The “Spring Bud Project” is a well-known charity platform in mainland China, with the goal of sponsoring women in poor mountainous areas. However, it has recently been exposed by the media that the “Spring Bud Program” uses photos of poor girls in poor areas for publicity, but in fact, the recipients are boys, and most of them are adult males that are more than 20 years old and fully capable of working, accounting for 47% of the total number of recipients. Unfortunately, this issue of gender inequality on donation platforms appears to be widespread.
In 1989, under the leadership of the All-China Women’s Federation, the China Children’s and Teenagers’ Fund initiated and organized the implementation of the Spring Bud Project. According to its official website, the Spring Bud Project has sponsored more than 3.69 million girls, supported the construction of 1,811 Spring Bud schools, provided vocational education and training to 527,000 girls and prepared and distributed 2.17 million sets of manuals for the care of girls. Many girls have grown up and become successful under this program. As a result, the word “spring bud” carries extra weight in the hearts of many people.
However, in December 2019, the “Spring Bud” program was discovered and questioned by netizens that 453 of the 1,267 high school students sponsored in this batch were boys, triggering widespread discussion and coverage. The Foundation confirmed this and said that the program was funded for reasons such as “local boys from poor families are also in need of help,” and said that the Spring Bud Program will always target girls for funding in its future implementation and that if there is a need for boys to be funded, it will be prominently featured in the fundraising literature.
This response did not quell the doubts, and some netizens believed that it violated the principle of “specific use of funds” for charitable aid, blurred the target group of the charity program and violated the relevant regulations of the Charity Law that the use of funds should not be changed without authorization. In the ensuing controversy, netizens pointed out that it was unreasonable to donate the “Spring Bud Program” special fund, which was intended to help out-of-school girls, to a 19-year-old “boy” in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a photographer.
Is It Fair?
As a country that prizes traditional values, there is still serious gender discrimination in Chinese society in 2023. This phenomenon is more and more serious in rural areas, where the majority of rural families are only willing to let boys go to school. It is for this reason that the general public has chosen to donate to this fund, which was set up especially for girls. However, the money from these donation platforms, which claim to “support girls in poor areas to study and change their destiny,” goes to adult men who also live in poor areas but only wish to own new iPads and cameras. This incident has also caused a large number of netizens to question whether it is fair to donate an equal amount to each of the beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries when resources are already unequally distributed.
– Jiayi Liu