Crowdfunding has become a helpful but controversial charity channel

After killing four people in a car accident on July 8 in Deyang, Sichuan province, motorist Yang Long faced not only lengthy jailtime, but also a hefty compensation claim. His solution? Crowdfunding.

Yang raised 23,935 RMB from 1,215 contributors on the crowdfunding platform Qingsongchou (“easy funds”) before online outrage ensued. Qingsongchou removed Yang’s page and refunded the contributors, but caught serious heat for failing to properly review what critics called an “absurd initiative.”

The incident has shed light on a growing practice among those suddenly saddled with enormous bills in a country with few social safety nets. Beijing-based Qingsongchou is one of the 22 online fundraising platforms approved by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. By 2018, 1.6 million families had used the platform to raise more than 20 billion RMB.

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Phony Philanthropy is a story from our issue, “The Masculinity Issue.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


author Tan Yunfei (谭云飞)

Tan Yunfei is the editorial director of The World of Chinese. She reports on Chinese language, food, traditions, and society. Having grown up in a rural community and mainly lived in the cities since college, she tries to explore and better understand China's evolving rural and urban life with all readers.

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