NEW YORK (AP) - A business tycoon who bills himself as China's No. 1 philanthropist tells reporters in New York that he has brought two women to the U.S. to undergo surgery for disfiguring burns they suffered when they set themselves on fire during a 2001 protest in Beijing. Chen Guangbiao introduced the two women to reporters Tuesday at an unorthodox and sometimes tense news conference at a hotel near Central Park.
The women were among a group of people who set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese government's crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners. Since then, though, they have denounced Falun Gong as a cult. Protesters picketed the event, saying the women were propaganda tools of the Chinese government. Guangbiao says he is paying $2 million for reconstructive surgery.