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US probes into dodgy donations to China
By Cao Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-12 05:23

The LDS (Latter-day Saints) Foundation of the United States has agreed to investigate the "questionable" medical donations made to China following a request to do so by the All-China Federation of Charity, according to sources from the national charity organization.

"Most importantly, we want to know why there are problems with the donations," the official from the federation was quoted as saying by the Beijing News.

Three containers of medical equipment reportedly donated to China by the Mormon Church or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City in November were found to have contained stained bedding, used surgical clothes and expired medical equipment.

Local quarantine inspectors discovered the contents after they were sent to charity organizations in Beijing, Hebei and Anhui provinces.

"We are taking these findings very seriously and have asked that the containers be returned to us so we can investigate the matter," Kim Farah, a spokeswoman at the Mormon Church headquarters, was quoted by Associated Press as saying.

The Mormon Church donates items for aid projects around the world through its organization, Latter-day Saint Charities. The LDS Foundation serves as the central co-ordinating agency for all donations to the church or its institutions.

Latter-day Saint Charities has very high standards of quality control, according to Farah.

The church values the partnerships it has developed with governmental and non-governmental agencies in China, Farah said. "We regret any problems caused by the shipment in question and will work hard to resolve this matter quickly."

Poor quality medical donations involving expired equipment, used surgical gloves, bandages and other items were also found in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province.

The 138,000 items worth a total of US$29,000 were reportedly donated by the AGAPE Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian organization in the United States.

"We signed an agreement with AGAPE regarding the donations in April, and they were delivered on November 4," an official with the Wuhan Federation of Charity told China Daily.

According to the ninth clause of the agreement, the donations must accord with the nation's quarantine laws, said the official. "We had to reject the donations."

(China Daily 12/12/2005 page2)

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