Jet Li formally launched his "One Foundation" at the Novotel in Beijing on April 19, 2007. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]
Chinese martial arts star Jet Li finally kicked off his "One Foundation" at the Novotel in Beijing on Thursday. At this simple-but-significant press conference, Jet Li also persuaded his many celebrity friends, including Zhou Xun, Xu Jinglei and famed TV host Huang Jianxiang, to get onboard the project.
"One plus one plus one equals one (1+1+1=1)" - the 15-second advertisement that we have just listened to features a little girl writing "1" with the background of the foundation's logo. It is the ideal of Jet Li's "One Foundation" which calls for each person to donate one yuan (US$0.13) per month to assist people in urgent need of help. The whole world is actually a big family, it explains.
Jet Li has been planning the project for years, hoping to help youth suffering from mental health problems, as well as the victims of natural disasters.
To join in the charity campaign, each person is encouraged to send the single character 1 to the number 999309 via SMS. In doing so, they will donate one yuan for the foundation. Of course, sending larger numbers will result in a greater donation. And if anybody promises to donate 999 yuan every year, they will become a permanent volunteer. All collected money will be sent to the needy via the Red Cross Society of China.
Jet Li said he started the "One Foundation" idea after he and his family narrowly survived the Tsunami in 2004. Since then, he has given up most of his film career in preparation for charity work. As the ambassador of China's Red Cross, he not only worked actively with members of the organization; he also persuaded the directors, actors, and investors to donate to the foundation whenever joining in the shooting of any film project. He wanted celebrity friends to jointly set up a public credit system to promote the campaign.
"The stars will supervise if the money will truly and transparently go to the needy. With the participation of these stars, I also hope that media will oversee the use of the money. The prospect of coaxing one yuan only from a limited number of people is inconceivable with the backing of such stars standing together. The stars will play an encouraging role in calling people together."
Jet Li didn't reveal how much money he has personally donated to the foundation. But he has said that a heart of love is an immeasurable quantity.
Many celebrities are similarly busy with charity work - from Jolie and Pitt adopting one baby after another, to the "Smile Angle Foundation" established by Asian pop diva, Faye Wang, and her husband, mainland actor Li Yapeng. And many people are asking whether such activities are merely ploys to enhance the star's profile.
Jet Li, personally believes that it is unnecessary for him to do that.
"I have risked the danger of death. I could have died at any moment during the Tsunami disaster. At that moment, I realized that although I am so prestigious, rich and incomparable, I have still had no dealings with death. So, if I do not fear of death, what else shall I be afraid of? Support, agreement, doubt and criticism will always follow you, no matter what you do in this world. And your doubt can only be eliminated with long-term public credit. Take, for example, me, Jet Li, only with the earnestness and sincerity that I earned from the global film circle over the past 27 years, could I establish this foundation and win so many supporters. It is unnecessary for me to promote my popularity at present."
Entertainment superstars, including Jay Chou, Andy Lau, Peter Chan and so on, have also contributed to the organization. Hong Kong veteran star Eric Tsang called for people to join in the campaign.
"In sending the short message 1 to 999309, you will donate one yuan to Jet Li's One Foundation, helping those in need. It is so simple."
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