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China’s global humanitarian role in Red Cross is growing

Shan Juan
Updated: Oct 28,2015 7:39 AM     China Daily

A doctor from a Chinese medical team examines the ears of a boy in Dakar, capital of Senegal, Africa, in May.[Photo/Xinhua]

The Red Cross Society of China and its parent international federation are discussing how China can increase its contribution on the world stage.

Tadateru Konoe, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who is on a two-day visit to China, said: “China is a big economic power these days and some say we should rely more on its contribution. It’s a matter to be negotiated.”

Currently the United States, Germany and Japan are the top three donors to the worldwide humanitarian organization, Konoe said.

“China has been increasingly participating in global policymaking and the development of international strategies for humanitarian aid,” Konoe added.

“RCSC has in recent years become more involved in various global and regional working and reference groups on humanitarian issues.”

The president added: “We are looking forward to growing participation by the RCSC in decision-making on how to respond to the needs of vulnerable people. The RCSC is a strong national society which is capable of very significant contributions to global humanitarian action.”

In 2013, Zhao Baige, then executive vice-president of RCSC, was elected as the vice-president of the federation, marking a milestone in China’s deepening participation in the global role of the Red Cross.

Konoe praised the RCSC for its growing role in disaster relief overseas. For example, with support from the government, the RCSC recently sent relief goods and medical teams to assist people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

It also provided medical equipment to assist internally displaced people in Russia and Ukraine, as well as contributions to the IFRC operations supporting flood-affected people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Increased contributions from the RCSC to IFRC operations around the world will make a great difference to those who are suffering as a result of natural disasters or poverty,” he said.

Worldwide, he pointed to the huge influx of refugees to Europe and the rising number of natural disasters as major humanitarian challenges.

Konoe urged that more attention be given to “silent” disasters, which attract no media attention nor public support.

In case of disasters, the federation launches public appeals and “90 percent of them were for the ‘unpopular’ ones”, he conceded.

“We try to be equal for all disaster victims but in reality we can only get support for popular disasters,” he added.

In response, the federation will work more closely with the media, particularly social media, to help channel assistance to the needy who no one hears about, he said.

He encouraged China’s Red Cross to reflect on the most pressing humanitarian challenges at home and abroad.

“The federation will support the RCSC in promoting transparency, social credibility, and the capacity to further strengthen the impact of its international work,” he said.