HONG KONG – Jet Li said China is ready for an explosion of volunteerism amid its growing prosperity as he put aside his acting duties to discuss charitable efforts Wednesday at former President Bill Clinton's donor conference in Hong Kong.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative Asia conference, the 45-year-old action film star said volunteerism and charity are are now on the rise in China as the country becomes more prosperous after two decades of economic reforms.
"Before the reforms, China's 1.3 billion people couldn't even fill their stomachs. The only way people could help others is a word of encouragement," Li said.
Now Chinese are eager to help others in need, Li said, saying he expects "an explosion of the Chinese people's generosity pent-up over the past 100 years."
Li, who founded the charity One Foundation, a partnership with the Red Cross Society of China, said he was particularly impressed with the number of volunteers that flocked to help victims of the earthquake in China's Sichuan province in May.
"Countless volunteers were on the front lines," he said.
Li's movie credits include "Lethal Weapon 4," "Romeo Must Die," "The Forbidden Kingdom" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."