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Thursday 26 March 2020

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Chinese arrest charity scandal whistleblower

CHINA has imprisoned a whistle-blowing worker who accused the country's most prominent charitable organisation of losing vast sums in speculative financial dealings.

Yi Xiao, a former account manager with the China Youth Development Foundation, was detained after reports emerged that it had spent £9 million on a range of schemes that never yielded a return.

News of his detention came a day after a former charity accountant, Liu Yang, tearfully recounted how she was forced to flee her Beijing home after receiving threatening phone calls from foundation supporters. Mr Yi had helped Ms Liu gather evidence of extensive mismanagement of charity funds over a decade.

The scandal erupted late last month when Ms Liu gave a Hong Kong newspaper audit documents that detailed a series of questionable investments including the purchase of a luxurious courtyard house in Beijing and a loan to a sugar factory that was never repaid.

The charity's reputation was further damaged when newspapers disclosed that it was using child labour to make fundraising postcards.

A charity spokesman, Tu Meng, said yesterday that Mr Liu had stolen documents but denied that money had disappeared. The allegations, he said, ammounted to a "slanderous attack".

The foundation's flagship programme, Project Hope, has raised almost £100 million in the past decade, mainly from foreign companies and Chinese communities overseas.

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