Chinese public unhappy own tycoon donates $15 million to Harvard University
ASIA / China – Chinese netizens are questioning the motive of real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi for donating $15 million to an American University instead of a local tertiary institution.
Pan Shiyi, a self-made billionaire who owns SOHO China, the largest prime real estate developer, has plans to donate a total of $100 million dollars to Harvard University in the future via SOHO China Foundation. The donation will set up a scholarship for Chinese students studying in the prestigious university, where costs could be a huge barrier for talented Chinese individuals.
Caixin.com quoted Zhang Xin who assured the scholarship will only be available for students who have been admitted to Harvard and whose annual household income is below 65,000 yuan ($10,493).
Most of the online comments indicating unhappiness questioned why the rich in China are donating to universities overseas instead of Chinese universities locally, or even their local alma mater.
According to Globaltimes, “a similar controversy ensued in 2010 after Zhang Lei, a Chinese financier who earned his MBA at Yale’s School of Management, donated $8,888,888 to Yale, which he said had “changed his life,” instead of to the Renmin University of China, his motherland alma mater.”
SCMP reported the couple are currently in America spending time visiting a number of top US universities, including Harvard, Yale and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, best known as MIT, as well as the headquarters of Apple and Facebook, posts on their Weibo pages showed. The Guardian reported in April this year of Bill Gates’ appeal to Chinese billionaires to start giving to charity. China had 358 billionaires in 2013 – 41 more than the previous year. U.S. is the only country that has more billionaires than China.
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