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Former President Bill Clinton kicked off his first Clinton Global Initiative conference abroad in Hong Kong on Tuesday to focus on education, energy and climate change and public health issues in Asia.

Speaking at the event, action star Jet Li said that China is ready for an “explosion” of volunteer work as the country becomes more prosperous after two decades of capitalist-style economic reforms.

“Before the reforms, China’s 1.3 billion people couldn’t even fill their stomachs,” said Li. “The only way people could help others is a word of encouragement.”

Jet Li is well known for his charity work in China. He set up the One Foundation to help victims of natural disasters – a cause that became extremely important following the Sichuan earthquake in May. Along with Jackie Chan, the star made huge donations to victims of the earthquake, and recently joined Donatella Versace on a visit to schools affected by the disaster.

“Countless volunteers were on the front lines,” he said

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