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[Newsmaker] Shincheonji’s W12b donation rejected


The Shincheonji Church of Jesus said Friday that its donation of 12 billion won ($10.1 million) to aid the country’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak has been rejected.

Shincheonji is a Christian sect that is at the center of the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Korea, with more than half of the country’s over 6,300 confirmed cases being members of its congregation.

Apparently mindful of the widespread criticism that it is not taking full responsibility for the ongoing public health crisis, the group on Thursday it wired 10 billion won to Community Chest of Korea’s branch in Daegu, the city hardest hit by the virus, and another 2 billion to the charity group’s central body in Seoul. The church said the funds would be used to support quarantine and treatment of the infected.

In a press conference on Friday morning, however, Daegu Mayor Kwon Young-jin made clear his objection to the donations.

“What Shincheonji should do is full cooperation with central and local authorities in this battle (against COVID-19), not give money,” he said.

Some of the group’s followers are refusing to be tested for the virus or infection or be admitted at treatment centers after infection diagnosis, he claimed.