Chinese actor Jackie Chan, who outside of the film world is also known for his philanthropic work, says wealthy Chinese people will need time to understand the significance of being involved in charity work.
BEIJING, CHINA (HANDOUT) - Chinese actor Jackie Chan might best be known for his action movies and stunts, but he is more and more dedicating himself to throwing punches in the world of philanthropy.
Apart from his work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chan has been involved with many charitable causes, including campaigns against animal abuse and various disaster relief efforts such his work for the victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
He was also recently awarded the Social Philanthropist of the Year award by Harpers Bazaar magazine. Chan, who last year announced his plans to retire from action movies, is instead devoting more of his time to charitable work and hopes China's leagues of nouveaux riches will follow his example.
"I was 20 years old and already like a millionaire. Diamond watch. Car. Crash. Buy another one. Nightclub. Women", Chan said of his rise to fame. "Then, why am I suddenly doing so many charities? Enough. I already have everything. But sometimes I sit down - diamond watch? No. Car? Enough. Women? Lot of trouble. Ahhh. You're helping people, you see the children smiling. Wow. It makes you comfortable. Suddenly, doing charity teaches me about becoming humble. Becoming a good person," the actor said.
China now has more billionaires than any other Asian country, but very few philanthropic organizations, and giving to charity remains a relatively new phenomenon in the world's most populous country. But the actor says he is hopeful this will change over time. This he underlined by recently auctioning a Bentley 666 for around 6 million yuan (USD961,837) in Beijing last year.
"Today you grow a tree, how can it boom suddenly become a tall tree? No, give time, we still learning. Just like five years in Beijing right now, the people around me they're all billionaire, they're so rich. Everybody have a private jet. But they always sit around me to listen. I say 'I just come back from Vietnam, da da da da and they're crying. After that 'Jackie, here, million. Here, hundred thousand,'" he said.
And while Chinese philanthropists have made some encouraging strides, according to Chan, whose charity work has raised around USD100 million in the last two decades, he says much more still needs to be done.