China's banking regulators Wednesday ordered all the banks to open "green channel" for disaster relief donations from home and abroad and scrap the remittance charge.
All lenders should simplify the remittance procedure and make sure every penny of the donations be safely dealt, China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement posted on its website.
The remittance charge differs among the country's banks, ranging from one yuan (about 0.14 U.S. dollars) to 200 yuan, depending on the amount of the remittance.
Netizens questioned the charge as cash donations snowballed from all over the world to regions rocked by a destructive earthquake Monday that killed at least 14,463 in Sichuan Province as of Wednesday.
"How could banks charge for donations remitting to the earthquake victims?" a netizen posted an article on the Internet Tuesday and soon won support among the country's huge number of netizens.
The state-owned "big four" lenders -- the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, as well as China Merchant Bank have scraped the charge.
Donations in both cash and goods to the quake-hit areas had risen to 877 million yuan as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)