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Reactions are mixed in Taiwan over a Chinese billionaire's charity visit. Chen Guangbiao concluded his eight-day trip to Taiwan on Tuesday. He gave more than $16 million U.S. dollars to the Taiwanese people in highly publicized events, but not everyone agrees with his flashy ways.
China's billionaire Chen Guangbaio boasted on Monday he had given away more than $16 million U.S. dollars to Taiwan's poor during a charity visit to the island. Chen's high profile trip raised controversy though, with many questioning his flamboyant style and the motive of his visit.
Since arriving in Taiwan last Wednesday (January 26), Chen has staged public events handing out red-packets. Traditionally these are given with money inside as gifts for special events like the New Year or birthdays. Thousands of people in Taiwan's northern cities of Hsinchu and Hualian received Chen's handout.
[Cash Handout Recipient]:
"This isn't support money. It's just to help pay the rent and the gas."
A self-made businessman, Chen is known in China for his flashy philanthropy. In Taiwan, local media reports that those desperate for Chen's cash resorted to kneeling on the ground. Altercations broke out between crowds and police.
[Huang Wei-cher, Taiwan Legislator]:
"Throwing money around like this, making people give up their dignity, begging for his charity. To be frank, I think this is bringing out the dark side of human nature. It's not showing brightness, but darkness."
Criticisms like these reflect the doubts many Taiwanese have about money from mainland China. Some see Chen's charity as part of the Chinese regime's strategy to unify Taiwan, through economic, cultural and now charitable exchanges.
After controversy over his red-packet events, Chen cancelled a public outing in Taipei on Monday. He returned to China on Tuesday, and already has promised to come back to Taiwan later this year for a major donation.