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People's Daily warns charities against profiteering amid charity trust crisis


16:20, November 10, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Some boundaries should be drawn between charity and business activities, and charities should spend their business income on philanthropy, said a commentary carried by the People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China on Thursday.

Engagement in business activities can help charities stand on their own feet, focus on public welfare and enjoy independence in policy-making, according to the commentary.

But charities cannot use business transactions for personal gains, and should make public their donations and business profits, it said.

The commentary comes amid controversy over the Henan-based Soong Ching-Ling Foundation's alleged misuse of charity funds related to a construction project in the central province with an investment of 400 million yuan (about 63 million U.S. dollars).

It also warned charities against abusing their competitive edge in the market and inducing unfair competition, and said that pursuing business development in the name of philanthropy is off-limits.

In addition, charities should also keep off high-risk investment, and priority should be given to safety concerns rather than efficiency and benefits when it comes to the use of charity funds, it said.

The Henan-based Soong Ching-Ling Foundation is now under investigation.

Earlier in September, the foundation also caused public concern when media accused it of loaning large amounts of money to several companies and turning a charitable construction project into a luxury apartment building.

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