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Chinese billionaires criticised for giving Harvard $18m

Published on Jul 24, 2014 5:43 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese billionaire couple have faced a deluge of criticism for donating US$15 million (S$ 18.5 million) to one of the richest and most prestigious universities in the US, with Internet users saying it would be better spent on students in China.

Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, the husband-and-wife duo behind real estate giant SOHO China, are giving US$100 million to fund disadvantaged Chinese students at top universities across the globe.

The first stage of the programme was last week's gift to the Ivy League institution, widely regarded as one of the world's best universities.

Mr Pan is not only one of China's wealthiest people but also one of the country's most-celebrated "Big V" bloggers, with nearly 17 million followers on the microblogging site Sina Weibo, at times drawing attention from the authorities.

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