Respected foster mom not a cheat: son

By Guo Kai Source:Global Times Published: 2013-2-6 1:33:01

The family of Yuan Lihai, who adopted some 100 abandoned children over the past decades, plans to sue the Chinese magazine People for a report that accused her of using the government subsidy provided to support the orphans to purchase about 20 houses.

Yuan from Lankao, Henan Province was well known for her work with children in need, but became famous nationwide after a house fire claimed the lives of 7 children under her care in early January.

She received a lot of public sympathy until the article in People published by the People's Publishing House said Yuan put the adopted children into groups and paid less attention to children with special needs. The magazine also said Yuan has also collected enough fees from her charitable work to invest in real estate.

"The family has sent a letter through lawyers to the magazine. They have also asked local financial organs to prepare documents showing Yuan's wealth," Guo Haiyang, Yuan's son-in-law, told the Global Times on Tuesday, insisting that Yuan only has three houses registered at the local housing administration bureau, which will issue the official certificates in two days.

Yuan's oldest son Du Peng told the Global Times that his mother only operates a small store in the county, and did help some people sell houses. "These people would buy some commodities for the adopted children after receiving Yuan's help," said Du.

Sun Lisheng, a staffer from the publicity department of Lankao, said details of Yuan's properties cannot be released without Yuan's permission, raising doubts over the source of the People report.

The report claimed that Yuan controlled the adopted children and refused to send them to local orphanages. It also said that Yuan did not spend much of the donated money on the children and left them to live and die in bad conditions, which caused the fire on January 4 that killed 7 orphans.

A female worker of the civil affairs bureau, surnamed Fang, told the Global Times that Yuan's children hold rural hukou (household registration), and the government subsidy is less than 170 yuan ($27) a month per child, which is the standard for children with urban hukou.

"Money is never enough for my mother to raise these children. My sister and brother and I help buy some steamed buns and other things for the adopted children. We could not let them die of hunger," Du said, adding that Yuan could only get at most 70 yuan a month for each child in past years.

The magazine report also said Yuan raised children with good physical and mental health at different places to children who had poor health, with the latter sometimes not seeing Yuan for months.

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