Criticism of consulates' charity events draws fire

Updated: 2012-12-12 00:42

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Despite a retired Chinese official's criticism of foreign consulates' charity sales, a large number of netizens have vowed to support more such activities to boost China's charity development.

In an online survey on, a Chinese-language news portal, more than 76 percent of respondents said they support the sales, even though some counterfeit banknotes were found in a recent charity bazaar at which more than 30 consulates in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, participated.

However, He Ken, former deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics, complained on his real-name verified micro blog at that foreign consulates try to disgrace Chinese people holding such charity events.

"They are shameless. China doesn't need the 330,000 yuan ($53,000), not to mention the fact that it was Chinese people's money" to begin with, He wrote.

According to media reports, about 50 fake 100-yuan notes with consecutive serial numbers were discovered by bank clerks when the consulates tried to deposit the approximately 330,000 yuan they raised at the bazaar. The money will be donated to a provincial education project for children with hearing disabilities.

Almost all the booths at the event received fake banknotes.

As of press time, the online survey had more than 60,000 respondents, of which 56 percent said He's remarks are shameless.

Moreover, more than 58 percent of respondents disagreed with He's remarks, saying that kindness should be without borders, and it doesn't matter whether selflessness comes from Chinese or foreign groups.

"I don't know how the official sees a relationship between the fake banknotes and the motives for holding such a charity event. The consulates, I believe, did not know they were counterfeit notes," said a respondent with the online name Yongchengquan, from Liaoning province.

"They are really acting to support China's charity development. Why are you, as a Chinese official, blaming such a kindhearted event?" the netizen said.

Guangdong's provincial Foreign Affairs Office, which was one of the bazaar organizers, was not reached on Tuesday for comment.

In response to He's remarks, the consulate general of the Kingdom of Belgium wrote on its Sina micro blog that it felt no shame for its role in the charity bazaar.

"All the goods they sold at the bazaar were donated by companies from Belgium. We don't feel it is shameless. We came to the event for charity," the consulate wrote.

He expressed no regret for his criticism of foreign consulates, hoping people with real online names talk about the case with him on the Net.

"I hope there will be a civilized online environment. ... I want some people to know that you can go anywhere if you are thinking reasonably. It was those who think unreasonably and know nothing who can hurt you."

An official with the Guangdong Disabled Public Welfare Foundation who declined to be named said on Tuesday that the police are investigating the fake notes.

"There should be some buyers who intended to use the fake notes at the charity event. As one of the organizers, we are cooperating with police," he said.

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