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'Most beautiful rural teacher' apologizes for collecting donations illegally

By CAO YIN | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-01-20 20:38

A Chinese online celebrity well-known for her work with children in rural schools apologized to public on Wednesday after a civil affairs department disclosed her illegal collection of donations in the past few years.

The Changsha Civil Affairs Bureau in Central China's Hunan province recently warned Long Jingjing, who was hailed in China as the "most beautiful rural teacher" with an overseas degree, as she collected donations from the public without a charity license.

The bureau also ordered Long, who runs Kind Force, a Changsha-based NGO for aiding rural education, to return the donations worth 11,845 yuan ($1,867) to donors within 60 days.

According to the Charity Law, organizations willing to have public donations should submit an application to civil affairs departments two years after being registered at the administration. After a review, the qualified will be given a license.

Long, who has a master's degree in social work from Columbia University, which she had used to build her profile, said in a video clip she posted on her micro blog on Wednesday night that she would work with the authority to correct the mistake.

Before the scandal, many of her micro blogs were photos involving children in rural areas and information of her educational travel to the regions. As a user with half a million followers on Douyin, a popular Chinese short-video platform, she often shared how she helped children in remote villages.

As of 5 pm Thursday, a trending topic about the woman's apology on Sina Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging service, has gained more than 5.2 million views, with some netizens saying Long's previous pristine image took a hit since the story broke.

"Don't make the aid for rural education as a show. Focus more on students in remote areas if you really want to do something for them," a weibo user commented.

Another said, "Charities must also abide by laws. Don't make the good thing get bad, nor use the rural education as a publicity stunt."

"If you just ride on the wave of your title given by public to do something wrong, you'll not be beautiful in our eyes," a netizen said.

Charity as a move to promote public interests should be regulated and authorized by civil affairs bureau, so that it can be developed in a healthy manner, China Youth Daily reported, adding that Long's case is both a lesson for charity organizations and donors.

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