For a country that is generally so distrusting of charitable giving, a new string of online giving campaigns shows that many Chinese are at once embracing giving and simultaneously putting themselves at risk of nefarious netizens.
An article in the Global Times reports that everyone from journalists to those hard on their luck have requested money for charitable causes using the Internet. In March, two men independent of one another started online campaigns requesting donations to help impoverished school children pay for their lunches. Liang Shunxin, a marketing director for an online forum, raised US $199,810 (RMB 1.3 million) and Deng Fei, a journalist, raised US $1.24 million (RMB 8.04 million). Both Liang and Deng posted regular updates on their campaigns in an effort to be transparent, and both have since come under the heading of a government charity, which allows them to continue their work legally.
Taking Advantage of Sympathy
Others asking for money have not been as upright. The Global Times cites several pleas for donations that turned out to be less than honorable. In one case, a mother asked for money to treatment her infant daughter’s eye cancer (read here in Chinese, translations here). Shortly thereafter the mother told her online audience that a wealthy man offered to give her US $3,090 (RMB 20,000RMB) if she would walk several blocks on her knees but reneged after she performed the humiliating act. The Global Times reports that the woman “was found to have colluded with an online forum administrator to win public sympathy and receive donations.”