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Savior or showman, saint or sinner?

By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2014-06-28 06:51

He previously said he was going to buy The New York Times, but it was later revealed the owners of

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the American newspaper refused to meet him.

But he did buy several advertisements in the paper to outline his beliefs and stance on certain issues.

Chen, listed as one of China's 400 richest people, made headlines earlier this year thanks to a business card in which he described himself as the "Most Influential Person Of China", moral leader and beloved role model.

If it's pure publicity Chen wants, you can say he is the shrewdest of investors.

The return in name recognition from the amount he spends in the US on advertising is astronomical.

But he has yet to receive universal plaudits.

I'm not sure how the average American views him (or even if they have heard of him), but here in China just 10 percent of one online poll said his unusual way of charity has raised the profile of his home country internationally.

Another 10 percent said what he does is much better than what many newly wealthy Chinese do with their money, namely keeping it to themselves.

But the majority said they simply couldn't understand his way of spending money to purportedly help others.

Yes, there are poor people in the US who need help, but he has no business interests there, so shouldn't he first offer his hand to those closer to him?

China is still behind the US economically, and has far more people in poverty either in relative or absolute terms.

So shouldn't Chen's charity begin at home, as the proverb goes?

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