stroke motor lol

      • jack butcher

        if you had seen my dick you would cry

  • Papito

    American money will end up in China anyway

    • ImmortalTechnique

      True dat. Ya’ll better brush up on your mandarin, PAX SINICA is comin’ our way.

  • chinglish

    8 is an auspicious number in chinese culture.seven 8’s mean that great digits will bring good luck to yale.i hope a samaritan to lend five 8’s to me,im hungering for learning english in the u.s..

  • fireworks

    A pledge is just a pledge. Some people who are down in their economic fortune during the economic crisis will have reneged on their stated donation.

    If only the corrupt local officials would do the same and hand back their foreign SUVs, their gold watches and bribes.

  • 水溶C100

    ” All day [talking about] betrayal betrayal? Who is betraying? What did the country give you? Whose country is this? Your country?
    For you, “country” is paying taxes, is high housing prices, is high fuel prices, is monopoly, is no speech, is 70 km/h, is crooked building…
    To the country, you are just a “pi” [fart].”

    damn right..

  • Promo

    He did a nice thing. If he made that donation in China, it’d end up in the pockets of corrupt officials. Just like one commenter wrote above…He wanted to donate to his former UNI but they wanted it transfered directly to the Uni’s private account. In the end, it would’t get to the needy. The Yale guy is smart,cuz it’s an open door for more Chinese students and also a good name to the Chinese people. So , please there’s nothing wrong about the donation.
    Between,he is always going to be a Chinese, so ofcourse he would do alot for the local ones back home. STOP HATING FOR NO REASON.

  • Peye

    And besides the money is tax deductable in the US.

    • Chris

      All that means is you get a discount on the taxes you would have paid if you reported it as income… or something like that. You’re not saving money.

  • Jordan

    Those hate posts must have been written by officials from the Chinese government.

  • YRM

    “Hua Nan XX University”, how many Universities start with Hua Nan, you might as well say it, Hua Nan Li Gong University

    [Note from Fauna: The original Chinese is written that way. I try to translate as similar to original as possible.]

  • DWR

    Fauna, I’m disappointed – no link to ChinaSmack Personals?

    Surely you can come up with something like:

    Want to find someone to give $8,888,888 to? Try ChinaSmack Personals!

    Long Sunday afternoon in snowy Scotland…


    [Note from Fauna: I did not feel inspiration.]

  • VeerLeft

    “Why not make your own foundation and give the money to China’s most disadvantaged group of people?”

    That’s riiiight. Build schools for Uigurs!!!! Business schools, trade schools, community centres.

    _________I can feel the hate now…lol.

    • Ray

      I doubt Uigurs wanna become ibankers or hedgefun/PE managers lol

      • VeerLeft

        Really? Turkic peoples don’t have business aspirations? They can’t be financial wizards?

        • fabi

          they indeed have business aspirations :DD
          just to mention noodles, bbq, PSP…

    • LOLZ

      Don’t be ignorant. Uighurs are hardly the most disadvantage group of people in China. There are plenty of jobs and resources in the Xinjiang region. They are one of the loudest groups because xinjiang is a strategy location.

      Plus, even if you built the schools for them they will still be upset because to do good business in China you will need to learn mandarin and Chinese culture. If you teach them any of that you will get accused of “forcing culture” on them. Ultimately their undoing is their crappy reputation for being drug dealers and thieves, something which is more or less true in many large cities.

      • Somethin Somethin

        Hey drug dealing and BBQ are big buisness in most countries in the world(especially the US). Dont piss on the ET’s for selling that which the common people of this fair land demand. As for being criminals, they can’t be that good otherwise they’d steal their land back.

      • BBC

        It’s like that in Britain… you teach Muslims English and Christianity (or even evolution as opposed to what the Koran says) there and they go mental and protest.

  • Keith

    what a tightass. he suppose to donate 88,888,888USD

  • Goodness

    After the Chinese netizens are done with this guy, they should go after Jerry Yang. First he give a huge amount of money to Stanford then he went off and married a Japanese girl. The nerve!


    • mechanized

      Jerry Yang is from Taiwan…………

      • Goodness

        Oops. I stand corrected

  • YRM

    A lot of the Chinese officials who hope to send their kids to University donate money to Western Universities. 1) It’s a matter of “face”, as in “look how much money I donated to this famous University and 2) it’s a matter of “guanxi” as in the future their sons and daughters might want to go to Yale. I don’t know if this is the case here, I’m just saying, it’s happened before between other people and Univerisites

  • Fake Popcorn

    If only those Chinese who are calling him a traitor know any better…if you go to any major colleges in the U.S. like Stanford and MIT especially engineering schools, you will see that there are thousands and thousands of Chinese students. We are talking about students from China and not Chinese Americans.

    I’m sure much of this donation will go towards helping many of these students. Perhaps he has earmarked much of this money to scholarship for students from China. Imagine hundreds of students from China being able to attend Yale because of this donation and many of them going back to China starting their own successful businesses.

    Vietnam spent several millions of dollars sending their civil servants to the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University in NY to study public policy and management. Could they have spent this money on homelessness in Vietnam? Sure, but they are looking at the bigger picture and long term benefits of their own people.

    • Tony Neville

      The dullards calling him a traitor would nationalize all his wealth if they could. It’s how a Socialized mind sees things. China gave birth to you, clothed you, fed you, educated you. China is your mommy and daddy. You are indebted to China. China owns you.

      For this reason alone, no rational person would ever voluntarily make a donation toward an “education” system in which the CCP has any control.

    • LOLZ

      “If only those Chinese who are calling him a traitor know any better…”

      Well, no shit. But then how do you expect people in China to understand the way higher education works in the US, unless they graduated from one and then constantly getting harassed by the alumi club for donations.

  • hoklodude

    There is a way around donating money to help the needy for education. You got to do it the Tan Kah Kee way.

    If you are filthy rich and have more money than sense, better to establish your own universities and let the government take over it. Now you got a nameplate of a few universities under your belt and sit back and wait for everyone to applaud you as being a great helmsman.


  • Shanghairocks

    What he donated is not money, but loneliness :p

  • Ray

    That’s nothing….. philanthropy by alumnus in the U.S. is very commonplace.

    Mark Yusko who taught the hedge fund class at my soon to be alma mater UNC Kenan Flagler Business school just donated 35 million USD to his alma mater Notre Dame last summer. So donations around 8 million to a large university in the United States is not that rare.

    Plus Yale’s school of Management SUCKS! Thus I guess they need it. If you ever wonder why they have schools of “management” instead of the proper title of “Business School” it’s because they have a weak/non existent finance program.

  • Evangeline

    Good Spirit! At least i can see “good things happen to good people” there where you donate to which will never happen in China! Great Choice!

  • taihanasie

    I have noticed that almost none of the Chinese netizens have zeroed in on what this man said was his reason for giving to Yale. He said that his experience at Yale had changed his life.

    Therefore he made his donation, in part to help others (some of whom might just be Chinese applicants) have the same positive life-changing experience.

    The criticism of clueless Chinese netizens is mind-bogglingly stupid. Since when it is a crime to be thankful for a person or institution that has changed your life?

    Rather than gripe about this, the same Chinese netizens should be asking themselves how China can reform its own system of higher education so that, one day, just maybe, alumni of Chinese univerisities will be willing to make similar contributions domestically.

  • Laermi

    It would be more attractive to donate in China if you could follow up in which hands your money will end…

  • Professor Sillypants

    To the critics of this gift:

    Have you ever considered studying capitalist economics? It is the cornerstone of China’s economy.

    Perhaps you can understand what will happen if we prance around like Mao, throwing the money down to the poor. It’s a nice idea and, yes, I feel warm inside, but it doesn’t work at all.

  • Professor Sillypants

    In America there are many schools that benefit from Alumni giving. My alma mater is one of the best in the Western U.S., where Alumni giving is just another way of educated people in the west showing their thanks for good training.

  • LOLZ

    China is still a dirt poor country and in dirt poor countries you don’t give money away. So it understandable that people find it odd to see someone giving away so much money to someone else, and not to them.

    On the other hand, donations are prevalent in the US. They essential to universities as most people don’t even pay full tuitions and even if they did I don’t think it will cover the operating costs. Also, while Yale has a good law school its MBA school barely makes the top 10 so high profile donations such as this one is good to attract future talents.

    Lastly, giving away money is great. Charity events are a blast and IMO the easiest way to wiggle yourself into the socialite circle which you would never be able to otherwise, even if you had the money. Plus, it makes people forget what you did to make that money in the first place :)

  • Ting

    Yale doesn’t need donation. This guy did it just because he craves for attention and fame in US.

    • Professor Sillypants

      Haha. Really? You think so? Then why do less than 1/2 of 1 percent of Americans know who he is?

  • Python

    I don’t see any problem for this donation. I doubt that any of those “critics” had college education in China and I want to know what these “netizens” will offer if they realize Chinese universities accept HUGE donations from outside of mainland every year. Almost all Chinese key universities (and some high schools) have libraries/lecture halls named after Yifu Shao (or Run Run Shaw, a Hong Kong media mogul). He has donated about HK$ 2.5 billion in the mainland’s education, culture and health departments though most of these schools have absolutely no direct connection to him or his family.


    And large donations from enterprises and personals are not rare in Chinese universities. Take my alma mater (a top 10 college in China) as an example, where students receive scholarships from both domestic and foreign foundations/companies. Names on the honour list include Samsung(S.Korea), Qiushi Foundation(Hong Kong), Zhang Zongzhi(a overseas Chinese), Toshiba(Japan), Yilida Group(Hong Kong), Emerson(North America) and the list goes on. In my last year of college, I got a scholarship from Kwang-Hua Education Foundation which is based in Taiwan. Though the amount is small (1000RMB) but I’m still feeling grateful and the scholarship DOES affect my opinion on Taiwanese people as a whole (actually I donated about 1500RMB through a Taiwan government website when Typhoon Morakot hit Taiwan and brought terrible damages to its people last year).

    So what do I think about the $9m donation to Yale? Based on my reading it’s pretty reasonable. Yale gave Mr. Zhang the education that made his huge success possible. He OWES Yale a lot and it’s never a question whether he should pay the debt. And if one Chinese newspaper reports truthfully, he owes Yale financially too.


    Mr. Zhang’s company, the Hillhouse Capital Management(HCM), accepted $30 million from The Yale Endowment Fund as a starting fund in 2005 and the company now manages about $2.5b and is mainly responsible for The Yale Endowment Fund’s investment in China. $9m out of $2.5b? what’s the big deal?

    If you are still not satisfied: the English report in the post says, “other funds will be used to support a variety of China-related activities at the university, such as work undertaken in cooperation with China’s Ministry of Education to train Chinese university presidents”. Yale has always been the best place to do China-related research in areas like education and business and the donation will further enhance the connection between the school and country and help China training more talents that are much needed in its modernization. Who gets the long-term benefit?

  • sky

    All you misdirected patriotism does not mean you love your country what have YOU done to make your country a better place? Instead of jumping on someone that is paying back the educational institution that gave him the opportunity and a chance to become who he is today. How do you know that he will not support Chinese students with more funding?

    Yale gave him a chance to become who he is. Sure he was born in China the country did not give birth to him his mother did and as far as food goes if you want to get technical much of China’s food come from various parts of the world United States included.

    Finally which such a corrupted government can you honestly say that the money donated is going to even be seen by the ones that really needs it? The money donated to Yale WILL be used properly will the money donated to Chinese institutions be used properly? It is estimated that Chinese officials over the last decade has embezzled over 50 billion… 50 BILLION!!!!

    Only foolish sheeps like you that bash and hate on everyone and everything without taking a good look at yourself and the Chinese government structure make us look like uneducated fools.

  • BBC

    Bottom line: it’s his friggin’ money to give.

    End discussion.

  • Professor Sillypants

    The money should be redistributed amongst the people! Struggle against the capitalist running dogs!

  • Redfroggy

    It’s his money. He decides who he wants to give it to. It’s none of others’ business as long as he paid the tax. But did he?

  • Mei

    It was his money, he can do whatever he wants, and besides i do agree with the first commenter about there being very little money left for the students, corruption in China’s schools is very common.
    And to one of the original commenters, even though he wont be reading this: America is not the richest country in the world…

  • robertck7

    To contribute is good.
    As long a he pays off everybody else who supported his business as well..

  • I heard that Lei Zhang became a policeman and shot two civilians in Guizhou. He just can’t stop being in the news can he!

  • David Thooi

    This poor Chinese, Lei Zhang is just a dirt in the eyes of Americans. I doubt he ever has the means to earn even a decent living to survive in the United States let alone giving out donations.

  • hung

    this guy offers no inspiration. to me he is scumbag. try to learn from these two teenager. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/2010-05/04/content_9804231.htm

  • hung

    many poor people in china probably cant afford proper education. and this lazy and heartless bastard doesnt have time to investigate and donate money to these charity to help the poor student that works and studys at the same time. this guy is useless human being. in fact, he is in-human.