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Project Hopeless

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没希望工程 (Méi Xīwàng Gōngchéng): Project Hopeless

This is the title of an article written by China’s preeminent blogger, Han Han. The article discusses a Chinese charity called “Project Hope” (希望工程), affiliated with the China Youth Development Foundation, a subsidiary of the Communist Youth League. Project Hope was organized to provide financial assistance to poor students; however, in 2002 there were allegations that Project Hope was misusing funds. When China’s leading investigative newspaper at the time, the Southern Weekend, prepared a story about the alleged corruption, the paper had to pull the story, even though copies had already been printed.

Han Han discusses how charities in China are de-incentivized to properly manage their finances because, through their government connections, they are able to stifle criticism. He also criticizes the small amount China spends on education and health care compared to Hong Kong and the United States.

Project Hope was once again in the news in August 2011 when it was revealed that 1.5 billion yuan were being managed by twenty-four year-old Lu Xingyu, whose only qualification seemed to be that she was born to a rich and well-connected family.

For more on the government crackdown on reporting of “Project Hope,” see the New York Times2002 report.