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Red Cross to improve trust

Wang Xiaodong
Updated: Dec 4,2018 9:15 AM     China Daily

The Red Cross Society of China will intensify efforts to improve public trust in the organization and improve its ability to provide humanitarian services, according to a plan to reform the society.

It will improve its transparency, establish an information disclosure system to aid public supervision, and better protect donors’ and the public’s rights to access information, participate in society activities and supervise them, according to the plan, which was approved by the State Council, China’s Cabinet.

The plan was released to the RCSC and its branches across China, the society said.

The society will adhere to the principle of public service, including emergency rescue and relief, humanitarian assistance, blood donation and organ donation, the plan said. The society will give better play to the role of the internet in facilitating its work, it said.

As part of the society’s reshuffling efforts, it will establish a board to supervise its council and executive committees, it said.

The society said in a statement on Dec 3 that it will release information to the public on its donations and spending, and it will encourage legislative bodies at various levels to intensify inspection of its branches.

“With higher expectations from other countries of the role China plays in international affairs, …RCSC faces new challenges in meeting higher requirements for its ability and vitality,” Liang Huiling, the society’s Party chief, said at a meeting to implement the plan in November.

Intensified reform is needed for the society to explore a highly efficient, transparent and regulated system to improve its capacities, she said.

China has taken a number of measures in recent years to restore public trust in the organization, following an incident that greatly damaged the reputation of the society in 2011, when a woman calling herself Guo Meimei posted photos showing her extravagant lifestyle.

A third-party investigation found the woman, who said she worked for an association affiliated to the RCSC, had no relationship with the society, and she was sentenced to five years in prison for organizing gambling.

However, the incident caused a crisis of public trust in the organization, which resulted in donations to the society dropping by 60 percent in 2011, and an overall decrease of charitable donations from the public.

In May last year, in response to public concern, an amended Red Cross Society of China Law contained new regulations on handling donations from the public and donors’ rights to supervision.

The law also included regulations on punishment, including criminal punishment, for staff of the society found guilty of offenses including embezzlement and handling donations against donors’ wishes, so those responsible can be held accountable.