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Auditors Find Charity 'Clean'

Despite media speculation of financial improprieties surrounding the China Youth Development Foundation, China's disciplinary overseers have found the organization to be clean.

The country's disciplinary inspection department released a report on the foundation's financial status over the weekend. It found no financial problems with the organization or its leaders.

The foundation also published an auditing report done by China Scale Accounting Firm on the foundation's income and expenses for 2002. The audit showed donations of 61.6 million yuan (US$7.4 million) in 2002, and outgoing donation of 58.4 million yuan (US$7 million).

By the end of 2002, the foundation had invested 117.7 million yuan (US$14.2 million) into stocks and real estate to legally boost its capital.

Part of the investments, totaling 10.72 million yuan (US$1.29 million), have seen no returns..

The rest have resulted in profits of 1.63 million yuan (US$196,400) in 2002, says the auditing report.

Interest payments from donated funds cover the foundation's operational expenses since it gets no support from the government.

The investments are all made during the time gap between receiving and using the donations, the foundation explained.

Disciplinary inspections also concluded that heads of the foundation were not involved in any corruption.

The inspection was kick-started by Hong Kong-based reports claiming the foundation has misappropriated funds.

Back in 2000, a Hong Kong-based magazine implied that huge sums of donations were missing or abused and had not reached the appointed beneficiaries due to the foundation's negligence, incompetence or dishonest practices.

The foundation filed a suit against the magazine and finally won the long libel case. It was compensated HK$3.5 million.

Then in February 2002, Hong Kong-based Ming Pao Daily News reported that at least 100 million yuan (US$12 million) of funds was said to be invested in stocks, real estate and high-risk enterprises in more than 10 provinces and regions. Some investments were just gone because of low returns and inefficiency, it said.

The foundation insisted that the investment was "legal" as the rule on foundation management issued by the State Council allows foundations to use funds to purchase stocks and bonds.

Disciplinary inspection departments carried out the year-long inspection of the foundation's financial status.

China Youth Development Foundation is a non-profit social organization founded by All-China Youth Federation in 1989.

It now manages funds for Project Hope, Mother River Protection Project and Action Red Ribbon for AIDS prevention.

It is most famous for Project Hope, which was launched in 1989 and aims to help drop-out children in poor families go back school for education.

The latest statistics show Project Hope has helped 2.5 million students back to school and built 9,508 primary schools.

(China Daily January 19, 2004)



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