Chinese celebrities and the CEOs of China’s leading tech companies have joined other netizens in taking the ice bucket challenge, dumping ice water over their heads to raise awareness of ALS.
If you haven’t heard of it, the challenge involves people dousing themselves with a bucket of freezing water and daring three others to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to the ALS Association (many end up doing both).
Chinese tech titans—following the lead of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg—stepped up to the challenge. To date, they include Victor Koo, CEO of Youku; Lei Jun, founder of Xiaomi; Robin Li, CEO of Baidu; Zhou Hongyi, CEO of Qihoo 360; and Liu Zuohu, CEO of OnePlus.
In fact, almost everyone is getting in on the fad, from Beijing IT workers to public health officials. Even eccentric Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao entered the fray, getting showered with ice while submerged in a recycling bin full of freezing water.
So far, the campaign has raised more than $80 million for the ALS Association. In China, the Beijing-based China-Dolls Centre for Rare Disorders, which deals with ALS, has received over 1.4 million yuan in donations.
But some Chinese patients say that more can be done to help those with ALS, like bringing the disease under the umbrella of social security.
There’s no doubt that the ice bucket challenge has brought unprecedented awareness to ALS, but hopefully it will also change Chinese attitudes toward charitable giving and spur people into doing more than dumping ice on themselves.