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Couple Gives $1M to UCLA to Boost Chinese-U.S. Relations


Two Bel-Air residents said they will donate $1 million to the University of California, Los Angeles, to set up the nation’s first endowed academic chair on U.S.-China relations and Chinese American studies.

Walter and Shirley Wang, who own a plastic piping firm, said Friday they want to promote understanding of China in the U.S., particularly in light of recent stories criticizing dangerous toys and other products from China.

They said they wondered why headlines weren’t highlighting that some of problems may have been caused by American design flaws, and not by Chinese manufacturing techniques.

“We’re not saying we want people to be biased for China,” Shirley Wang said. “But in every situation there are different views. We just want more understanding.”

The donation also would fund a media program and establish a Web site, a handbook, and a database of experts about Chinese American issues.

The gift is the latest donation from the Wangs, who in 2000 gave $1.5 million to help finance the PBS series “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.”

Walter Wang, a 42-year-old Taiwan native, and his wife, a 39-year old New York native raised in Taiwan, have also given a $1.5-million donation to establish an endowed chair in pediatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

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