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Reluctance to donate to earthquake fund is not a lack of patriotism, more a fear of corruption
Monday, 29 April, 2013, 4:59am
The devastating earthquake that hit Sichuan less than a fortnight ago might have offered an interesting answer to the ongoing debate over the definition of "love your country, love Hong Kong". For a city renowned for its capitalism, money is perhaps the best measurement of love. Over the past week, Hongkongers' heartstrings have been tugged by the sum of HK$100 million - an amount not many people will earn in their entire lifetime. It is also the sum the government intended to donate to the Sichuan municipal government for emergency relief, and a sum that equates to just 1 per cent of the city's contribution to Sichuan's reconstruction project five years ago. To donate or not to donate, that is the question. Hong Kong people are well known for their generosity to their mainland compatriots. In times of disaster and crisis over the past two decades, not once did they hesitate to loosen their purse strings. The mega donation of HK$10 billion in 2008 marked the height of such generosity. Anyone could easily conclude there are no questions about Hongkongers' patriotism. But five years is enough time for love to fade. According to a University of Hong Kong public opinion programme study, Hongkongers' trust in the central government hit 58 per cent in June 2008, but fell steadily to only 37 per cent two months ago. Hong Kong people are pragmatic. They expect their money will go to a deserving cause. While municipal governments on the mainland are not known for their high standards of transparency or accountability, it is a generally held opinion that part - if not all - of the donation would fall into the hands of corrupt officials. It is no coincidence that more than HK$7 million has been donated to support the striking dock workers, while the proposed HK$100 million donation for Sichuan remained locked by a Legislative Council debate. But the reluctance to donate should not be misread as purely a result of cross-border tension. The sentiment was shared by many mainlanders. "The mainland government does not lack money. All it lacks is system," remarked Bruce Lui Ping-kuen, a veteran mainland-based Hong Kong journalist. His view was shared by mainland weibo (microblog) users. Perhaps the Hong Kong government is as guilty as any other authority. The failure of the Hong Kong government to sense the changing public sentiment exposed the distance between the government and its people. Finally, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's vigorous attempt to close the gap between the city and the mainland backfired due to public mistrust. When the Legislative Council's special finance committee resumes on Friday, the government will probably have secured enough votes for the funding. But it could take longer to rebuild the love than it will an earthquake-hit zone.
This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition on Apr 29, 2013 as We do love our country, but we also love our money
80% of the money given for relief after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake ended up as ‘extra revenue’ for the corrupt local government. First of all. China is such a rich country that she does not actually need our helps. According to a 2009 study by Beijing’s Tsinghua University. we should not make any donation as it is just not useful and helpful. In conclusion. the donation would only benefit the corrupt officers.’ Therefore. . but if anyone of you really want to give a helping hand to the suffered residents in China. such as Oxfam. not the needy. In addition. there is not any urgency for us to donate to Sichuan earthquake. Indeed. Secondly. it is not rational for us to donate when the donation is not really helping the needy. but many people in China also refuse to donate any penny. She has sufficient money and resources to help the victims who suffered from the earthquake. a government officer clearly expressed that ‘China needn’t receive any help from others. refraining any corruption from occurring. As everyone knows. Hence. Not just Hong Kong citizens. I strongly disagree our school to donate any money to any charity. the China Red Cross was revealed to be corrupt as well recently. or any voluntary organizations that will go to the disaster zones directly. the economy of China has developed rapidly and she is the second biggest economy in the world nowadays. I suggest you donate to the local charities with good reputation. one day after the earthquake. Donating to Sichuan earthquake has been a controversial topic these days.5B (27) Ivy To Don’t scrape money from us with the name of charity! I am writing to express my opinions in the donation to Sichuan earthquake.