China’s First “Soul-Rich List” Celebrates Positive Contributions Over Cash

Prominent Media Figures Like Han Han, Hu Shuli Named Along With Businesspeople Like Li Shufu And Chen Guangbiao

The richest man in China, spiritually, Yuan Longping

The richest man in China, spiritually, Yuan Longping

While Chinese names have become fixtures on Forbes and Hurun Report “rich lists,” a new list coming out of China this week takes a somewhat different approach at measuring wealth. The first-ever “Soul-Rich List” (which can also be translated as “Spiritually Rich List”), published by Beijing’s China Social Sciences Press, measures “wealth of compassion” and selflessness rather than net worth, although — incidentally — list-makers like billionaire Geely boss Li Shufu and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao are super-rich by any standard.

Topping the “Soul-Rich List,” ahead of high-profile figures like author and blogger Han Han and former Caixin (and current Century Weekly) editor Hu Shuli is Yuan Longping, famous in China as the “father of hybrid rice.” The scientific achievements of Yuan, who began experimenting with hybrid rice in the 1960s with the hopes of boosting production in the wake of China’s devastating famine of 1958-1961, have been instrumental in the country’s agricultural modernization, and in addition to helping China become the world’s largest producer of rice, Yuan’s breakthroughs have been exported to dozens of at-risk countries.

From Southern Metropolis Daily (translation by Jing Daily team):

Yesterday morning, China’s first-ever “Soul-Rich List” was announced in Beijing. The “father of hybrid rice” — Yuan Longping — was chosen as “China’s richest soul,” and Chen Guangbiao, Li Shufu, Han Han and Hu Shuli, along with others, were also included in the list.

The first-ever “Soul-Rich List” included four lists in all: The richest list, “hot” list, tribute list and “most missed” list. Altogether out of a list of 65 nominees, 13 were finally chosen for the list.

Yuan Longping was announced as “China’s richest soul,” with the host saying, “He used a seed and changed the world; He has created material wealth that can only be described with [one word] — priceless. And he continues to personally tend to his fields, indifferent to fame, true to himself. He maintains the attitude of an ordinary farmer, exploring the fertile fields of his mind, harvesting the fragrant earth. There lies the ancient code to the progress of the Chinese people.”

The ten individuals who made up the “Hot” list were the “Glass King,” Cao Dewang; “China’s Best,” [philanthropist] Chen Guangbiao; “Car Nut” Li Shufu; famous film star Faye Wong; Fan Wei; Gui Xi’an, the doctor praised by Premier Wen Jiabao; CDPF Chairman Zhang Haidi; post-80s writer Han Han; famous media figure Hu Shuli; and the younger of the “Hubei faithful brothers,” Sun Donglin.

The “Tribute” list was topped by Hong Kong volunteer Huang Furong, who gave his life helping others after April’s devastating Yushu earthquake…Lei Feng, who passed away in 1962, was named as the “Most Missed.”

The list selection was organized by the China Social Sciences Press. Organizers said they intended to go against the Hurun Report’s way of thinking of wealth only in terms of money, and were looking to return spiritual values and the happiness index to the forefront of conceptions of wealth and value.