2008-06-05 00:20:30 GMT 2008-06-05 08:20:30 (Beijing Time) China Daily
BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The government will help overseas and domestic donors track their donations and know how they are being used to help the quake victims, a senior official said yesterday.
"We'll cooperate with donors (countries, organizations and individuals) who want to keep a close eye on how their donations are being distributed," Wang Zhenyao, director of the Civil Affairs Ministry's disaster relief division, told a press briefing, organized by the State Council Information Office.
"We promise transparency in the use of every donation (that's why) we have made it mandatory to keep records at every step of the distribution chain."
Wang, however, conceded that "there's still room for improvement" in the country's donation management system.
"The existing system cannot cope with the number and amount of donations that have poured in," he said. "Ensuring the proper use of every penny received is a challenge."
Some media reports have referred to the huge amount of donation as a big quake lake above the government's head. "I think that's an appropriate comparison," he said.
But the government has intensified its efforts to upgrade the system and make it foolproof. A series of rules have been formulated to regulate every step in the chain of distribution.
By noon yesterday, domestic and overseas donation in cash and kind had reached 43.68 billion yuan (6.24 billion U.S. dollars), including 4.7 billion yuan from the international community.
Zhang Kening, director of the Commerce Ministry's international department, thanked the international community for its help.
Though tents are still needed urgently, he said the focus of the relief operation will soon shift to rebuilding infrastructure.
China will continue working with foreign countries in disaster prevention and relief, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at the press briefing.
Questions have been raised online on whether the government took more time than needed to grant permission to foreign rescue and relief teams to work in the quake-hit areas because several of them reached Sichuan 72 hours after the disaster.
The government acted "fast and efficiently" on being contacted by the foreign teams, and some of them took a longer time to reach the quake-hit areas because of the severely damaged transport facilities and aftershocks, he said.