A father who wrote about his 5-year-old daughter's leukemia online to raise money for her treatment has been revealed as the owner of three apartments.
It was further revealed that most of her expenses were covered by insurance.
Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau said yesterday it had established a working group to investigate the controversy.
As of yesterday, Luo Er, 48, had raised more than 2 million yuan (US$291,000), according to the WeChat account where his post was published.
The account belongs to the Shenzhen Xiaotongren Financial Service Co, founded by an old friend of Luo's, Liu Xiafeng.
On his personal account, Luo said he had been working for a magazine in Shenzhen before it closed in January. When his daughter, Luo Yixiao, was diagnosed with the disease in September, his friend wanted to give him a helping hand. Reluctant to receive money from Liu directly, they decided to post Luo's story online via the company's WeChat account with the company paying one yuan for every repost. In this way, Luo could get help while the company won more followers.
Major blow for family
The donation from Xiaotongren was to be between 20,000 yuan and 500,000 yuan, regardless of how many times the article was reposed.
It said that Luo was a middle-aged man who had lost his job, whose father was ill and who had a son still at university. His daughter's illness was a major blow for the family, it said.
But as the post went viral, Luo received donations from WeChat's reward function.
However, it was later revealed that Luo had three apartments under his name, while most of his daughter's medical expenses were covered by social security.
Shenzhen Children's Hospital, where the daughter is being treated, said yesterday that her total expenses to date were more than 200,000 yuan, with some 82 percent covered by social security. The family's contribution would be 36,193.33 yuan it said.
Via their WeChat accounts, both Luo and Liu said they did not expect the articles would attract so much money.
Liu said some would be used to cover medical treatment, while the rest would be used to set up a leukemia foundation in Luo Yixiao's name.
Her father told Beijing Youth Daily he would return money to any donor who felt cheated.