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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Red Cross scandal hits quake-struck Yushu funds

(Xinhua)

08:45, April 13, 2012

A major scandal involving the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) last year has hit the charity's branch in quake-hit Yushu, Qinghai Province, which is now pledging transparency in its appeal for funds.

The Yushu branch of the Red Cross reported a "substantial" drop in donations since the "Guo Meimei Scandal" rattled the country's philanthropy sector nearly a year ago, said Kelsang Tashi, head of the branch in Qinghai.

"The sum of donations has been at a standstill since the scandal," he said, adding that most of the 16 million yuan ($2.54 million) in donations were made before June 2011.

Last June, a young woman calling herself Guo Meimei claimed she was a general manager of a group affiliated with the RCSC and posted photos of her lavish lifestyle online, sparking public outrage.

Though the society denied any connection with Guo, the damage had already been done. Various online polls indicated that Chinese showed less willingness to donate through the Red Cross.

"We are trying our best to communicate with the world outside Yushu and invite attention and supervision," Tashi said.

Yushu was hit by a magnitude-7.1 earthquake on April 14, 2010. More than 2,600 people were killed and the entire town of Gyegu near the epicenter was leveled.

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