Reuters has notedthat many rich Chinese are traditionally reluctant to discuss their wealth in public because they are "fearful of exposing fortunes larger than the government or rivals had calculated, inviting unwanted attention from tax collectors and hatred from millions of have-nots."
There has also been a sense that it is the government's responsibility to provide assistance to those who need help.
In a news release from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about today's meeting, both Buffett and Gates emphasize that while they wanted to share their enthusiasm for philanthropy, they were not in China to solicit pledges or to lecture their guests on how they should increase their giving.
Instead, the two men "stressed that China would need to find its own approach to large philanthropy, appropriate to its unique situation." They also note that home-grown giving is already taking root in China.
Gates is quoted as saying, "People are doing some very good thinking about how their good fortune can have a positive impact on China and the world."
The release ends with this quote from Buffett: "Recently, Bill and I wrote that we expected China to surprise the world in how it embraces philanthropy. If Bill and I could contribute to encouraging the very fortunate to follow their desire to do more, then our trip was a complete success,
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