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Tsunami Donation Drive in Full Gear in China

Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) encouraged Chinese citizens and non-governmental organizations to donate to the tsunami-hit Asian countries Saturday.


After earthquakes and tsunamis devastated southeast Asian countries in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, Chinese people from all walks of life and non-governmental organizations across the country have rushed to offer help, according to an emergency notice released by the MCA on Saturday.


So far, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has transferred US$660,000 to the disaster-stricken regions, and another 20 million yuan (US$24.2 million) will come soon, said Shi Jiefang, director of RCSC Relief and Health Department, on Saturday.


China Charity Federation (CCF) and other grassroots NGOs also started various emergency campaigns to secure donations from the Chinese people, enterprises and institutions, who have voiced a strong wish to help the tsunami-hit regions on the online Bulletin boards and in letters to Chinese media.


In order to make sure the grassroots donations more organized and to reach the needy effectively, a special office has been established Saturday in MCA with vice Minister Jia Zhibang as the director to coordinate grassroots donation works and inform the public of progresses in the regard.


RCSC, CCF and their local operations as well as civil affairs departments at various levels will be responsible for receiving donations. Other donation-collecting organizations should pass on the money they collect to the above designated bodies, said the notice.


The document also stressed the all donations should be made willingly.


Considering situations in the disaster-hit regions, only monetary aid are received and materials will be declined.


According to the notice, RCSC and CCF networks should count donations and report results to the MCA before 3:00 PM on a daily basis and MCA be responsible for informing the public of the overall donation statistics since Jan. 4, said MCA official Zou Ming.



The MCA also vows to tighten control on collection and channeling of grassroots donations according to the Chinese law and regulations as well as invite media and public supervision on relevant works. Illegal collection or misuse of donations will be punished severely, said the notice.


RCSC and CCF also publicized their donation-receiving accounts in both Renminbi and foreign currencies Saturday.


Donors may access the Renminbi accounts set by the two charity organizations with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), numbered 0200001009014413252 (RCSC) and 0200002809014450409 (CCF) respectively. Donations in foreign currencies should be transferred to RCSC's account with CITIC Industrial Bank (No. 7112111482600000209) and CCF's account with Bank of China (No. 00914908241014).


People can also contact RCSC and CCF for donation issues at 86-10-65139999 and 86-10-66083191 respectively.


So far, the All-China Youth Federation and the Chinese Juveniles Development Foundation have donated 1 million yuan (about US$120,482) to young people in disaster-hit areas, while the All-China Federation of Trade Unions have sent over 3 million yuan (US$361,447) to union organizations in tsunami-ravaged countries.


China's electronic manufacturer TCL group donated another 3 million yuan through RCSC while the Huawei Company gave Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Bangladesh each communication equipment worth US$500,000 to support their post-disaster construction.


Buddhists from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan donated a total of 9.93 million yuan (US$1.2 million) at a prayer service Saturday afternoon to the tsunami-hit countries in South and Southeast Asia.


"We gather here on the first day of New Year to pray for no more disasters and to show our commitment to helping the victims getting through the disaster," said Monk Sheng Hui, vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China.


More than one thousand monks and disciples from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan attended the prayer service held at Lingguang Temple on the western skirt of Beijing on the first day of 2005.


Temples from Chinese mainland and Taiwan donated 9.51 million yuan and monks and disciples at the service donated 420,000 yuan in cash on the spot, according to the Buddhist Association.


The donations were entrusted to RCSC to send to the eight tsunami-hit countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.


The Buddhist Association of China sent condolences to the Buddhist organizations in tsunami-hit countries on Dec. 28, 2004 after last Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis that ravaged countries around the Indian Ocean.


Second aid shipment to be sent Sunday


China will carry out its second batch of humanitarian aid to the tsunami-hit countries on Jan. 2, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing presided over a meeting Saturday with officials from other ministries on the assistance work to the countries suffered from last Sunday's earthquake-triggered tsunami.


The meeting said the first batch of spot exchange and relief supplies had already arrived in relevant countries. The additional 500 million yuan (US$60.46 million) in humanitarian aid which Premier Wen Jiabao announced to offer for the earthquake- and tsunami-hit countries will be carried out "orderly according to their requirement."


The Ministry of Commerce will be responsible for allocating relief supplies, while the Ministry of Civil Affairs will deliver in time the donation of Chinese non-governmental organizations and people to the correlated organizations of the disaster countries such as the Red Cross.


A new medical treatment team which is set up by the Ministry of Health and some other experts dispatched by relevant departments have been packed up and ready to set out.


(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2005)


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