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April 26, 2011

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Lawyer's shock at charity response

A SHANGHAI lawyer's charitable spirit cost him more than he expected after he microblogged about raising money for a family hit by tragedy.

Fu Weigang, 34, who works at the Shanghai Institute of Finance and Law, wrote on his Sina weibo last Friday that he would give 1 yuan (15 US cents) for every time his post was forwarded to the son of Zhang Miao, the young mother stabbed to death by a student last year after he ran into her with his car.

By last night, Fu's microblog, which before had only 600 followers, had been forwarded more than 360,000 times.

"I'll donate the money to the victim's family as I promised, not with a penny missing," Fu told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

His post came after Yao Jiaxin was sentenced to death and ordered to pay compensation of 45,498.50 yuan to Zhang's family.

Fu said he wanted to help the poor rural family because the compensation was too little. "But I did not expect so many people would forward my post," he said.

However, Fu said he would limit his donation to 540,000 yuan, the amount Zhang's family had asked for.

Seeing the number of postings growing rapidly, many people stopped sending it on, some even cancelling their actions to prevent Fu's charitable enterprise spiralling out of control.

Fu said some of his friends and fellow posters would help him raise the cash and if people wanted to lend a hand, they could still forward the post or contact him. Fu has already told Wang Hui, Zhang's husband about the donation effort.

"Wang appreciated our help and thanked all the people caring him and his two-year-old son," Fu said. He said the family's situation was still not good though more and more people were helping them. They had not yet held a funeral.

Inspired by Fu's efforts, Xu Youzhen, the owner of a network firm, said he would donate 2 yuan for each extra follower on his Sina weibo, with an upper limit of 2 million yuan. A businessman from Shenzhen City and a journalist also launched similar activities.

Chen Yunqi, an airline company worker, agreed the compensation was too little and Zhang's family was in great need of help.

But she added: "We need our judicial system to be improved, not redemption and criticism afterward. It's not a permanent solution only relying on individuals' sympathy."

Lisa Zhou, a saleswoman, said the post has been a channel for more people to care for the family. "But whether the lawyer can make good on the promise matters the most."


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