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Writer doubted on charity claim

SICHUAN Province charity authorities say they have no records to support a Shanghai best-selling author who claimed he donated 200,000 yuan (US$29,283) to children in quake-devastated areas, escalating accusations that the celebrity tried to gain publicity through an empty promise.

Neither the Civil Affairs Bureau, the Charity Federation nor the Red Cross of Sichuan Province have received money from Yu Qiuyu, a Shanghai writer and scholar, reported yesterday.

Yu claimed in his blog in May last year that he would give a one-time donation of 200,000 yuan to Sichuan charities, according to the report.

The money Yu pledged would have the biggest sum given by any Chinese writer and scholar to help the victims of the May 12 earthquake.

The money Yu promised was supposed to be used to set up a primary school bearing his name in Sichuan, according to his blog.

Shanghai-based Jiujiu Read Co, where Yu is in an honorary board chairman, was responsible for making the donation, the writer said.

But the company said in a statement yesterday that the money would be used instead to build libraries at three new schools in the disaster-hit area and those facilities will open in September. The statement did not say, however, how much money had been or would be donated, and it pointed out that the writer may sue over any malicious accusations.

Questions about Yu's donation came to light after Xiao Xialin, an editor at the magazine Beijing Literature, published an article in his blog in May accusing Yu of being a hypocrite who wrote empty checks. Xiao demanded that Yu produce a receipt or other evidence to prove his donation. The two also quarreled publicly in the past.

According to, Jiujiu donated only 60,292 yuan last year in the name of the company. The Website said it reached Jiujiu and Yu's secretary, but neither was willing to talk.

Yu, former head of the Shanghai Theater Academy, has published several best-selling books on his travels and personal experiences. But the writer has been under attack by fans in recent years who criticized him for becoming too involved in commercial activities.


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