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Charity sells 1,500 tickets for race day

SHANGHAI Charity Foundation said yesterday that about half the 3,000 tickets for its horsemanship carnival on May 28 had already been sold.

The event, at the Nine Dragons Polo Club in neighboring Zhejiang Province, about an hour's drive from the city, will feature horse racing, polo matches and a horsemanship display, but there will be no gambling.

Twenty racehorses and seven polo teams from six countries are already confirmed for the carnival and are due to arrive at the club soon to begin preparations for the event.

Some local residents had expressed reservations about the cost of the tickets - 1,980 yuan (US$291) or 1,680 yuan - which they felt were too high for ordinary members of the public.

"I'm interested, but I cannot afford the admission," said office worker Jia Sibo.

"I think a charity event should be more down-to-earth."

But Ma Zhongqi, deputy director of the foundation, said admission was not expensive, as it included a buffet, live show, and a free lucky draw.

A horse racing last year in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, aroused controversy because Wuhan had intended to issue a "horse racing lottery" which many suspected to be similar to gambling.

Gambling on horse races has been banned on the Chinese mainland since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

The foundation, which had the idea a couple of years ago, said by combining sports with charity it would be easier to arouse people's interest.

"We want people to know that charity is not pure donation, and people can get fun through it," said Ma.


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