Private charities raising more for China quake victims than state

Chinese volunteers unloaded emergency supplies in Sichuan province, China, where a lethal earthquake hit during the weekend.
Chinese volunteers unloaded emergency supplies in Sichuan province, China, where a lethal earthquake hit during the weekend.

BEIJING — The devastating earthquake that struck southwest China last weekend has drawn a flood of donations from across the country.

But in contrast to the pattern after a major quake in the same region five years ago, those eager to bolster relief efforts are looking to donate to private charity organizations, not to official groups , which have a reputation for corruption.

The Red Cross Society of China, a state-run organization that is the country’s largest charity, has yet to recover from a 2011 scandal that struck a serious blow to China’s nascent notions of philanthropy, especially philanthropy guided by the government.


“Compared to the opaque system that most state-supported charity organizations have, nongovernmental organizations and the newly emerged so-called micro-charities follow a more transparent system,’’ said Deng Guosheng, director of the NGO Research Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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On its microblog, the Red Cross said that as of 5 p.m. Sunday, it had received more than $10 million. One private group, Sina Micro-charities, reported collecting more than $13 million, according to Global Times, a state-run newspaper.

On Monday, relief and rescue efforts continued in the broad area around Ya’an in Sichuan province, the epicenter of an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7 that struck Saturday morning.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs announced Monday that at least 188 people had been killed, while 25 were missing and nearly 12,000 had been injured. The quake had affected 1.72 million people, the ministry said. Rescuers on foot finally reached Baoxing County, the area hardest hit by the quake, on Monday.

The Civil Affairs Ministry also ‘‘asked charity groups to regulate donations intended for Sichuan, calling for transparency and social supervision,’’ according to China Daily, an English-language newspaper.


The report said the ministry had issued a statement that said groups organizing donation drives for quake victims ‘‘should publicize information about their activities and donation incomes in accordance with existing regulations.’’

New York Times