Chinese Billionaire Offers Free Lunch to New York's Homeless

Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao, who considers himself China's top philanthropist, is offering to buy lunch for 1,000 homeless people in New York City. Some say the offer is a noble gesture, while others consider it a gimmick from the Chinese tycoon who once made news by offering to buy The New York Times newspaper.

Chen Guangbiao announced the event in prominent ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He said he will buy lunch for 1,000 homeless people at a fancy New York City restaurant next Wednesday and give each of them $300 after the meal.

At one Manhattan restaurant, a man named Matthew, who would give only his first name, said he thinks the offer is politically motivated.

"I guess Chinese bureaucrats are just as entitled to engage in media stunts just like American politicians," he said.

But for Anthony Shaw and his family -- who have been homeless in New York for three months after moving there from Florida -- any help now is much appreciated.

Lee, another New Yorker who would not give his first name, has a different take, however, on Chen's motivations.

"He [Chen Guangbiao] wants to use this chance to help and improve his reputation for his business, of course. His reputation will be spread ... and  people will choose and trust him, then a large sum of money will return to his hands," he said.

The free meal is scheduled to be held on June 25 at the upscale Loeb Boathouse in Central Park.

VOA News / Jun. 20, 2014 08:16 KST