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Red Cross'cars draw fire

(Global Times)

09:09, August 10, 2011

The Red Cross Society of China denied online rumors that each official had been assigned two luxury cars Tuesday, claiming it strictly follows government rules in allocating cars for its senior officials.

The charity was responding through its official microblog to a series of damning vehicle allegations including that all its officials above vice-minister level are assigned a personal car and that other officials each get an ordinary car.

One Internet posting depicted a line of luxury cars parked outside the Red Cross office in Beijing. Every official above bureau-level was assigned two cars to avoid the odd-even license plate restrictions active in Beijing, the Guangzhou Daily reported. Beijing bans vehicles with even and odd-numbered license plates on alternate days to ease traffic congestion.

Blog Weekly magazine deputy editor-in-chief Wu Chenguang exposed the two-car quota through his personal blog, naming his source as Fang Jinyu, the reporter who broke the Project Hope charity scandal nine yeas ago.

"I didn't investigate this myself," he posted. "No matter whether you believe it or not, I already believe it according to the latest scandals."

He urged the public to pay continuous attention to the issue and requested a response from the Red Cross.
Cars are assigned to officials in accordance with government regulations, a Red Cross official requiring anonymity told the Global Times Tuesday.

"Our secretary-general was assigned a Roewe 750 automatic," he said. "Officials below bureau level wouldn't be assigned cars."

The Red Cross allocated 411,600 yuan ($63,970) for car use in this year's budget, he said.

Famous economist Lang Xianping posed three issues for the charity in his microblog on Monday after coming under fire for his softball interview of Guo Meimei, the catalyst of the entire Red Cross controversy.

First Lang asked why anyone who pays a membership fee can use the Red Cross brand name to embezzle donations. "How much have blood stations earned under the name of the Red Cross?" he said.

Donating blood is free and voluntary on the Chinese mainland, but blood stations charge hospitals and patients.

The amount of blood voluntarily donated reached 3,935 tons last year, sold to hospitals at 220 yuan ($34) every 200 milliliters, Lang wrote.

Lang then asked what happened to the profits the charity had earned from a lucrative real estate business.
Finally he requested all relevant Red Cross leaders resign.

"We are discussing Lang's questions to us, but currently we won't respond to this issue," a staff member working at the charity information department told the Global Times Tuesday.

Zhao Boyuan contributed to this story

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