By Sharon Kwok.
Consulates in Guangzhou held a charity sale earlier this week to help disabled children in the province, raising 330,000 yuan in total. Yet it was found that someone, taking advantage of the consuls’ unfamiliarity with Chinese currency, bought charity pledges and donated gifts using 5000 yuan of counterfeit money.
The counterfeit money came in newly printed 100 yuan notes with consecutive serial numbers, and was discovered when sent to the Disabled Federation for counting. Eight of the notes were received by the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade alone. A reporter from Yangcheng Evening News claimed to have witnessed the disappointed look of Chile’s chief consul.
The news sparked an online war of words. While most netizens condemn the person bringing in the counterfeit money, He Keng, Vice Chairman of the NPC Financial and Economic Committee, blamed the organisers of the charity sale. He commented on his Weibo that, “It is OK for foreigners to give charity to Chinese people, but they should raise money in their own countries – Raising money in China has to be fake charity.”
“Clearly the purpose of the foreign consulates in doing this is to embarrass China! You think China lacks that $330,000? After all that is Chinese people’s money! In my opinion, shameless are really those who held the so-called charity sale!”
He’s outrageous statements immediately went viral on Weibo and attracted criticisms from countless netizens. Many called him “shameless” and “narrow-minded”.
With regard to He’s allegations, the Belgian Consulate today responded through its official Weibo, saying “there is nothing shameful about holding a charity sale for the sake of helping people in need. It is the counterfeit $5000 that is a shame.”