HK media mogul Shaw revered for charity deeds

Updated: 2014-01-07 23:56


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HANGZHOU - Though he earned his fortune as a Hong Kong media mogul, Run Run Shaw, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 107, was most revered and remembered by the Chinese people for his benevolence.

Run Run Shaw, chairman emeritus of Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) of Hong Kong, passed away at 6:55 a.m. on Tuesday.

In fact, the legendary man was renowned as the "most familiar stranger" by many Chinese, who know him through his donations to thousands of projects around the country, all bearing the common name "Shaw Building."

"The 'Shaw building' was a mark carved on our school days," said Ma Nini, a 30-year-old editor who graduated from a university in the northeast China city of Harbin.

"No matter whether a library or a science hall, the 'Shaw building' was always the most advanced and well-equipped one on campus," said Ma.

Many Chinese on Tuesday posted photos of their local school buildings online, including libraries, science halls, stadiums and hospitals donated by Shaw.

"Carrying on his philanthropy for decades, Mr. Shaw was a real entrepreneur and philanthropist. We are grateful for him and respect his benevolence," said a netizen posting under the name "Xiao."

Shaw was enthusiastic about charity and donated more than 10 billion HK dollars (about 1.29 billion U.S. dollars), with a large sum for the support of education on the Chinese mainland.

Since 1985, Shaw donated 4.5 billion HK dollars for over 6,000 projects on the Chinese mainland -- over eighty percent of them related to education.

People might be surprised by the number of results when searching for the key word "Shaw building" on online maps of China, and they would certainly be shocked when searching for "Shaw primary school," said Ma.

Born in 1907 in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province in China, Shaw was a renowned Hong Kong film producer, entertainment industry tycoon and philanthropist.

The legendary man was nicknamed "Uncle Six," as he was the sixth child in his family. He established a flagship film studio, Shaw Brothers, in 1958 in the city and produced more than 1,000 Chinese-language films.

"He passed away peacefully in the company of his family," said Shao  Caiyuan, Shaw's relative in Qinyong Village of Ningbo, who set up a mourning hall at home.

"Being such a wealthy man, Shaw wore the same suit and clothes with patches when he went back to his home village to worship ancestors," he said, and recalled that the low-key man was extremely kind to villagers.

In 1988, Shaw donated about 20 million yuan to build the village's Shaw Center, which includes a kindergarten, senior center and auditorium. To date, these facilities are still in use. He also donated to 24 other projects in Ningbo.

Villagers and Ningbo residents flooded to Shaw's former residence to pay their condolences and respect.

"I always go to the Shaw building on my campus to study. We never met before, but I am so grateful to the old man," said a college student surnamed Li from Tsinghua University who rushed to the village from the Ningbo Airport.

As Li paid his respects to the "most familiar stranger," he said that he would keep in mind a quote from Shaw: "The highest end of an entrepreneur is a philanthropist. Coming from people, my wealth should benefit the people."