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Benz purchase puts orphanage in hot seat

By Ling Yuhuan (Global Times)

08:49, September 06, 2012

A welfare center for children in Hefei, Anhui Province, is under fire after it was accused by a Web user Monday of purchasing a luxury car with public donations.

According to a posting by Sina Weibo user Simaxiaolan, the Hefei Children's Welfare Institute used donations to purchase a Mercedes-Benz at a cost of almost 400,000 yuan ($63,000). The car has been used only a few times by government officials.

Thousands of Web users expressed anger at the posting, which was forwarded almost 3,000 times.

Yin Xueping, president of the center, was quoted by the People's Daily Online Tuesday as saying that the car, priced at 390,000 yuan, was purchased with funds from the government, and is used to escort foreigners coming to the center to adopt children.

"The car has been left unused most of the time," said Yin.

An anonymous official with the Hefei civil affairs bureau told the People's Daily Online Wednesday that the purchase was approved by the city's finance bureau and the standing committee of the city's People's Congress.

"The institute is well-known nationwide," the official said, adding that it is not too much to provide such a welfare institute with a good car.

Officials from the civil affairs bureau and the Publicity Department of the Hefei City Committee of the CPC declined to comment on the issue when reached by the Global Times.

Yin told the Xinhua News Agency Wednesday that they bought the car to send sick children to the hospital, because the increased distance between the hospital and the institute after it was relocated.

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