Another charity under public scrutiny
Updated: 2011-08-19 07:41
By Tan Zongyang (China Daily)
Chairwoman's age and relations raise questions about nepotism
BEIJING - Chinese netizens have begun to raise doubts about the financing and management of the China-Africa Project Hope, which aims to establish 1,000 primary schools in Africa in 10 years.
The project attracted much online debate after Lu Xingyu, the project's executive chairwoman and secretary-general, was found to be the daughter of Lu Junqing, chairman of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association.
Netizens have questioned the qualifications and experience of Lu Xingyu, the 24-year-old daughter of Lu Junqing, a prominent philanthropist, who is chairman of the board of the Tianjiurushang Investment Group.
Lu Xingyu is executive chairwoman and secretary-general of the China-Africa Project Hope. [Photo/CFP]
"It's hard to avoid suspicions of nepotism about the program's management team," said Lin Guangyao, a 23-year-old postgraduate student at Fudan University.
"She is a young graduate and was appointed to that position not on her merits but because she is a child of a super-rich businessman."
Responding to the criticism, Lu wrote on her micro blog that she has already proved she is capable of doing the job and added that she is in charge of many of the charity's affairs, such as raising money and maintaining external relations.
"The Chinese entrepreneurs who are following in the government's footsteps to help those children go back to school should be applauded," Lu wrote in a post on Wednesday.
The project, which was started by the China Youth Development Foundation and the World Eminence Chinese Business Association, has said it hopes to raise 1.5 billion yuan ($235 million) to support schooling in African countries.
According to a notice released by the foundation on Wednesday, the project has so far received about 31 million yuan in donations and that money has already been allocated to help build 20 primary schools in five African countries, including Tanzania and Kenya. The money all came from Chinese entrepreneurs who are members of the World Eminence Chinese Business Association.
Concerns have also arisen over the fact that the World Eminence Chinese Business Association is a Hong Kong-registered limited company rather than a non-profit organization and that the foundation is taking 10 percent of any money the project raises as a management fee.
In response, Tu Meng, secretary-general of the foundation, told Beijing News on Wednesday that the 10 percent deduction does not violate current laws and regulations.
"The expense of managing overseas projects is actually very high. The project is just starting up and the management fee will be inadequate," he was quoted as saying.
Jin Huiyu contributed to this story.
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