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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid