Break of trust hurts charity

Updated: 2011-12-15 09:01

(China Daily)

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Many kindhearted people were moved when they heard that a 4-year-old girl named Xiaoyue was forced to take care of her parents because they were paralyzed and offered to donate money to help her. But they will be disillusioned to hear that though Xiaoyue's family is indeed poor, her father is physically fit and the family has been receiving aid from the local government on time. Such stories may hurt people's trust, says an article in Qilu Evening News. Excerpts:

When subjective elements such as undue hardship of a child or exaggeration of poverty are added to the call of help, it naturally makes people feel sorry and offer help. That's why the news of a 4-year girl being forced to take care of her paralyzed parents was enough for some people to offer monetary help and/or visit the family.

Fortunately, Xiaoyue's case is not aimed at cheating people of their money. The family would never have got this much attention if relatives have narrated the situation in a matter-of-fact way.

Exaggerated stories of a child's hardship and suffering are likely to weaken people's trust and could force them not to believe even true stories. As a result, good Samaritans would think twice before coming to the aid of the really needy. As they say, once burnt, twice shy.

Exaggeration of facts has not only hurt kindhearted people, but also embarrassed the local government and the good Samaritans who helped the family.

The common element between Xiaoyue and other similar cases is exaggeration in the name of children to get help from people from all walks of society.

The Internet has given even ordinary people a convenient channel to release information. It would be a tragedy if people who are really concerned about the needy become cynical and ignore the pleas of people who really need help.

(China Daily 12/15/2011 page9)