IN 2012, a string of expatriates in Shenzhen and across China took the country’s cyberspace and media world by storm with charitable acts, inspiring roles or unfortunate missteps. Here are Shenzhen Daily’s picks for the exp
1 Tim Baker and his wife Pam, from the United States, set up Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village — the largest foreign-funded orphanage in China — in Dawangguzhuang Township, Wuqing District, Tianjin Municipality. The Bakers have helped more than 3,000 disabled children in China receive medical treatment and found families to adopt 900 children over the past 20 years. The couple’s charity efforts were widely reported by Chinese media in June.
2 Oleg Vedernikov, a Russian cellist, was fired by Beijing Symphony Orchestra on May 21 after he was caught on camera verbally abusing a female passenger on a train, sparking an online outcry over a string of incidents involving foreigners behaving badly in China.
3 Tony Day, a 48-year-old Briton (pictured in background, center), runs a charity kitchen in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, and has offered free porridge and buns to thousands of homeless people over the past seven years. So far, Day has spent about 400,000 yuan (US$64,000) of his savings on charitable efforts in China.
4 Gary Locke, the U.S. ambassador to China, shunned a five-star hotel in Hainan in April and traded down to cheaper accommodations, creating waves in Chinese social media circles. Some applauded the move and asked Chinese officials to follow suit, while others were skeptical, saying what he did was a show and politically motivated.
5 Martin Mellish, an American teacher in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, became famous in June after websites and local TV broadcast a video showing him helping an ambulance through traffic. On June 12, Mellish saw an ambulance trapped in a crowd of cars, with none of the drivers willing to make way. About five minutes after he directed some vehicles out of the way, the ambulance broke out of the heavy traffic. His small act achieved greater significance after a patient died in an ambulance in Beijing in December in a traffic gridlock, as no vehicles gave way.
6 Andrew Colquhoun of Australia (seated front row, center) raised about 1 million yuan (US$158,000) with his Captivating International charity group in an Oct. 13 fundraiser attended by about 600 people from Shenzhen’s expat community. The funds will support the education and development of 130 needy girls in underdeveloped rural areas of the western province of Qinghai.
7 Christine Canham is a Briton who worked in volunteer development in the United Kingdom for 25 years. In October, she started volunteer service at Canyou, a Shenzhen social enterprise whose employees are primarily people with disabilities. Canham will help the organization enhance its volunteer-management system while also helping staff members and volunteers improve their English.
8 Kenneth Eugene Behring, an American philanthropist and an honorary Shenzhen resident, has offered to donate 250 rare animal specimens from Africa, the Americas and Oceania to Shenzhen. The first batch, of about 190 specimens, has arrived in Shenzhen and the rest will be shipped to the city over the next few years.
9 Richard Sears, known as “Hanzi (Chinese character) Uncle” on the Internet, has spent nearly all of his spare time and money studying Chinese etymology over the past 20 years. But after living in China for only six months, he had to leave the country in August after encountering visa problems. Sears founded the world’s first English website devoted to Chinese etymology, www.chineseetymology.org, which provides information about the origins and evolution of more than 6,000 Chinese characters.
10 David Seymour, a Shenzhen bar owner, along with other expats donated 16,000 yuan to the struggling local family of a newborn suffering from congenital anal atresia.
atriate newsmakers of 2012.