Embattled Red Cross reveals donations

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 August, 2011, 12:00am

The embattled Red Cross Society of China published some donation details on its website yesterday as promised, in an apparent attempt to salvage its tarnished public image.

The move marks the first time that this charity organisation, the mainland's largest, has opened its donation accounts. It announced last month that it would post details online after a scandal in June damaged its credibility.

Flaunting luxury cars and designer handbags, a woman calling herself Guo Meimei had claimed to be the manager of the 'Red Cross Chamber of Commerce' on her microblog.

On a 'donation information release platform' linked to its website, the society says its headquarters had received contributions in cash and kind worth a total of 2.385 billion yuan (HK$2.878 billion) by June 30 for an earthquake in April last year in Yushu, Qinghai, of which 2.379 billion yuan in funds and relief supplies have been distributed. There is 5.83 million yuan left.

The headquarters received 2.081 billion yuan in funds and goods by July 9 last year after the Yushu quake, the society said in a separate five-page report endorsed by the National Audit Office in August last year and released on its website yesterday. Relief aid for the quake used up 15.653 million yuan.

The headquarters' revenue totalled 3.257 billion yuan last year, with 3.012 billion yuan generated from donations, 218.8 million yuan from welfare lottery tickets and the rest from membership fees and property rents, according to an eight-page audit report filed by Beijing Xinghua Auditing.

It spent 2.546 billion yuan last year, mostly in disaster relief for Yushu; the May 2008 quake in Wenchuan, Sichuan; severe drought in the southwest; and areas affected by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009.

The society said the details published on its website reflected only contributions sent to its headquarters, and accounts of donations to its branches and its subsidiary, the China Red Cross Foundation, were not yet ready.

For other major disasters last year, such as the Zhouqu mudslide in Gansu, the Yingjiang earthquake in Yunnan and Japan's tsunami and earthquake - all of which sparked outpourings of generosity by the mainland public - the society said the online pages were 'under construction'.

Individuals who have donated more than 100,000 yuan and enterprises who have given at least half a million yuan can find out via the website the projects their money has helped.

Internet users were largely unimpressed. On the society's Sina Weibo page, one said: 'Whatever you do, I will never donate.' Another said the reports only demonstrated that the organisation had used the money, but provided no clear breakdown of how the funds were spent.