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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Project Hope school faces sale

By Deng Jingyin (Global Times)

17:01, April 18, 2012

A village in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province may have no other choice but to sell a Project Hope primary school built with the help of a Japanese benefactor.

Liyeyuan Primary School, the only primary school in the Yushu village in Jincheng township in Harbin, went over budget when it was built in 2002.

The school, which covers an area of 9,300 square meters, currently has 84 students enrolled in six classes.

According to the China Network Television (CNTV), local officials and villagers have confirmed this school is up for sale and there has already been interest from potential buyers.

Peng Bo, the Party chief of Yushu village, explained that the 520,000 yuan ($82,538) in overall construction costs by far surpassed the 250,000 yuan donated for the project.

"We are unable to repay our debt to the construction company. After the school was built, nearly half of the classrooms went unused and the donor has since passed away," he was quoted as saying by CNTV.

Therefore, the village committee decided to sell the school for 500,000 yuan in order to recoup costs and build another school with fewer classrooms.

However, there are some who dispute the reports of a possible sale.

"We never gave permission to sell this school. After communicating with the local government, we have agreed that the school in fact won't be sold," Huang Fu, director of the administrative office at the Jincheng Education Bureau, told the Global Times Tuesday.

An official with the Jincheng township government also confirmed with the Global Times that the sale is a rumor, stressing that the local children depend on the school.

According to related regulations, Project Hope is a Chinese public service project organized by the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) and the Communist Youth League Central Committee. Project Hope schools must be registered as such, but Liyeyuan has not officially done so.

The Heilongjiang branch of CYDF could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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