Online Chinese donation platform "Feibeichou" has promised to refund donors after being investigated by civil affairs authorities in Shenzhen, reports People's Daily.
After a preliminary investigation, the civil affairs bureau in Shenzhen announced on December 26 that it would file a legal case against Ai You Foundation, which launched the "Feibeichou" donation platform.
Only organizations approved by the Civil Affairs Ministry can request online donations, according to China's National Charity Law. "Feibeichou" is allegedly to have breached the Charity Law as neither Lingfenbei Tech, which runs the online donation platform, nor parent organization Ai You Foundation have been approval to receive donations, said the civil affairs bureau in Shenzhen.
The donations platform matched netizens with impoverished children who share their birthday. Netizens could then donate 1 yuan through WeChat. In just two days, "Feibeichou" received nearly 3 million yuan (around $460,000 USD) in donations after it was launched on December 22.
Suspicions mounted, however, after netizens found pictures of the same child appearing with different names and personal information.
Lingfenbei Tech explained on December 23 that this was due to the fact that the system was still being tested. It added that the information of those donation recipients was genuine and that all donations go directly to the Ai You Foundation.
The Ai You Foundation has promised to fully cooperate with the civil affairs authorities of Shenzhen and will start refunding donations.
The civil affairs bureau in Shenzhen said that it might take further action against the two relevant organizations based on the results of their final investigation.