Hemophilia Charity’s Generous Donation to Chinese Government Raises Eyebrows

A recent donation from a medical non-governmental organization (NGO) to the Beijing municipal and Chinese central governments has raised eyebrows and prompted online discussion about the legality of a medical charity transferring private donations to the government.

On March 26, the official WeChat account for Hemophilia Home – Rare Disease Support Center (@血友之家罕见病关爱中心, Xuèyǒu zhī jiā hǎnjiàn bìng guān’ài zhōngxīn) announced that the center had decided to donate 100,000 yuan to the Beijing municipal government and one million yuan to the Chinese central government. The donations were to be used for “construction,” vaguely defined. The announcement attracted a fair amount of negative attention online, with some social media users noting the oddity of a charity transferring funds to the government, rather than the other way around, and others questioning the legality of taking donations made to a charity by private citizens and handing them over to the government. Perhaps in response to this backlash, the charity’s announcement was deleted from WeChat the following day. A news report from domestic media outlet iFeng about the donations was also subsequently deleted.

Founded in 2000 and officially registered as a charity in Beijing in 2012, Hemophilia Home carries out educational work, engages in policy advocacy, and provides assistance to people with hemophilia. A speech given on March 16 of this year by Guan Tao, the charity’s director, was fulsome in its praise of the Chinese Communist Party’s “tireless work on behalf of the people.” (The CDT Chinese post about the donation includes a screenshot of the speech, which was originally shared on the charity’s official Weibo page.)

CDT editors have compiled and translated some comments from Chinese social media users expressing dismay about Hemophilia Home’s surprising donation to the government, and speculating about the legality and motivations behind it:

Weibo comments:

我每天倒拔垂杨柳: What government department acted as the intermediary for this donation?

青藤紫纱: For the sake of transparency, could you post the donation receipt?

还是韦恩: After reading the audit report disclosed on Hemophilia Home’s official website, it appears that in 2019, the organization’s income was mainly derived from donations. I don’t know if it is legal to re-donate funds raised from donations. Wouldn’t the donors’ consent be required?

SP是女小白: The charity probably figured hey, [the government’s] got a serious illness, we’d better try to cure it!

无敌幸运小彩虹: Operating in reverse.

碎叫: It feels like the person in charge of this organization might have been drunk.

X/Twitter comments:

simon47983309: Someone reports your charity for operating illegally. Would you prefer to make a donation or pay a fine? Because if you don’t pay up, you might lose your NGO certification.

Lyinglord0: It appears that the government is suffering from a rare disease.

Beisen77: Patients unanimously agree that the government is suffering from an accelerationist, course-reversing, rare disease.

elaine_1_1_2022: Wasn’t that money donated to the charity to help hemophilia patients? What right do they have to divert those funds elsewhere without authorization? [Chinese]

Charitable NGOs in China have benefited from the rise of domestic philanthropy, yet they have also been tarred by periodic controversies that reduced public trust in the charity sector as a whole. The scandal surrounding Guo Meimei, who flaunted her wealth on social media and claimed to work for the Red Cross in China, severely undermined the credibility of that charity for many years afterward. (A 2014 censorship directive urged media outlets to “turn down the heat on Guo Meimei news” and avoid using it as an opportunity to attack the Red Cross, only a day after another directive had ordered websites to highlight the case.) China’s law on charitable organizations, first established in 2016, was amended in 2024 in an effort to promote greater transparency about the costs of fundraising, and also to “elevate the credibility of the charity sector through regulated operations.” China’s foreign NGO law, which went into effect in 2017, stipulated that foreign NGOs “must not endanger China’s national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China’s national interests, [or] societal public interest.” In recent years, numerous civil society and charitable organizations—including groups focused on LGBTQ+ rights, feminism, workers’ rights, and reducing discrimination against those living with HIV or hepatitis—have been pressured into closing or curtailing their activities.


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