Aiyou Foundation receives sanction for controversial fundraising campaign

It has been announced that the Aiyou Foundation has received an administrative sanction for a controversial fundraising campaign that went viral last December.

The campaign, called 同一天生日的你 (you with the same birthday), went viral on WeChat Moments on December 23, 2017. It allowed members of the public to choose a child who shared their birthday, and donate one yuan for the child. The beneficiaries of the project were 366 children from a specific impoverished county in Yunnan province.

The project was very successful, raising over 2 million Yuan by the following morning, but it also attracted criticism and accusations of irregularities. Much of the criticism was focused on some very avoidable mistakes in the way that the children’s information was presented. Children’s names an birthdays were mixed up, and one child was shown wearing an expensive watch. Many questioned the way the children had been selected, or the choice to spread their photos over the internet. More seriously, the project broke government regulations because the information was not posted on one of the twelve Internet fundraising platforms appointed by the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

On the 24th of December, Shenzhen’s Civil Affairs Bureau announced that it had set up an investigation team, and would set about investigating the fundraising project. The next day the Bureau met with the person responsible from the Aiyou Foundation, and ordered that the project be suspended. On the 26th, the Bureau announced it was filing an investigation against the Aiyou Foundation.

Last Friday the city’s Civil Affairs Bureau officially announced that the Aiyou Foundation has been found to have broken the Charity Law by not posting the fundraising project’s information on one of the designated fundraising platforms, and by publishing unverified information that was both inaccurate and incomplete. In consequence, the foundation have been given an official warning and they have been ordered to rectify the situation within a set limit of time.

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