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Quake volunteer sentenced for fraud

Updated: 2013-11-19 17:36
By Huang Zhiling (

A volunteer who became famous nationwide for his service after the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake has been sentenced to three years with a reprieve of three years for fraud.

Chen Yan, 41, was also fined 10,000 yuan ($1,600) in a recent court ruling in Deyang, Sichuan province.

Chen said he would not appeal to a higher court, according to Chengdu Economic Daily.

In late 2010, a woman asked Chen to find jobs for her daughter and son-in-law. Chen asked her for 120,000 yuan as gift money for people who could help.

Chen spent all of the money, some for his own purposes, but did not find satisfactory jobs for the couple. The woman complained to police who arrested Chen in May.

As Chen’s relatives and friends repaid the sum to the woman, she had forgiven him and the court gave him a lenient punishment, Chengdu Economic Daily reported.

A native of Suining in Sichuan province, Chen rose to fame for his relief efforts followin several devastating disasters.

As well as being one of the first volunteers to arrive in the badly damaged city of Dujiangyan after the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, in February 1996, the former policeman in the Tibet autonomous region went alone to Lijiang in Yunnan province after a 7.0-magnitute quake rocked the ancient town, and was also part of a rescue team that saved stranded flood victims in Gong’an county, Hubei province, in the summer of 1998.

On the night of the quake in Sichuan five years ago, he drove dozens of victims in Dujiangyan to stay with their friends and relatives in Chengdu, while from May 13 he worked with the National Earthquake Disaster Relief Team to clear rubble at Dongqi High School in Hanwang, Sichuan.

During the 80 hours it took to save 29 students from the wreckage, he slept only five hours.

Asked why he had come to the rescue on so many occasions, he replied, “Because I am alive.”

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