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Buffett-Style Dinner Bids Woo Chinese for Just Society

Wei Qian perked up at work on a Monday in May when she stumbled across an ad for an online auction offering dinner in Beijing with her favorite political-science author.

She decided to dump her long-planned beach holiday in Thailand with her three best friends and use the money to make a bid instead. The 29-year-old bank employee was determined to finally meet her idol, Liu Yu, a Columbia University PhD graduate she calls the Goddess of Democracy.