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China Tightens Management on Quake Donation, Supervision Departments to Watch over

China's State Council, or cabinet, issued a circular Saturday to tighten management on donated quake relief material and fund, asking the audit offices, supervision departments and media to watch over malpractice.

It asked the audit offices and fiscal departments to track how the government departments and non-governmental organizations handled the donation and publicize the results regularly.

The supervision departments would inspect the government's management on donations and severely punish the offenders while the media are encouraged to keep a close eye on any malpractice and report their findings, the circular said.

The police and judicial departments would crack down upon fraud in name of collecting donations for quake relief, it added.

As of Saturday noon, China has received donations worth of about 40.1 billion yuan (US$5.81 billion) from domestic and overseas donors.

How to well manage such a huge sum of money and let it really benefit victims has been commonly talked about by the media and ordinary Chinese citizens.

China's Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate had vowed to crack down upon corruption in quake relief earlier this month.

He Guoqiang, China's top anti-graft official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), also warned on Wednesday of "quick, strict and harsh penalties" on those found withholding or embezzling quake relief funds and supplies.

The cabinet circular listed four principles for donation management. Donation should be made voluntarily rather than compulsorily; organizations should respect donors' will in using the donations; donations should go to the exact needs of quake relief and rehabilitation, especially to hard-hit areas; governments and organizations should follow a legal and standardized way to distribute donations and publicize the results timely.

It defined what organizations were in place to receive donations. The civil affairs departments would receive donations in name of the government and other departments could collect donations from their own staff.

Public offering foundations whose duties include disaster relief, such as Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), could raise donations from the public. Other non-governmental organizations are required to pass over donations they raised to the government or qualified public offering foundations.

Any department and organization should follow the law on donations for public welfare to set up strict management on donated fund and material and write legal invoices for donors, according to the circular.

It also urged local governments to improve efficiency in distributing relief fund and material and avoid misuse and waste.

The civil affairs departments were banned to include operation cost in expenditure of donated fund and it would be covered by the government budget. Public offering foundations were required to minimize their operation expense and report the expenditure to the public, the circular said.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs would be in charge of publicizing nationwide donations management reports. Local governments and public foundations are required to give regular and detailed report on how much they received and how to use them, it said.

Now the ministry makes daily report on the amount of donations received and forwarded to the quake areas. The RCSC also released the detailed list of donated fund and material on its website.

(Xinhua News Agency June 1, 2008)

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- China Issues Statute on Fraud Involving Quake Relief
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