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Red Cross hopes to heal its reputation

By Shan Juan (China Daily)

13:49, May 16, 2012

A team of doctors from the Red Cross Society of Hebei province undertaking an emergency rescue drill. Provided to China Daily

After a year in which it has fought to repair its damaged reputation, the Red Cross Society of China is determined to leave the past behind and move on.

After initiating a series of reforms, the organization will become what the people expect it to be, according to Zhao Baige, executive vice-president.

A team of doctors from the Red Cross Society of Hebei province undertaking an emergency rescue drill. Provided to China Daily

The China Red Cross found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in June when Guo Meimei, who untruthfully claimed to be a Red Cross manager, posted photos online detailing her luxurious lifestyle.

The orange Lamborghini and white Maserati shown in the photos quickly ignited public suspicions of corruption.

"I was shocked that an organization with a history of more than 100 years could almost be wrecked by a 20-something woman in just three days," said Zhao on the sidelines of a Sino-African Red Cross and Red Crescent Forum held in Jiangsu province last week. However, she was adamant that the China Red Cross will survive.

In the opinion of Martin Faller, head of the East Asia Regional Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the criticism, while unwelcome and unwarranted, may have served a purpose. "The Chinese Red Cross can reflect on itself and ask if it is transparent and mature enough. Do we deliver the right message to people?" he said.

"That's mainly what I've been doing since I began working for the Red Cross last year," said the fast-speaking Zhao.

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