China tycoon to the rescue of burn victims
EXHIBITING again his penchant for pageantry, a Chinese tycoon who has made waves with his bid to buy The New York Times opened a press conference here on Tuesday by belting out My Chinese Dream, a song he apparently wrote.
After his song, Mr Chen Guangbiao introduced two Chinese women, a mother and her daughter, who are disfigured due to a 2001 self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square.
Mr Chen brought the women, Ms Hao Huijun and Ms Chen Guo, to New York for medical procedures.
He will spend more than US$2 million (S$2.5 million) of his own money in bringing the women to New York and paying for their medical expenses, lodging and food over what is expected to be more than six months of medical procedures.
They were among a group of people who set themselves on fire in a protest, but later denounced Falungong as a cult.
That Tiananmen Square incident is a flashpoint in China involving protests by members of Falungong, banned in China since 1999 because the country deemed it a cult.
Falungong members claim the government was involved in the incident, which was used to discredit the movement.
During the press conference, reporters from the Falungong-linked New Tang Dynasty Television and the Epoch Times asked aggressive questions, alleging that Mr Chen was part of a pro-Communist Party publicity stunt, Business Insider reported.
He denied this, adding that "as the No. 1 Chinese philanthropist, I felt obligated to help them".
Mr Chen, known for his flashy philanthropy, lists titles including "Most Influential Person of China", "Most Prominent Philanthropist of China" and "Most Charismatic Philanthropist of China" on his business card.
He also revealed that he has dialled back his ambitious plans to buy The New York Times, just over a week after making his intentions public.
"The...difficulty is great," he said through a translator on Tuesday, noting that the Times rebuffed a request for a meeting.