(Photo/Screenshot of the website of China Charities Aid Foundation for Children)
China Charities Aid Foundation for Children (CCAFC) responded on Wednesday to an online rumor about 10 million yuan in assistance funds being stolen, stating that the individual involved is not a member of their staff and is suspected of fraud. The suspect has been detained by police and is currently under investigation.
Recently, netizens reported that a staff member of the CCAFC named Ke had embezzled nearly 10 million yuan ($1.37 million) that had been donated to the 9958 children's emergency assistance project, before fleeing with the money.
In response, the CCAFC stated that after a preliminary investigation it was found that Ke had briefly volunteered for the project in Langfang, North China's Hebei Province, but was not an official staff member of the foundation. It also stated that they had never authorized Ke to raise funds for the project.
Ke has been detained by the local police and is currently under investigation. The foundation has reported the incident to the public security authorities and is actively cooperating with the investigation.
In the statement, the foundation also clarified that it had not received the funds concerned.
According to media reports on Wednesday, Wang, the father of a seriously ill child, said that he saw a matching gift project in a patient group chat in July, which was initiated by Ke on behalf of the CCAFC. Ke said that members of the group could transfer their funds to him with the promise of higher returns after 20 days.
Wang added that the participants in the so-called project were all families of seriously ill children who needed a large amount for medical expenses. Many parents have no income as they accompany their children for long-term medical treatment, and they hoped to alleviate their financial pressure this way.
Additionally, many parents put in the money by borrowing from relatives, using credit cards or borrowing money online. Wang said that now the parents only hope to get their money back.
In the statement, the foundation called for netizens not to believe or spread false rumors and to patiently wait for the results of the investigation by the public security authorities.
According to its official website, the CCAFC was established on January 12, 2010, and is a national public fundraising foundation. From its establishment until December 31, 2022, it has raised more than 5 billion yuan in funds and assisted over 10 million children in need.
The 9958 children's emergency assistance project was established in 2012 and is a self-branded project of the foundation, serving children in need aged under 18. Its aim is to help fund children's treatment and growth as much as possible.
According to the CCAFC's annual report, in 2022 its annual donation income was 715 million yuan, and the annual income of the 9958 children's emergency assistance project was 227.2 million yuan, the highest among 27 major public welfare charity projects, according to media reports.