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English>>China Society

Red Cross gets orders to reform

By Liu Linlin (Global Times)

08:15, August 01, 2012

The State Council released guidelines on developing the country's Red Cross missions on Tuesday, stressing the importance of reforming the system and creating a transparent information platform.

Pointing out the importance of missions undertaken by the Red Cross in China's social development, the guidelines said the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) should not only reform its own governance to keep the organization operating efficiently and transparently in accordance with regulations, but also create a spokesperson system to respond to public concerns.

The RCSC told the Global Times on Tuesday that it will hold a press conference on Thursday to further explain how it will implement the guidelines.

The guidelines further stated the nature, position, role and responsibility of the RCSC and provided direction on its healthy development, the RCSC wrote on its official Sina Weibo on Tuesday.

Wang Zhenyao, director of the China Philanthropy Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the State Council's document is clearly targeting the numerous scandals surrounding the RCSC since last year.

Guo Meimei, a young woman who claimed to be a manager of an organization related to the RCSC, prompted speculation that she had embezzled money to fund her extravagances after flaunting her lavish lifestyle online last year.

The RCSC's clumsy handling of the scandal has made it a target of public ire with accusations of lavish spending, graft and embezzlement.

"The State Council is sending a signal that it's time to make a change within the RCSC," Wang said.

Transparency is critical in raising public trust toward of RCSC, according to the State Council's guidelines.

"The Red Cross Society at various levels must provide information related to fund raising, financial management, tenders, procurement and distribution of donations. Donors and the public have the right to know," state the guidelines.

"It's natural to have criticisms and doubts over large philanthropy organizations like the RCSC, but it is important to provide a platform where the public can express opinions," Wang said.

The RCSC announced reforms at the end of last year, saying it would establish a top-down system to monitor donations and introduce outside monitors in a bid to be more transparent and open with its information.

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