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Questioned author did donate books to Sichuan

A SHANGHAI-BASED best-selling author has reportedly donated more than he promised to schools in a quake-hit city in Sichuan Province after charity officials said they had no record of his contribution.

Yu Qiuyu, a best-selling writer and scholar, promised to donate 200,000 yuan (US$29,200) to three schools in Dujiangyan City, one of the most heavily damaged areas in last year's May 12 earthquake. He was later criticized for using the opportunity to gain publicity as no records were available to prove he made the donation.

Xiao Rong, deputy education director in Dujiangyan, yesterday told Xinmin Evening News that Yu has donated books to three school libraries expected to be completed by August.

Huang Yuhai, chairman of the Shanghai-based publishing house 99read, said they were in charge of purchasing books for the libraries while Yu, 99read's honorary chairman, covered the expenses.

Yu's money was not given to any government agency or charity organization, but went directly to the purchase of books, Huang said.

Xiao said each school library reportedly had 10,000 books that were donated by Yu, making his contribution much higher than the promised 200,000 yuan.

Earlier media reports said the local civil affairs bureau, the Charity Federation and the Red Cross of Sichuan Province had no record of money received from Yu.

The money Yu pledged would be the biggest sum given by a Chinese writer to help the earthquake victims.

Yu, 63, a former head of the Shanghai Theater Academy, has published several best-selling books but he has come under attack in recent years for becoming too involved in commercial activities.


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