• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Don't let concerns about corruption halt quake aid

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 April, 2013, 3:14am

Hong Kong has a good reputation for charity donations. From the Japan earthquake to the tsunami in Southeast Asia, we have shown exceptional generosity in helping our neighbours. When it comes to disasters on the mainland, our response is even more enthusiastic. Billions of dollars were raised after the Sichuan earthquake five years ago. So when the region was hit again over the weekend, it was only natural that relief aide and donations followed. Today, the government's HK$100 million funding request will be tabled to Legco for approval.

Unfortunately, some activists are trying to block the donation, saying it will only feed corrupt mainland officials. One of the examples cited is an ill-fated secondary school rebuilt with Hong Kong money. The HK$2 million project was torn down after 11 months to make way for luxury flats.

Nothing dampens the spirit of giving more than the fear that the money is being siphoned off. The concerns are understandable given that China's anti-corruption efforts still leave a lot to be desired. But President Xi Jinping has pledged to crack down and improve the situation. It would be wrong to deny victims the relief and aide they need because of fears and perceptions. Reports show that the majority of the HK$10 billion we donated to Sichuan reconstruction went to worthy causes. Instead of rejecting the funding, legislators should push for more stringent safeguards against corruption and misspending.

There is no reason why our generosity should not extend across the border. It is as much humanitarian assistance as moral obligation to help our fellow countrymen in distress. That donations continue to flow through the non-government organisations to the quake-hit region is strong testimony of people's willingness to give. There is no better way to show our love and care for the country and its people. If the government funding request is voted down, it will send the wrong signal that the city is turning its back on those in need.


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This article is now closed to comments

Why demonise the activists? As far as I can see, nobody is saying 'don't send anything'. They are saying - based on bitter experience - send money via charities rather than giving it to the state. Certainly that's what I will be doing. Today.
hard times !
this city and her people are never turning their backs on those who need, including this Old Hong Kong who donated a few hundred dollars after the Minchuan earthquake in 2008.Yet I donated even more to Japan after her tsunami in 2011 since I deeply believed the money I donated to the Japanese government or her local governments (the northeastern counties which were hit by the tsunami) would never be put into corrupted officials' pockets to fatten their purses at the expense of the victims ! We Hongkongese have learnt a bitter lesson after the Minchuan earthquake in 2008 when we altogether donated over HK$ 10 billions ! (of which some were used on the so-called stability maintaining fund to suppress the activists in Sichuan ) !
hard times !
as before and always,this so-called jkhleung is suspected by our frequent contributor (pflim040) of this Comment column to be one member of a team sent from the North to monitor the local media, especially those postings on websites like here ! So , just ignore his words and utterances since they are disgusting,annoying and misleading as well------------no sense at all, i may say !
most of the $100m will go to luxury watches for corrupt officials...
I am happy that questions were raised about the donation to quake victims. Anyone who has worked and lived on the mainland are well aware that corruption is rampant. HK Citizens have the right to be assured their donations are going to victims and not local officals. Better if HK even sent someone up there to assess the needs and place the money where its use can be easily monitored. That school that was built then torn down for luxury apartments is still in everyones mind. Mine too
Fellows, please don't cross the roads as they're not safe!


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