Chen offers to build a tunnel under the strait


TAIPEI–China’s best-known philanthropist said in Taoyuan Sunday he would be willing to spend his entire fortune to build an undersea tunnel and high-speed railway across the Taiwan Strait.

Chen Guangbiao, who has been handing out envelopes of cash on the streets of Taiwan since his arrival in the country on Jan. 26, told the media that he can liquidate almost all his assets now to fund such a project.

The idea is for him to keep just 100,000 Chinese yuan and a house, and use the rest of the money to build a tunnel and a railway line between China’s southeastern city of Xiamen and Taiwan’s central city of Taichung, he said.

“I can spend all of my fortune now on this cause because I know I can make back the money in a few years,” he said.

Chen, who made his fortune from the recycling of construction materials, said he can also call on other philanthropic entrepreneurs in China to get involved.

“The 21st century is the century for the Chinese,” he said. “I believe that a cross-Taiwan Strait bullet train system can be built if all Chinese philanthropists could contribute one-tenth of their assets to such a project.”

After the first two days of a high-profile tour of northern Taiwan during which he earned himself more criticism than praise, the 43-year-old tycoon has stopped throwing cash around “at the request of the Taiwan authorities.”

He said he still hopes to make a large high profile philanthropic contribution to Taiwan in the future.

“With a warm and sincere heart, I hope I can travel to Taiwan every year to make donations,” he said.