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Microphilanthropy, Celebrities and the China Drought

Published 08th April 2010 - 2 comments - 3707 views -

According to the Chinese government, the current drought in southern China has left 18 million people and 11 million livestock in Yunnan, Guangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing without adequate water.


Many celebrities in China are paying close attention to the drought and are utilising Web 2.0 technologies as fund-raising tools. One famous local movie star, Yao Chen, announced last month that she will donate 1 cent for every new follower of her Sina microblog (equivalent of twitter, which is banned in China) until the deadline. She finally attracted 1.3 million followers, and as a result donated 130,000 yuan to the disaster relief effort.

Another example from last month. Dong Lu, a famous TV host of the China Central Television (CCTV), wrote on his microblog, which has over 240,000 followers:


Translation: Since I started my microblog, I have not followed a single person. Now I am selling my 'only' 'following slot'. All amounts will be donated to the Yunnan relief effort. Famous millionnaires are particularly welcome. The deadline is 1 April.

Microblogging appeals to a large audience in China, and celebrities can multiply its effects. This could be particularly helpful in charity campaigns. But at the same time, many people in China are criticising celebrities for using these actions to boost their profiles. Is it moral? What's your take?

Category: Technology | Tags: china, microblogging, celebrity,


  • Nicola Limodio on 11th April 2010:

    I think it’s a very interesting tool available not only to get more infos, but also to allow people to take action. It may be argue that this method is informal and naive, but al least it provides some stimuli (to donors) and help (to recipients).

    Congrats for your post!

  • Philip on 13th April 2010:

    Microblogging can be a huge force in mobilizing people to do something. Such act if used positively is good to both the government and the peoples.

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