Put on the Spot: Tough Question for Wanda Chairman

Lenovo President Liu Chuanzhi surprises Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin with a question about his accumulated wealth and his father’s revolutionary past, Sina.com reports.

The Ninth Annual China Corporate Leadership Meeting opened Dec. 4 in Beijing. This year’s theme was “New Commerce, New Consensus, New Motivation.” At the meeting, Wanda Commercial Properties Co., LTD. Chairman Wang Jianlin won the lifetime achievement award for the top 25 most influential corporate leaders.

Presenting the award:

Lenovo President and Chairman of the Board Liu Chuanzhi

Reasons for the award:

“Heaven granted me life, so I must live. Spread a thousand pieces of gold and it will come back.” (from a Li Bai poem)

If he had lived in antiquity, he would have been more willing to become a general. In reality, he’s the greatest symbol of commercial real estate, and an ascetic monk of philanthropy. Soon he will establish his own million-dollar charity fund. He is ever-responding to the call of his country, rescuing Chinese soccer. He is a man of the greater good, a man divorced from bad taste, a man of benefit to the people.

On the spot Q & A:

Liu Chuanzhi: I’m not sure if everyone knows that Jianlin’s father is a Red Army veteran. His mind is still healthy and clear today. When the Red Army was engaging in revolution at that time, they were to subvert the rich entirely. Now his son has become the richest of people. I would like to ask how you and your father talk at home. Does he detest you or like you? If he likes you, is it that he only likes his rich son? Does he detest all the rich or like all the rich?

Wang Jianlin: This isn’t the original question President Liu prepared for me. In the beginning, my parents didn’t think my prospects were so great. Why was this? Because, as a child, I was quite generous. The money that was given to me, I would give to others to use. They would scold me for this and so I would ask: You always say this isn’t right, but what will you do when you’re old? They said they would rely on the institution in old age.

Later, those comrades who were put into retirement during the opening and reform, the institution slowly disregarded them. Then I took care of them. The cadre retirement home they originally lived in was not very nice. At the same time, Dad was getting old. I prepared a better home for him, prepared a driver for him. Life was better. So later I asked my parents which is better: relying on the institution or relying on your son? They said it themselves: relying on their son was better. Now, making a little more money is better. Although their goal in the past was to undermine the rich, now they wholly feel having money is better than not having it.

Liu Chuanzhi: And this son is willing to donate his money to the poor, showing everyone better days. This son is really not bad.

Wang Jianlin: Donating money is usually like this. Once you have a lot of money, you should certainly donate some. Of course I do have some traditional ways of thinking. The more money, the harder it is to spend, and the harder you must think about how to spend it. So as the rich become greater in number, the majority of them become philanthropists. This includes Bill Gates. Their first few years were rough. They sold their product through bundled sales, and after making lots of money they came running to China to hoodwink us into philanthropy.

Below are a selection of related opinions from Sina microblog:

@ 三国周刊: When presenting Wang Jianlin with the award, Liu Chuanzhi asked: “your father was a Red Army veteran who subverted the rich. Now you’re one of China’s richest. How do you and your father talk at home? How does your father look at his rich son?” The audience applauded. Wang Jianlin was dumbfounded, holding the microphone. The first sentence to come out of his mouth was that this wasn’t the question President Liu had asked before.

@ 还是007: Spread this microblog. President Liu asked a good question! (12-5 11:42 p.m.)

@ jimzwli: Rob in the name of the revolution; share the spoils in the name of reform; forcefully demolish in the name of development; repress in the name of stability. (12-5 11:17 p.m.)

@ 推不倒: Father Wang says: all in all, the revolution was a success. (12-5 11:17 p.m.)

@ 森森剑客: Only the young generation subverts their elders. When does the father subvert the son? I think the old man would say: if it were not for us subverting all the rich, what opportunity would you have had to stick your neck out? (12-5 11:30 p.m.)

@ 子柬: Skyscrapers shoot up like forests, while the aspirations of the people are totally scattered. (12-5 11:55 p.m.)

@ fredzeng: Ha ha, so it’s always been that the legitimacy of governance is one of the questions they can’t get around. (12-6 12:03 a.m.)

@吴祚来: The wealthy of that era didn’t accept the Communist Party leadership. Now the rich have good relations with the leaders. So the rich were doomed back then. Now the rich are the blessed. (12-6 9:44 a.m.)

@ 闻一哥 The old man says: getting rid of the rich back then was only to become rich ourselves today. (12-6 10:19 a.m.)

@zhao89621: Good question. Everyone knows the answer. (12-6 10:21 a.m.)

@ 糖糖min: They subverted the rich of that time because they weren’t rich themselves.

@三哥戴表: Subverting others then was for his son’s today.

@冯小宇K: Today if the rich aren’t leaders, then they are those close to the leaders, and their spokespeople.

December 10, 2010 10:25 PM
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