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Red Cross desperate for donations after scandal

2011-08-10 14:37    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Xu Rui

Beijing (CNS) -- The Beijing Red Cross has seen its number of donations sharply decrease since the Guo Meimei scandal this past June. According to its recently released statistics, the 28 social donations in July amounted to 154,404.86 yuan (about $24,011.6).

The number only includes eight individual donations totaling 7,495 yuan, which is much less than previous years. The largest single amount, 120,000 yuan, or about 78% of the total, came from the labor union of the Shougang Group. This was followed by a 13,965 yuan donation from the CPC members of the Beijing Red Cross itself.

On average, the Beijing office's donations nearly reached 130,000 yuan every month this year, a huge gap from the 1,240,000 yuan in 2008, the 2,200,000 yuan in 2009, and the 7,560,000 yuan in 2010.

Beijing is not the only office suffering from decreased donations. The Red Cross's Henan office only received one cash donation of 5,295 yuan in July. The Shenzhen office had thirteen donations but they only amounted to 5,335 yuan, a huge contrast with the 50,846.5 yuan from 35 individuals in May and the 76,134.5 yuan from 28 individuals in June. As shown on the Dongguan Red Cross website, their 12 donations in July amounted to 8,719 yuan, only one-third the sources of those in March, April, and May.

This pathetic downturn is a direct result of the Weibo (a Chinese equivalent to Twitter) postings of a 20-year-old girl named Guo Meimei. Self-claimed, and also verified by the wesite, as the commercial manager of the Red Cross Society of China, Guo posted pictures of her lavish villa, luxury bags, and sports cars on the Internet, stirring up tremendous anger from the public.

Another piece of news about the Red Cross promoting charity programs for insurance sales purposes totally smashed the public's trust.

Economist Lang Xianping claims the Guo Meimei incident was a powerful push for the reform of Chinese charities.

Some media sources have also commented that Guo's "innocent showing-off" actually uncovered the truth about the fake virtues of the Chinese Red Cross.

In an online survey with the question "Will you donate to the Red Cross again?", only 1% of participants voted "yes," 86% said "no," 12% took the detailed donation accounts to be released into consideration but still stayed conservative, and the remaining 1% was unsure about who to donate to if there was an urgent need for public help.