Should The Chinese Red Cross Continue to Exit?
Once again, the Ya'an-Lushan earthquake has placed the Chinese Red Cross at the forefront of discussions.
The day after the earthquake, various organizations started to make donations.
The charitable organization Foundation One received tens of millions of yuan within one day.
This compares to 30,000 yuan raised by the Chinese Red Cross.
The Chinese Red Cross official website has also received countless “get lost” posts.
Chen Haowu, professor of economics at Peking University, suggests that the Chinese Red Cross must withdraw from the state administrative system.
Chen Haowu commented in a blog.
Chen thinks it is understandable that a state-run charity,
which is attached to power, arrogance, corruption, and lack of compassion, will not be welcome by anyone.
The Chinese Red Cross did try to take this opportunity to improve its image, such as Director Zhao Beigo immediately visiting the quake disaster areas.
However, the Guo Meimei incident has deeply hurt people, and it's image is irreparable.
Chen Haowu believes that the Chinese Red Cross should be modified.
He suggests that it withdraws from the state administrative system and state budget system.
It should become a truly independent NGO organization.
It is understood that the Chinese Red Cross is under the control of the State Council.
The Red Cross in Europe and the U.S.may be tinged with official colors.
However, they are basically independent,
and staff members do not depend on taxpayers.More importantly, their credibility is built on a volunteer-based rescue structure.
They are open, transparent, and operate under supervision with constraints.
Chen Haowu suggests that the new Chinese Red Cross can recruit a number of new people.
These can include prestigious sociologists,
jurists, economists, ethicists, and well-known NGO people from China and abroad.
They can form a “China Red Cross Committee”, which can extensively absorb wisdom from those people.
Qiao Mu, Director of International Communication Research Center of Beijing Foreign Studies University, commented.
Internationally, Red Cross is an NGO, yet, in China, staff members are all government officials.
Qiao Mu: “Now, it does not matter that the money comes from the public. It all ends up in the government's account.
You have no idea whether funding comes from the government, or public donations.
Actually, the Chinese Red Cross is only authorizing fund-raising functions to other charitable organizations.
In the end, probably a small portion of donations will go to charity, but a large portion will go to commercial use.
That has been the most criticized issue.”
Qiao Mu believes the Chinese Red Cross' poor image is closely linked to the government's lack of credibility.
Qiao Mu: “Now, they mix official with commercial.
Are you a part of the government or an enterprise? It is not transparent.
They can make an excuse, saying that this is a government action, or public policy,
rather than a charitable or welfare issue.
It is also an identity issue, where someone is
both an athlete, and also the referee in a game.
All charitable organizations, large or small, are
inextricably linked to the Chinese Red Cross.
Therefore, a lot of money from
the public falls into its pocket.”
Qiao Mu also points out that the Chinese Red Cross is out of place, compared with its international counterpart.
The Red Cross in other countries is a private non-profit organization, but in China, it is a government agency.
Chen Haowu wrote in his blog that China is now the only country that is not a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
However, others point out that Chen's view is incorrect.
In July 1952, during the 18th International Red Cross Conference, the Chinese Red Cross was confirmed to be a legitimate national Red Cross organization.
It is understood that the International Committee of the Red Cross was
established in February 1863, in Geneva.
It is an international humanitarian organization.
It is an independent, neutral, international agency with the purpose of providing humanitarian protection and assistance to victims of war and armed violence.
Chen Haowu recommends Peng Liyuan, the first lady of China, and Xi Jinping's wife, to lead the Chinese Red Cross.
However, Qiao Mu does not think Peng is the best candidate.
Peng's official background is too obvious. She is not only the first lady, but also part of the military system.