Xinjingbao, People's Republic of China

Is Bill Gates, a man who made his fortune "by means of monopoly and unfair competition" serious when he argues for equality and public service? According to this op-ed article from China's state-controlled Xinjingbao [Beijing News], while one might suspect Mr Gates of hypocrisy; "As far as the public is concerned, hypocrisy in the public interest is at least better than blatant exploitation."

By Liu Qing [??], Associate Professor at East China Normal University

Translated By How Xian Neng [???]

July 29, 2007

People's Republic of China - Xinjingbao - Original Article (Chinese)

On July 7, Bill Gates spoke at Harvard University 356th commencement ceremony. In a moment of glory, the old Harvard dropout was awarded an honorary LL.D. (Doctor of Law) and invited to deliver a 25-minute speech. Gates' opening remark was triumphant: "I've been waiting more than 30 years to say this: Dad, I always told you I'd come back and get my degree."

But after a number of short, humorous remarks, "Harvard's most successful dropout" turned serious. He said, recalling that the greatest regret of his Harvard years was leaving without, "real awareness of the awful inequities in the world - the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair."

From that point onward, the whole speech read like a declaration on human equality. When discussing the disease and inequality in the world and the needless deaths of countless children, Gates asked bitterly, "How could the world let these children die?"

He immediately gave the standard radical left-wing answer: "The answer is simple, and harsh. The market did not reward saving the lives of these children, and governments did not subsidize it. So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system." And then, calling out to the Harvard's graduates of the year, he said: "But you and I have both."

At the end of his speech, Gates implored the Harvard elite to shoulder social more responsibility. He asked: "Should our best minds be dedicated to solving our biggest problems? Should Harvard encourage its faculty to take on the world's worst inequities? Should Harvard students learn about the depth of global poverty ... the prevalence of world hunger ... the scarcity of clean water ...the girls kept out of school ... the children who die from diseases we can cure?"

At the end, he closed his speech with a moving "I hope you will judge yourselves not on your professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well you have addressed the world's deepest inequities ... on how well you treated people a world away who have nothing in common with you but their humanity."

Gates' speech left me confused, even skeptical. Isn't he the richest capitalist in the world? Or is he an angry advocate of Rawls' Justice ?

Can these two things be compatible?

Of course, "skeptical intellects" like me wouldn't be fooled. The critical nerves immediately went into overdrive: This was nothing but a show speech with fine words. Isn't it true that Bill Gates has become the richest man on earth by means of monopoly and unfair competition? Hasn't the global hegemony of Microsoft depressed and crushed the domestic IT industry in many third world countries, thereby aggravating the inequality that he now denounces so passionately?

And in this way, isn't his generous "charitable" foundation merely a form of hypocrisy? All these allegations bear discussion and questioning.

On the other hand, critical thinking can be applied in the other direction. The world's richest man with a net worth of about $56 billion, is only leaving behind about a tenth of one percent of that to his children. Almost none of his property is used for extravagant pleasures and he never invests in arms. Instead, most of his invests are in areas related to global social service. If there were more "shows" like this, our world would be a better place.

If China's rich tycoons would follow the same course, we would all be fortunate. In the end, it might not be so important whether his psychological motive is purely "charitable" or "hypocritical." We don't need to judge. As far as the public is concerned, "hypocrisy" in the public interest is at least better than blatant exploitation. After all, we've all heard the famous expression: "If you live a life of pretend long enough, you start to become what you pretended."

Originally from on August 7, 2007, 6:54pm


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 – present, website developer and writer. 2015 – present, insurance broker.

    Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration.

    Volunteerism: 2007 – present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.