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24-Hour Charity Drive Aids Needy

Four private companies paid 160,000 yuan (US$19,850) in total yesterday for four racehorses that were auctioned off by the Shanghai Charity Foundation. 



The companies will have the right to name the horses, which will take part in a charity race in April -- the first horse race in the city since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.


The race will be held at the Shanghai Junma Horse Riding Center in Jinshan District.


Before arriving in Shanghai a year ago, all four of the horses were prize winners at the Tian Shan Horse Racing Competition in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to the foundation.


The auction was part of the foundation's 24-hour campaign to raise money for needy and underprivileged people in town.


Early in the morning, a ceremony took place in Xintiandi to unveil a so-called "charity bridge." Starting this year major charity donations from local corporations and individuals would be honored with a copper plaque on the bridge.


More than 10,000 volunteers spent yesterday collecting donations along major streets around the city. The money they collected was sent to 22 collection stations around the city, for counting. The foundation will announce the total amount of money raised today.


Also, free surgeries were offered during the day to needy patients in several local hospitals.


Among the beneficiaries was Lu Yongmin, a 52-year-old from Zhejiang Province, who received a kidney transplant at Zhongshan Hospital.


Lu's son, a 19-year-old studying at a university in Hangzhou, has taken good care of his mother since his father abandoned the family years ago. With the help of the university, he rented a room in a teacher's dormitory so that he could continue to take care of his mother.


The 24-hour campaign wrapped up with a charity TV show last night.


"Such 24-hour charity events will be held annually," said Ma Zhongqi, vice general secretary of the Shanghai Charity Foundation.


(Shanghai Daily January 23, 2006)

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