Minitrue: Delete Story on Earthquake Donations

The following instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

No website may carry the story “Of 65.2 Billion Yuan in Wenchuan Earthquake , 80% Went to Government Coffers; Where 50.1 Billion Went Is Unclear.” If you have already republished the article, please remove it immediately. (May 12, 2016) [Chinese]

Caijing last week reported that 76.8% of relief donations, or approximately 65.2 billion yuan (US$9.9 billion) made for the went directly to the government. The report cited data from Tsinghua University, which showed allocation details for only 23.16% of the total money donated, leaving about  50.1 billion yuan (US$7.6 billion) unaccounted for. Searches for the Caijing article yield no results from caijing.com.cn, and re-posted links show that the article has been successfully harmonized; CDT Chinese has stored the full-text of the article.

Lack of transparency regarding the allocation of relief donations in China has long been an issue. In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, an anonymous construction engineer wrote a reflective essay including the note, “In 2003 a northern province received 59 million in disaster relief funds from the central government. The provincial government kept 47 million for itself, sending 11 million to the city.”

In 2011, public trust in charitable donation was substantially shaken after a scandal beginning with Guo Meimei’s claims to be a Red Cross Society of China employee. Public anger prompted investigations into the organization, which revealed the misappropriation of donated funds intended to go to victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. A recently passed charity law, while controversial in its entirety, does attempt to assuage the widespread public distrust that has led to a substantial downfall in charitable giving nationwide.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.