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US$3 million private aid ready for victims
By Wu Chong, Wang Ying & Cao Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-05 01:14

The Red Cross Society of China had received more than 25 million yuan (US$3 million) in donations from across the nation by yesterday.

Residents go to a donation site in Beijing on January 3, 2005. [newsphoto] 
Yesterday alone, the Red Cross collected about 270,000 yuan (US$32,600) in cash and more than 280,000 yuan (US$33,900) via remittance by 5 pm.

Computer giants Lenovo gave US$500,000 yesterday, the largest single sum so far.

The Red Cross opened a 24-hour donation hotline on January 1, and has so far received thousands of calls a day.

"We had more than 1,800 calls by 5 pm today," said telephone operator Yu Liying.

Donors have been flocking to the China Charity Federation, which are also authorized by the Chinese Government to accept money.

Yang Zhi, 74, a retired civil servant, donated 500 yuan (US$60) after a more than two-hour bus ride from his home in northern Beijing.

"I and my wife decided to donate money to help the tsunami victims," Yang said.

"We couldn't find a donation site in our community until I learned on TV yesterday that the federation accepts donations.".

Living on a pension of more than 2,000 yuan (US$241) a month, Yang said he was providing a helping hand to the needy.

The federation has seen an increase in donations since the weekend from people of all walks of life including company employees, students, the disabled, the elderly, and children.

The donors include a five-month-old baby named Zhang Kexin whose mother donated 500 yuan (US$60) on her behalf.

Mum Yao Liwen, from Central China's Hubei Province, said she will keep the donation receipt to show her daughter the meaning of giving to the needy.

The Red Cross yesterday launched a charity donation and picture exhibition, which was held by Modern Media Group and SOHO China Ltd.

Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, both CEOs of SOHO China Ltd, donated 1 million yuan (US$120,000).

In Shanghai, nearly 3 million yuan (US$362,700) was collected by about 5 pm yesterday, with more than 90 per cent of it from individuals.

"People rushed here from different corners of the city," said Xiong Fangjie, executive vice-president of the Shanghai Red Cross Society.

Buddhists make donations at a prayer service in Beijing January 1, 2005. Buddhists from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have donated a total of 9.93 million yuan (US$1.2 million) in the prayer service to the tsunami-hit countries in Southeast Asia. [Xinhua]

The society had received 1.458 million yuan (US$176,300) by 5 pm yesterday, and the Shanghai Charity Foundation had received more than 1.25 million (US$151,100).

"All our donations will be finally sent through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies," said Xiong.

Xiong said they expected more donations from organizations and enterprises that had been on their new year holidays. Ma Zhongqi, from the Shanghai Charity Foundation said: "Many local companies and organizations including the Shanghai Dazhong Taxi Company Ltd and the Jade Buddha Temple have called us today to say they will be making their contributions."

Just one hour after a donation box was placed by the society in the lobby of the municipal administration building at Dagu Road at 10 am yesterday, where half of the city's municipal departments are based, more than 60,000 yuan (US$7,246) was collected.

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