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Doubts linger over Red Cross watchdog

By Yang Jingjie (Global Times)

13:28, June 15, 2013

A supervisory board for the scandal-ridden Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) Friday announced a code of conduct for its members in a bid to clear doubts over its independence, but was again challenged by its opponents over its relationship with the charity.

Huang Weimin, secretary-general of the RCSC social supervision committee, told a press conference in Beijing on Friday that the code of conduct adopted at a June 9 meeting stipulates that no member of the committee shall provide for-profit services to the RCSC during their membership term or within a one-year period after leaving the post.

The committee, which was established at the end of 2012, now has 15 members, who are professionals from fields including law, rescue work and the universities. Zheng Jingchen, who is president of the Armed Police General Hospital, earlier quit the committee, citing career reasons.

Despite the public's initial high hopes toward the panel, it has been revealed that several members have close contacts with the RCSC, raising doubts over its fairness.

Zhou Xiaoyun, a whistle-blower who has revealed a number of scandals, told the Global Times Friday that eight out of the 15 supervisors have a direct relationship of interests with the RCSC, which couldn't be immediately verified.

According to Zhou, Zheng quit the committee due to pressure, because his hospital is a business partner with the RCSC on a property project. Zheng couldn't be reached for comment as of press time.

Huang admitted that some members used to be involved in research projects contracted by the RCSC and others had consulted for the charity.

"But when they joined the committee, most of the research or consultation concerned had already been concluded, and their work as supervisors is totally voluntary and free," Huang said.

Yuan Yue, a member of the committee and board chairman of Horizon Research Consultancy, was revealed by Zhou to have provided project assessments to the RCSC.

Addressing the press conference, Yuan said he had refunded the initial payments to the charity.

However, Zhou argued that this is not enough to restore the public's trust, given the committee is a subsidiary of the RCSC instead of an independent third party, with its venue, costs and personnel provided by the charity.

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