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China promises transparency in quake donation fund use
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China's disaster relief authorities have promised to allow in public supervision as to how donation funds collected across the country would be used.

"Relevant government departments will shine light on the spending of public donations, and will submit themselves to audit department at the end of disaster relief work, lest misappropriations occur," Wang Zhenyao, director of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in an interview with state media CCTV on Wednesday here.

"I think it is very thoughtful of the government to allow in public supervision in the process of donation. It would encourage more people to donate more money for those really needy in the quake-hit areas in Sichuan," Cui Qi, a student from Nanjing University in Jiangsu province said, adding that he himself had donated 200 yuan (about 28.6 US dollars) Wednesday afternoon.

As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, donations in both cash and goods to the quake-hit areas had risen to 877 million yuan (125 million US dollars), according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has received public donations of 311 million yuan and the China Charity Federation has received about 120 million yuan.

Chinese President Hu Jintao, former President Jiang Zemin, top legislator Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao, and other top leaders including Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang also made donations.

Various departments under the Central Government and the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee all donated for the quake relief work.

Local governments have donated 380 million yuan to the affected areas including provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu.

The All-China Women's Federation has raised a total of 11.7 million yuan.

The State Ethnic Affairs Commission has raised 2.27 million yuan in cash and 10 million yuan worth of relief supplies on its Wednesday's donation activity.

The State Forestry Administration has allocated 2 million relief fund for Sichuan including 1 million yuan reserved for the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center. Staff of the ministry has also donated 1.67 million yuan.

By 4 p.m Wednesday, overseas Chinese have donated 92 million yuan of relief supplies both in cash and goods, said the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council.

Large and medium-sized Chinese companies and social institutions had contributed 62.13 million yuan, the ministry said.

According to the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, 16 state-owned companies had donated a total of 113 million yuan (16 million US dollars) to help quake victims.

Eight of the companies donated 10 million yuan or more each, including China Merchants (Holdings) Co., Ltd., China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (SINOPEC), China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., China National Petroleum Corporation and China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company.

China FAW Group Corporation, Japanese carmaker Toyota and their joint venture donated a total of 10 million yuan and 10 vehicles.

Many other automakers had donated money or vehicles, including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, Geely Group Co., Ltd., Chery Automobile and BYD Co. Ltd.

In total, Chinese mainland auto manufacturers had offered financial and material support exceeding 50 million yuan (7.2 million dollars).

Chinese lenders had also offered financial support for disaster relief.

The state-owned "big four" lenders -- the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China -- had donated in total 57 million yuan (8.1 million US dollars) as of Tuesday. Donations from their staff were still increasing.

The Import and Export Bank of China, the Bank of Communications, China Merchants Bank and China Development Bank also made donations.

Many foreign-funded enterprises had also offered financial support, such as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Ltd., HSBC, APP and Carrefour, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao businesses with investments on the mainland had donated money, food or materials.

Formosa Plastics Corp. donated 100 million yuan (14.3 million dollars) while Foxconn Technology Group contributed 60 million yuan (8.6 million dollars).

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake centered on Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, occurred on Monday afternoon and affected many parts of the country.

The death toll from the powerful earthquake was 14,866 as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)

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