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Real estate mogul apologizes for improper donation speech
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A Businessman has apologized for saying that big companies should not donate too much money to earthquake victims and that such firms should not be burdened with charity work, Oriental Morning Post reported yesterday.

Wang Shi, chairman of the country's biggest property developer Vanke, apologized yesterday for the comments. On May 15, Wang wrote on his blog that Vanke's 2 million yuan (US$285,700) donation to earthquake victims in Sichuan Province was enough, the report said. His remarks came three days after the May 12 quake, in which more than 51,151 people were killed and 29,328 others were missing.

China suffers frequent natural disasters and donation should be sustainable rather than become a burden to a company, Wang wrote, according to the report.

However, the online community criticized Wang. One person said that 2 million yuan was barely enough to buy a decent flat built by Vanke in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, the report said.

Shenzhen-based Vanke posted a net profit of 4.84 billion yuan last year and had revenue of 35.5 billion yuan.

Other companies have been more generous with donations to quake victims.

Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Corp, Shanghai-based Rizhao Steel, Guangdong-based drinking producer JDB and Tianjin-based Rockcheck Steel Group Co Ltd each donated 100 million yuan, the report said.

Donations to China's quake-hit regions have reached more than 16 billion yuan and 1.746 billion yuan has been forwarded to earthquake-stricken areas, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

Vanke has since said it will invest an additional 100 million yuan (US$14.29 million) to participate in rebuilding work to accommodate victims in the earthquake-hit areas, the report said.

(Shanghai Daily May 23, 2008)

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