Another scandal rocks Red Cross

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am


The father of a four-year-old leukaemia patient is threatening to take a fund-raising organisation affiliated with the scandal-plagued Red Cross Society of China to court for allegedly keeping 50,000 yuan (HK$61,000) of charity-auction funds meant to go towards his daughter's medical bills.

'If the Angel Fund does not give me a reasonable answer today, I will, with the help of NGOs and lawyers, lodge a lawsuit against them,' Zhang Shiliang said yesterday.

Zhang, a migrant worker from Hunan, said a man from Beijing he knew through blogging promised last month that he would try to raise 80,000 yuan at a charity auction held through the Angel Fund, a fund-raising agency set up in 2005 under the Chinese Red Cross Foundation, a subsidiary of the Red Cross society.

The man, Li Yidong, said the money would go to Zhang's daughter, Zhang Ziling.'I don't know why Li did it through the Angel Fund, but he promised to reserve the 80,000 yuan for my daughter,' Zhang Shiliang said.

As the pronunciation of his daughter's name was similar to that of Zhang Zilin, who was crowned Miss World in 2007, Li invited the beauty queen to take part in the charity event. She agreed and brought a teapot from her collection to be sold at the auction on July 2.

Li's company bid 80,000 yuan for the teapot, and the beauty queen handed a ceremonial cheque for that amount to be given to Zhang Shiliang and his daughter. However, Zhang said the Angel Fund then sent him a notice that he was entitled to a one-off charity payment of no more than 30,000 yuan.

'They repeatedly stressed that they would sooner or later pay me the remaining 50,000 yuan, as long as I agreed to sign for and accept the 30,000 yuan,' he said. 'I would by no means be silly enough to take the 30,000 yuan and put pen to paper,' he said. 'This is a trap they set for me, but I will not jump into it.'

Chinese Red Cross Foundation spokeswoman Li Jing said yesterday it had 'mistakenly failed' to cross out the one-off terms on the notice sent to Zhang. She said that as an organisation acting as trustee for the donor, instead of giving the entire 80,000 yuan immediately, as demanded by Zhang, it was responsible for making sure that every cent was used for the girl's treatment.

'We will certainly pay all the bills if he manages to provide us with 80,000 yuan of receipts specifically for the girl's medical expenses,' Li said.

However, Zhang accused the agency of attempting to keep 50,000 yuan because officials with the foundation had called him at least three times and tried to talk him into accepting a 30,000 yuan offer shortly after he received the notice.

The Red Cross Society of China was recently at the centre of a row when Guo Meimei, a 20-year-old woman who falsely claimed to be a senior staff member, posted photos on her Weibo account flaunting her wealth and lavish lifestyle.