Charity rising

by October 10, 2010

Yu Pengnian, real estate magnate and hotelier, gave away US$1.2 billion (Photo: Xiamen)

According to an article in a recent issue of the South China Morning Post‘s Net Worth magazine, philanthropy — a very public philanthropy at that — is on the rise among the wealthy business elites of mainland China. This is a radical change, writes May Chan: “In the ’90s, anyone with personal wealth was assumed to have accrued it from corrupt sources, categorised by the “five colours” of vice (red for the government; green, the army; blue, customs and excise; white, smuggling; or black, guns and drugs). Moreover, the custom in Chinese culture is to be modest about personal triumphs, including charitable contributions.” Now, prodded in large part by the human suffering caused by the Sichuan earthquake two years ago, billionaires are opening their wallets and stepping in front of microphones far more often than before.

Tracking this development and encouraging wherever possible the adoption of corporate social responsibility principles in China is Charitarian, a three-year-old organization founded by media entrepreneur Wang Liwei. In addition to its consulting services and events, the group also publishes a self-titled magazine focused on sustainable business in China and in the developing countries with which China does business. The most recent issue of The Charitarian is available here.

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