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Social goodwill takes a beating from fraud

China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-13 07:59

A girl looks at dragon toys at a shopping mall in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, Jan 21, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

The Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a notification on Tuesday, confirming that a person surnamed Ke, attached with the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, had privately raised funds from parents of sick children in the name of the foundation. In the process he had defrauded unsuspecting donors of nearly 10 million yuan ($1.37 million). Ke was taken into custody for suspected fraud in September 2023.

The foundation had earlier claimed that Ke was merely a "short-term volunteer", but the notification confirmed he was involved in its projects. Furthermore, the foundation's deputy secretary-general and project leader, a man surnamed Wang, has been handed over to judicial authorities for suspected job-related crimes.

Clearly, Ke could not have acted alone in defrauding people of 10 million yuan in donated funds; the foundation he worked for cannot wash its hands of responsibility. Earlier media reports have quoted foundation officials as saying they cooperated with local social organizations to establish relief stations, with the local partner organizations running and managing the relief stations in the name of the foundation.

This incident serves as a warning of the risks inherent in this "chain store" model. It has also laid bare the loopholes in the charity sector.

In its notification, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said it will urge and guide the foundation to conduct thorough rectification and urge the foundation to operate in accordance with the law and its charter. Hopefully, this can serve as the beginning of a "rebirth" for the foundation and can also be an opportunity to improve the standardization of public welfare and charity.

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