China’s Pusher of Philanthropy

Movie star Jet Li has launched a new philanthropic organization and is working to get more Chinese citizens involved, after signing on celebrities from Bill Clinton to Donatella Versace. From the Washington Post:

Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and executives from Disney, Ferrari and Universal have also signed on to help.

Li considers recruiting the easy part. Now he is turning his attention to residents of China, which has one of the lowest rates of charitable giving of the world’s major economies despite its newfound wealth. In the United States, giving represents about 2.1 percent of gross domestic product; in China, it’s closer to 0.35 percent.

“The role we played is more like a pusher of philanthropic culture,” Li said in an interview. “Right now, people still have a fuzzy recognition about philanthropy and volunteerism. . . . My dream is to change the concept of philanthropy in China from simply helping others into responsibility.”

The core idea of Li’s One Foundation is that in a country the size of China, if everyone gave a little, the impact would be enormous. Li is urging everyone to donate one yuan — about 15 cents — a month. “We set the lowest entrance barrier,” Li said. “Nobody can say no.


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