News / USA

China Billionaire's Homeless Lunch Becomes Spectacle

China Billionaire's Homeless Lunch Becomes Spectaclei
X
June 26, 2014 7:29 PM
A highly-publicized free lunch for New York City's homeless, paid for by a Chinese billionaire, has ended in recriminations and anger among many who attended. VOA's Fang Bing attended the spectacle and filed this report, narrated by Marcus Harton.
Fang Bing

A highly-publicized free lunch for New York City's homeless, paid for by a Chinese billionaire, has ended in recriminations and anger among many who attended.

Chinese entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao had high hopes for the event -- billed as a free lunch for 1,000 homeless people in an upscale Central Park restaurant. It wound up looking more like an ideological talent show, however, ending in disaster.

The menu included sesame tuna, salad, beef steak, and dessert. Craig, who would only give his first name, said he had never been to fancy restaurant before.

”Mr. Chen bought us a delicious lunch. It’s so yummy,” he said.

Li, who would give only his family name, said the lunch made him feel proud to be Chinese.

"Chinese are rich, they stand in foreign countries, they have earned a reputation for us Chinese, and have won honor for us,” he said.

Talent show

But the event that started with such good feelings soon turned sour, starting with the talent show.

Chen Guangbiao sang "We Are the World," did magic tricks, and then sang a Chinese song that advocated Maoism. Some volunteers at the event were even dressed in old replica uniforms of China's People's Liberation Army.

Finally, came the money portion of the evening. And things went from odd to angry.

One of highlights billed for the event was that Chen would give $300 to each homeless person. Five lucky people did get their money. But the rest were left wanting.

The New York City Rescue Mission that worked with Chen objected to giving away cash to the homeless based on their long-term experience working with that population.

Broken promise

Michelle Tolson, the Mission's Director of Public Relations, said, ”Giving cash to homeless is not good idea. Thus, he [Chen Guangbiao] has chosen to donate $90,000 to New York City Rescue Mission.”

That position did not sit well with many of the assembled homeless.

"The mission got the money and we got nothing. Nothing. They got $90,000 and we're still living on the street," said one homeless person at the event.

"You don't play with people like this. You tell them the freaking truth. Not like a politician, who smiles and tells you what you want to hear," said another person at the lunch.

Only 200 homeless were allowed in, despite previous advertising that said more than 1,000 would be fed. Chen says the rest will be given lunch on another date.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (2)
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
June 27, 2014 11:14 AM
It should be no surprise to anyone that when it comes to Chinese billionaires, they haven't got a philanthropic bone in their bodies. Most Chinese millionaires/billionaires got their riches b/c of close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, which is very corrupt & embezzled billions from Chinese people. The odes to Mao are strange since Mao had rich Chinese landowners executed when he came to power. Also Mao is responsible for the death of at least 80 million Chinese when he ruled China as its dictator.

In Response

by: Mike Spiker from: ca
June 29, 2014 4:00 PM
Did you actually read the news? Chen gave the money, but the charity took it instead of giving it out.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid