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Chinese enterprises are competing with donations, and public opinions are highly concentrated. In this event where positive energy thrived up to even overshadow the traumas suffered by disaster-hit victims, the only party who was disappointed might be the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC).|
In the first day of the earthquake, One Foundation, China’s best-known charity organization initiated by the martial arts movie star Jet Li, received donations of more than ten million RMB, while RCSC received donations of only more than 30,000 RMB. Even for these donations of 30,000 RMB, there were people satirizing whether they were like “beggars begging for money, who often put some money in their bowls by themselves to show that someone already donated.”
Anyway, despite the small donations, RCSC can still exert quite large energy in disaster relief activities. Its official capacity made it able to mobilize sanitary and healthcare forces in China, and deploy relief supplies. But the comparison of 30,000 RMB versus ten million RMB could be a big disgrace for Red Cross Society of China (RCSC).
In fact, Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) was dragged down into the mire by a 20-year-old girl overnight.
On June 21, 2011, a Sina microblog user named “Guo Mei Mei Baby” caught attention by medias. Almost all the microblog messages posted by the 20-year-old girl were showing off her wealth. She claimed to “live in a big villa, and drive Maserati”, but according to real name certification, the identity of the young female was unexpectedly to be the “commercial general manager of Red Cross Society of China”.
How could RCSC run commercial activities? And these commercial activities can make a 20-year-old girl without college education wealthy enough to drive Maserati?
RCSC quickly denied their relationship with Miss Guo Mei Mei, they also denied that there was such position like “commercial general manager”. Sina microblog also quickly canceled the identity certification, and apologized for the error in identity certification.
However, truth was exposed after unremitting efforts by medias.
There were indeed no commercial activities by RCSC, but it authorized some commercial organizations to set up similar public welfare organizations on behalf of RCSC to solicit donations. The authorization deeds were very chaotic, and the donations-soliciting activities by those authorized commercial institutions were both not transparent and full of secrets.
Then medias continued to inquire into the matter, such as whether this model was suitable for running public welfare undertakings? Were there risks and vulnerabilities which could generate gray income? Was it possible that someone changed the charity donations into their huge private property?
With in-depth exploration by medias’ efforts, it’s found as expected that there were staff of RCSC running enterprises. With the fermentation of the event, someone disclosed that Guo Mei Mei was the “girlfriend” of a legal representative of the commercial Red Cross Institution.
According to RCSC, if this commercial Red Cross Institution had nothing to do with RCSC, then Guo Mei Mei’s deeds were tantamount to infringement of the name rights of RCSC, but RCSC didn’t pursue Guo Mei Mei’s legal responsibilities – which resulted in big disappointment by Chinese people on RCSC.
Then, there were other unverified scandals exposed on RCSC, for example, there were a kind-hearted man who wanted to donate warm heating pads to disaster-hit victims, but RCSC demanded that he purchase the warm heating pads at prices designated by RCSC, which were much higher than the market prices.
There were varieties of news, some of big influence with true nature, some of small influence not verifiable, which eventually seriously damaged the reputation of RCSC.
According to statistics by China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, by the second quarter of 2012, the accumulated amount of social donations in the whole country was 2.65 billion RMB, substantially reduced when compared to the same period in 2011. In the first half of 2011, the accumulated amount of social donations was 10.5 billion RMB, so there was a decrease of 7.4 billion RMB in 2012, a drop of 73.6%. The public generally believed that this change was because “Ms Guo Mei Mei’s incident” triggered a storm of confidence crisis.