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Scandals put a big dent in donations

(China Daily)

09:01, October 19, 2011

BEIJING - One of the largest Chinese charities dedicated to fighting poverty has collected only about half of the money it expected to so far this year.

On Monday, Liu Wenkui, deputy director of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, said the foundation has raised 150 million yuan ($23.5 million) since the beginning of this year, which is only half of the 300 million yuan it hoped to raise in 2011.

Liu blames the disappointing results on the series of scandals that have hit charity organizations in recent months and the effect they have had on public opinion, according to the Beijing Times.

In June, a young woman named Guo Meimei claimed online that she was the general manager of "Red Cross Commerce" - an organization the Red Cross Society of China says does not exist - and posted pictures of herself with a luxury car and bags. The behavior provoked a public debate over whether the charity had misused donations.

In September, media outlets reported that a branch of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Henan province had embezzled charitable donations and lent large amounts of money to real-estate companies for the construction of luxury apartments.

"The scandals are just the direct cause. The primary reason that our fundraising has been hindered is that people's trust has now hit rock bottom," said Huang Zhen, a law professor at Central University of Finance and Economics.

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