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China tech

China's elite scramble for path to Xi's 'common prosperity'

Lavish donations inspired more by fear of the state than by altruism

Delivery drivers rest outside a shopping center in Beijing. The treatment of gig workers by Chinese companies has been harshly criticized.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI/BEIJING -- China's tech billionaires have suddenly been going out of their way to spread around their wealth. Giant sums have been lavished on altruistic endeavors in recent weeks. There's little coincidence that this surge follows President Xi Jinping's "common prosperity" campaign.

But behind most of the humanitarian activity is a fear of meddling state and public backlash, while there are growing concerns that this effort will sap the vitality out of the country's vibrant private sector.

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