China’s lottery falls short on spending transparencyBy Michael Evans Jul 29, 2012 11:55PM UTC
Over the past several months, local governments across China have disclosed information on the use of funds raised through the state-run lottery.
However, the number of government agencies that have opened their books falls far short of the requirements outlined by Beijing.
In March, China’s Ministry of Finance called upon finance, civil administration, and sports bureaus in each of China’s 34 provinces to make public information on the use of lottery funds, saying that the reports should be released before the end of June.
However the Guangzhou newspaper Information Times reported last week that only 30 provincial-level government bureaus had published lottery data so far.
Among them were 13 sports bureaus, 8 civil administration bureaus, and 9 finance bureaus.
Of the provinces that complied with the finance ministry’s order, many released the relevant data long after Beijing’s deadline had passed.
China’s lottery is divided into two separate organizations, the China Sports Lottery and the China Welfare Lottery.
China’s Sports Lottery is managed at the national level by the country’s State General Administration of Sports, and overseen locally by provincial sports bureaus. Funds raised are typically used to promote public fitness, as well as support training of China’s Olympic athletes.
The China Welfare Lottery falls under the authority of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and uses its proceeds to fund a wide range of humanitarian projects, from nursing homes to disaster relief.
China’s lottery has seen steady growth in recent years. On July 18, the Ministry of Finance reported that lottery sales in the first six months of 2012 had reached 129 billion yuan, a nearly 28 percent increase from the same period in 2011.
However the lottery has come under occasional criticism for its lack of transparency.
Earlier this month, popular Hong Kong economist and TV host Lang Xianping called on viewers to stop buying lottery tickets, likening the Welfare Lottery to China’s Red Cross, another charitable organization which has been heavily criticized for corruption and misuse of funds.