February 06, 2010

2008 Sichuan Earthquake Donations by Chinese Celebrities Closely Inspected

Update 2/14/2010:

Many actresses questioned in this article were able to show their receipts.

Full account for the amount raised by Zhang at Cannes Film Festival is still missing.

Zhang Ziyi Fundraising for the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake at Cannes

Ifeng Link

In the wake of Zhang Ziyi's earthquake donation scandal, where the mega-star defaulted on a promised amount of 1 million USD (money she obtained through an earthquake fundraising event at Cannes), Chinese Netizens are beginning to take a closer look at the records of other Chinese celebrities.

Suspicious Netizens Ask Questions

After Zhang Ziyi was found out for failing to make the promised donations, Netizens examined other stars' records more closely: "On the China Red Cross website, we found actor/singer Chen Kun (陈坤) had 200,000 yuan under his name, singer Na Ying (那英) only 20,000 yuan, actress Zhou Xun (周迅) 300 yuan, and actress/singer Zhao Wei (赵薇) 20,000 yuan. Did these celebrities contribute through other accounts [that we don't know of]? Otherwise, why do their reported donations differ so much from reality?"

Long before this, there were already media reports questioning celeb donations. "First-rate star L told the newspaper she donated 500,000 yuan, but in actuality only gave 82,503.02 yuan"; "Dongbei megastar did not give a dime, but some reports credited him with 2.22 million yuan."

Trustworthy Celebs

Zhou Xun (周迅) gave 200,000 extra

Since both Chinese Red Cross Foundation (http://www.crcf.org.cn/) and Red Cross Society of China (http://www.redcross.org.cn/) accepted donations for the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the reporter did some research of his own at the two websites.

For example, the 300 yuan that some Netizens found under Zhou Xun's name was only to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. At the website for Red Cross Society of China, Zhou made two independent contributions on May 13 and May 21, 2008, respectively. In other words, the total amount donated was 300,000 yuan, exceeding the figure she told the reporters by 200,000.

Taiwanese singers/actors He Rundong (何润东) and Su Youpeng (苏有朋) each claimed 100,000 yuan, which have been confirmed by lists on Red Cross Society of China website. Mainland actor Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) also donated a respectable amount. On the second day after the earthquake, 150,000 yuan came from Huang's account. Moreover, starting from the 19th, donations under Huang's name continue to arrive; these were obviously fans who followed their idol's call.

Even among the well-meaning fan organizations, exaggerations abound. For instance, "Su Youpeng's Fan Club" laid claim to 6,300 yuan, yet only two entries--100 yuan and 1,303 yuan--have been verified. He Rundong's fans supposedly donated 200,000 yuan, but this amount did not appear on any donation lists. The reporter also searched for Jing Boran (井柏然) and Shang Yujie (尚雯婕), both competitors in popular singing competition shows. Jing Boran only donated 500 yuan, while his fans were nowhere to be found. Shang Wenjie donated 50,000 yuan, but her fans' contribution of 100 yuan lagged far behind the reported 5233.

Problem Celebs

Actress Li Bingbing (“李冰冰”) = 500 yuan?

Many celebrities "padded" their charitable contributions. Li Binging, who allegedly donated 300,000 yuan, was shown to have given 250 yuan to Chinese Red Cross Foundation and another 250 to Red Cross Society of China. Singer Hu Yanbing's (胡彦斌) actual donation of 50 fell far short of the publicized 50,000 yuan. Movie star and singer Zhao Wei only gave 20,000 instead of 100,000 yuan. Heavy weight TV drama celebrity Liu Xiaoqing (刘晓庆) donated 4300 rather than 100,000 yuan.

Why are there so many inconsistencies?

Managers Kept Receipts. Do not Fear Investigation

Even though misunderstandings against Zhou Xun were quickly clarified, her agent Ms. Sun still felt indignation. It was unfair for Netizens to doubt Zhou Xun, she said, for the star always did charitable works with the sincerest desires, and Zhou never willingly publicized her donation record.

Na Yang, Zhao Wei, and Hu Yanbin's publicist all responded quickly. Na Ying's manager told the newspapers that they are currently contacting Red Cross to produce affidavits, while others welcomed public scrutiny, saying they kept the receipts and do not fear questioning.

Puzzled by the "shrunken donation" phenomenon, the reporter interviewed someone who has been in the entertainment industry for a long time: "We did not falsify our donations, because we ask for confirmation and receipts." Said the publicist, who expressed resentment at Netizens who question celebrities' record, "At first we didn't feel the need to announce how much we donated, but since everybody else publicized theirs, we followed suit. Netizens do not understand the important issues here. Any donation made is strictly a matter between the benefactors and the beneficiaries, we are not obligated to tell a third party."

Hu Yanbin's marketing team was especially angry, "I asked my colleague who was in charge of this. In addition to the 50,000 yuan donation required by the company, Hu separately donated 100,000 yuan. And we have receipts to prove it." In response to the Netizen probing, she also felt resentful, "We have the receipts, and we are not afraid of investigation. But forcing celebrities to prove themselves this way is turning our hearts cold."

Fans' Donations Hard to Tally

Regarding the exaggerated donations numbers by fans, the reporters contacted He Rundong's publicist. She explained, "Our fans donated 200,000 yuan. One person from Hong Kong alone donated 100,000 alone. We collaborated with Bei Qing web to encourage fans to donate, but the specific cause under which we asked for donations, the amount that was donated, we really cannot remember. Just because you can't find our record doesn't mean we did not contribute." She gave a further example, "Right after Sichuan earthquake, He Rundong and my co-workers when to the earthquake-afflicted areas to ask for donations. We were on the street carrying a donation box from the Red Cross Society of China and all money received were sent to the Red Cross account."

Celebrity Donations Came in Various Forms

While many made monetary donations after the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, others celebrities chose to give charitable gifts of goods. For example, beside donating 200,000 yuan, actress Fan Bingbing designed a T-shirt. The proceeds from selling the T-shirts were all sent to Sichuan.

Some celebrities did not go with any formal charity organization. Writer Han Han (韩寒), sportscaster Huang Jianxiang (黄健翔), and sports reporter Li Chengpeng (李承鹏) each gave 200,000 yuan to be used for school reconstruction. They were personally involved in site selection and in school design. Construction of the new primary school has now completed, but obviously the 600,000 yuan will not be found on any Red Cross type websites.

FYI--Zhang Ziyi Sichuan Earthquake Fund-raising Scandal Timeline

  1. May 12, 2008, Sichuan province suffered devastating earthquake.
  2. Zhang Ziyi pledged 1 million yuan to the disaster relief effort.
  3. Zhang also held a one-person fundraiser at Cannes Film Festival (there were other fundraisers for the same cause but she chose to hold hers alone). According to numerous reports and interviews at respectable formal websites (Xinhua, Sina and Sohu for examaple), she was able to raise 1 million USD in the name of Sichuan earthquake victims.

    Furthermore, Zhang Ziyi established the "Ziyi Zhang Foundation" in USA, nominally to hold the money raised.

  4. In December 2009 and January 2010, Zhang Ziyi became embroiled in the Black Paint Incident. Tianya, one of the largest Chinese forums, was populated by heated arguments between fans, anti-fans, and Netizens who were critical of Zhang due to the many sleeping-with-married-man accusations.

    To prove Zhang's virtue, her donation records were plastered on Tianya forum by supporters.

  5. Some Netizens began to check Zhang's donation record, and this is what they discovered--

    Out of the 100,000 yuan RMB pledged, Zhang personally donated 840,000 yuan.

    The 1 million USD from Cannes film festival was nowhere to be seen.

    The Ziyi Zhang Foundation is actually defunct
    . In its income statement, there was one sum totaling only $45,471 USD.

  6. Zhang quickly issued a public statement. In it, Zhang claims she is currently working with Care for Children (CFC) on a new project. The project has not begun yet, nor did she specified a starting date. An Ifeng article reported that Zhang's statement about the project could not be verified, and even CFC employees have not heard about it.

    In addition, Zhang implicitly said that 1 million USD was hugely exaggerated, because many people at the Cannes Film Festival wrote rain checks. She did not reveal how much money was actually received.

    Zhang tacitly admitted that money raised at Cannes is still in her own pocket.

  7. Zhang's agent Lucas Ling promised to make their accounting records public on February 3, 2010 to dispel rumors.

  8. Zhang's team failed to make the accounting records public on February 3rd.

  9. Yesterday (February 6), Lucas Ling told the news reporters that Zhang was only able to raise 400,000 USD. At the fundraiser, Zhang's team invited a website (unnamed) to take care of counting and adding up the money that was donated at Cannes, and for some unknown reason, this website overestimated by 600,000 USD.

    Lucas Ling also said that of the 400,000 USD, 350,000 were oral pledges and have yet to be realized.

    Care for Children Foundation also issued a public statement. Zhang will be providing the money to one of its new projects that seeks to find foster families for handicapped children. Though a worthy cause, this project is not directly related to Sichuan earthquake.

  10. On February 9, Sohu, who had exclusive right to follow Zhang Ziyi's Cannes fundraiser, issued a statement in which it strongly denied any involvement in the money counting.


  1. All the evidence found by Chinese Netizens proven Zhang Ziyi comitted Charity Donations
    Frauds in 2008 China Earthquake Disaster.
    Zhang Ziyi is truly a Virus, a social Disease
    for Chinese People, clean up and do disinfection urgently required.

  2. I saw her latest interview. Am totally at a loss for word--how $100 million worth of donations became $1300 is beyond me....

  3. @PH is right it is total shocked how could a $100 million turned out to be only $1300, she is a total fraud, there are no words to explain how I felt at what she had done. The government of China must do something regarding this issue, totally embarrassing for her part.

    Emma Glover
    My Blog: http://www.wrinklecreamsreviews.org

  4. Huang Xiaoming is one of the greatest chinese actors of all time. Absolutely love his acting as the villian in the movie The Sniper 2009. Looking forward to watching more of his movies in future.

  5. That is really nice to hear. thank you for the update and good luck. Squarespace donation


Veggie Discourse - Blogged