ShandongProvince on China's east coast has proposed a
"Charity Day" on May 18, traditionally a red-letter day in China
because it's pronounced in Chinese very much like "I'll make a
The Shandong provincial government, however, has
decided to take the opportunity to urge the richer people to help
the needy, saying May 18 should read as "wo yao bang", meaning "I
will help" in Chinese.
The date is actually pronounced in Chinese as "wu yao
ba", which sounds very much like "wo yao fa", or "I will make a
fortune". The date has therefore been an auspicious time to get
married or launch a new company.
In the run-up to the first ever Charity Day
celebrations in China, charity organizations in Shandong Province,
birth place of the two most prestigious ancient Chinese
philosophers Confucius and Mencius, launched a massive one-yuan
donation program in April to involve more people in charity
Organizers of the event hope to carry forward the
centuries-old value for benevolence, preached by the two
philosophers whose thinking is the essence of the Chinese culture
By donating just one yuan (US$0.13), the donors can
get a dainty knot made of red ribbon to symbolize love and
A leukemia patient in the city of Yantai also
participated in the program.
Luan Lijun, 20, was diagnosed of the fatal disease in
2003 but her family could not afford her treatment. She received
100,000 yuan (US$12,820) of donation from local charity
organizations and individuals.
Knowing that she still needs to wait for the matching
stem cells for an operation, Luan passed on the donation, plus her
own one yuan, to Gong Yufeng, a leukemia patient in the central Hubei Province whose operation has been
scheduled but badly needs the cash.
In Qingdao, a non-governmental charity body known as
"tiny dust" has been donating cash to the needy people since the
SARS epidemic attack in the spring of 2003. No one knows for sure
how many members the organization has or who they are, but whenever
someone is in need, a number of donors will send cash by mail or in
person, leaving their names as "tiny dust".
"Tiny dust" was elected one of the 10 most inspiring
people in China in 2006.
Charity organizations in Shandong Province has
received 1.3 billion yuan of cash donations in the past decade and
helped more than 2 million people.
"China is at an important stage to boost its charity
undertakings as more people become rich," said Prof. Zheng
Gongcheng of the Chinese Renmin University in Beijing. "Charity
work is also important in narrowing the gap between the rich and
Chinese charity funds received only 5 billion yuan of
cash donations in 2004, about 0.05 percent of that year's GDP, said
The proportion was 2.17 percent in the United States,
0.88 percent in Britain and 0.77 percent in Canada, he
(Xinhua News Agency May 18, 2007)