BEIJING--An entrepreneur known for his charity and attention-seeking ways has given Chinese cars to dozens of people whose Japanese vehicles were destroyed in the anti-Japan protests last month, Chinese media reports said.
Chen Guangbiao, a recycling mogul from Jiangsu province in eastern China, spent more than 60 million yen ($770,000) of his own money to present the new cars manufactured by the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to 43 former owners of Japanese vehicles at a ceremony in Nanjing, the capital of the province, on Oct. 10.
The cars cost 128,000 yuan (about 1.58 million yen) each.
Although Chen’s gesture drew fire from some critics as a publicity stunt, he defended his action, saying, “I meant it to prompt Chinese people to realize what level-headed, patriotic acts are.”
When his offer to provide the new cars was announced, 172 people applied.
“It is cheaper than my Toyota that was destroyed,” said a man from Suzhou from the province. “Still, I got a brand-new car for free. I am thrilled.”
The anti-Japan demonstrations that erupted after the Japanese government bought three of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Sept. 11 reached Suzhou.
Called the Diaoyu Islands in China, the uninhabited isles are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
Chen ran an ad in The New York Times on Aug. 31 that said the Diaoyu Islands belong to China.
Chen is also known for his philanthropy. He visited northeastern Japan for relief efforts after the region was struck by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March last year.
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