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Jet Li’s Charity Accused of Embezzlement

05-06 00:00 《财经》杂志 《财经》杂志

  By staff intern reporter Wu Shan and intern Yan Lijiao

  Film star Jet Li’s charity has come under fire after a posting on a celebrity Weibo account questioned the organization’s handling of donations intended to help victims of the 2013 Ya’an Earthquake (aka the Lushan Earthquake).

  On April 22, Weibo user “M4.cn” posted that the Shenzhen One Foundation (One Foundation) received nearly 400 million yuan in donations for the earthquake, but only spent 40 million yuan, or 9 percent. The post also raised the question, “Did Jet Li embezzle 300 million yuan in donations for victims of the Ya’an earthquake?”

  Since then, both One Foundation Secretary-General Yang Peng and Jet Li himself have denied the allegations through informal channels.

  The timing of M4.cn’s accusation coincides with the first anniversary of the Lushan Earthquake. Since April 20, the China Foundation Center (CFC) and One Foundation released annual reports disclosing information on donation amounts and use of donations for the earthquake in Lushan.

  The CFC reported that as of 8:02 a.m. on April 20, 2014, a total of 219 foundations raised funds for the Lushan Earthquake, receiving 1.696 billion yuan in public donations. Expenses reached 645 million yuan, covering 38 percent of the total income. The One Foundation received 380 million yuan in donations, the highest amount of any single charity. Of the funds, so far the One Foundation has spent 47 million yuan.

  The number of foundations in China has jumped from around 1,500 to more than 3,200 after the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008 and other major earthquakes in Yushu and Lushan. Government dominance in China’s charity sector has been replaced by marketized operations, which has greatly improved the transparency of use of charitable funds.

  The One Foundation and the Shanghai Charity Foundation, both local private foundations, together with three national public foundations including the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, China Women's Development Foundation and the China Youth Development Foundation, received the most donations for the Lushan Earthquake. These five foundations are also tied for first on the China Foundation Transparency Index (FTI).

  According to CFC statistics over the past year, out of the 219 organizations that received donations for the Lushan Earthquake, 76 percent of funds went to only 20 percent or 42 "CFC April 20 Relief Operations Self-discipline Alliance" member organizations.

  “This is a process of monopoly power gradually withdrawing from the public service market," said Xu Yongguang, Secretary-General of the Narada Foundation.

  Since the Lushan Earthquake, the government has been trying to organize joint social organization disaster response and post-disaster reconstruction. But implementation of specific projects has been difficult.

  For example, a foundation planned to participate in the redevelopment of a primary school in Tianquan county, Ya’an city. During the negotiations, the school required the scale of reconstruction funds to reach 100 million yuan. But according to the foundation’s estimates, rebuilding a school requires a maximum of 2-3 million yuan in funding. "The school knows there are a lot of donors, so it will not reduce its 'asking price’. The competition is fierce, and the school is confident that in the end a foundation will be willing to meet its price demands," said a source at the above foundation. Some projects have already entered the contract stage in which two parties have signed an agreement, but if a higher bidder emerges, one party is willing to breach the contract and go with the highest bidder.

  One thing is for certain. We need to see the government and society working together to galvanize all parties and use social resources more efficiently.

  Full article in Chinese:http://magazine.caijing.com.cn/2014-05-03/114149454.html

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