Mar. 23, 2023
Family Gets Green Names to Promote Environmental Lifestyle

Source: China News Service

Date: March 3, 2011

On March 2, Chen Guangbiao told China News Service, during an exclusive interview following his appearance at the People's Daily Online Leading Mobile Markets Forum, that all of his family members have changed their names to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle. A member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) and better known as “China's top philanthropist,” he grinned as he told China News Service, "my name is Chen Low-carbon.”

Over RMB 300 million donated to charity last year

Taiwan trip a journey of thanks

"Taking my family to Taiwan was also about getting more people involved in charity work." Speaking of his trip, Chen recalled that Taiwanese people donated a lot of infrared thermometers to mainland China during the SARS epidemic in 2003, and donated money during the earthquakes, droughts, floods and other disasters that followed. “Chinese people and Taiwanese people are family, so I went to Taiwan with a sense of gratitude to thank everyone for the help they gave us. It’s not important how much you donate, it's the thought that counts.”

Chen was open about the initial doubt and objections surrounding the trip. "This is a process of mutual understanding. I learned a lot during the trip and made many friends. I gave out red envelopes [full of money] and more than 20,000 CDs. So far, I have received more than 2,000 thank-you cards. None of the letters I have received are critical; all of all of them praise, encourage and support me.”

Preparing to give away money overseas

Aspiration: world's top philanthropist

“I have been doing charity work since I was a kid. In 2000, I set a goal for myself to be the number one philanthropist in China. In 2007, after six or seven years of hard work, I achieved that goal. Now my goal is to be the number one philanthropist in the world.” Chen believes that charity surpasses divisions of nation, political party and faith. “My next goal is to go hand out red envelopes [of money] in the United States, Japan and Singapore. The only way it's possible to become the number one philanthropist in the world is by doing charity work in other countries." Chen said he planned to get poor Singaporeans to drive him to casinos where he would make a show of handing out money in order to reform gambling entrepreneurs.

Chen's company has not made any new contracts since last November, but he said there is no contradiction between doing charity work and building a company. "As long as you can balance the relationship between the two, it's no big deal.” However, he admitted that in the past few years he has put a lot of energy and most of his time into working on social welfare activities and promoting environmental protection. In response to critics who say that his charity work is all for show, Chen said plainly: "Let them say what they will.”

To promote environmentalism, whole family renamed

Chen, his wife and two sons all changed their names for the environment. "My name is Chen Low-carbon, my wife's name is Zhang Green, and my two sons are Chen Environmental Protection and Chen Environment. Low-carbon, environmental protection, green and environment are all in my home.”

"Chen Low-carbon" told China News Service that he normally uses his new name at home. He also said he intends to submit environmental recommendations during this year's two sessions [the meetings of the CPPCC and National People's Congress].

"This year my first recommendation is to print slogans related to the environment, charity, voluntary services, government procurement, respecting elders, caring for children, protecting life and ecology, etc. on daily necessities so that these social responsibilities pervade every aspect of our lives. So that when we pick up a pair of chopsticks, we can read the slogan 'everyone is responsible for living sustainably and protecting the environment for future generations.' [We should] make a lot of the things our government purchases have slogans about various social responsibilities. I believe it is very necessary to remind everyone to be aware of their  responsibility.”

Recommending mother as ambassador of sanitation

 "On March 3, I will ride my bike to the CPPCC meeting carrying 500 cloth shopping bags that I will hand out to officials and delegates. If one day is not enough to hand out all of the bags, I will stay a few more days.”

Chen also started riding his bike to work. "I posted a photo of myself riding to work on the Internet. If anyone sees me being driven to work, and takes a picture to prove it, I will give them RMB 10,000. The point is to stop people from buying gas-guzzling cars. If you can walk you should walk. If you can save us a little energy, do it."

Chen also said that he recommended his 67-year-old mother as the ambassador of Nanjing's sanitation workers. "My mom spends two days a month sweeping the street, and she is very happy.”


TranslatorMi Yu

Proofreader: Britt Crow-Miller /Megan ko