Posts tagged ‘Red Cross Society of China’

25/11/2013

Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark arrives in the Philippines – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China\’s navy hospital ship Peace Ark arrived in typhoon-hit Philippines on Sunday night and is the first foreign vessel of its kind that has reached there, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang confirmed.

Peace Ark, the first 10,000-ton-class hospital ship in the world, with 300 beds and over 100 medical professionals on board, has been put into use in the Philippines, Qin told a daily news briefing on Monday.

Doctors onboard Peace Ark, together with an emergency medical team sent by the Chinese government and an international rescue team dispatched by the Red Cross Society of China have treated hundreds of patients, the spokesman said.

Chinese medical workers will work closely with their Philippine and international counterparts during the rescue process, Qin said.

Qin also announced that the Red Cross Society of China has delivered a new batch of relief supplies worth 5.4 million yuan, including 2,000 tents and drugs, to the Philippine National Red Cross.

Typhoon Haiyan has killed 5,235 people and injured 23,501 others,the Philippine government said. Another 1,613 people remain missing.

via Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark arrives in the Philippines – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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12/05/2013

* China’s Social Media Fuel Citizen Quake Response

NY Times: “Wang Xiaochang sprang into action minutes after a deadly earthquake jolted this lush region of Sichuan Province last month. Logging on to China’s most popular social media sites, he posted requests for people to join him in aiding the survivors. By that evening, he had fielded 480 calls.

地震催毀大量房屋,圖為進入汶川道路一境。A shot taken in the road h...

地震催毀大量房屋,圖為進入汶川道路一境。A shot taken in the road heading to Wenyuan, the epicenter of 2008 Sichuan Earthquake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never mind that the government had declared that the narrow mountain roads to Lushan were open only to authorized rescue vehicles. Two days after the April 20 earthquake, Mr. Wang was hitchhiking with 19 gear-laden strangers to this rubble-strewn town. While the military cleared roads and repaired electrical lines, the volunteers carried food, water and tents to ruined villages and comforted survivors of the temblor, which killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 13,000.

“The government is in charge of the big picture stuff, but we’re doing the work they can’t do,” Mr. Wang, 24, a former soldier, said recently, standing outside the group’s tent, which was cluttered with sleeping bags, work gloves and smartphones.

The rapid grass-roots response to the disaster reveals just how far China’s nascent civil society movement has come since 2008, when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Wenchuan, not far from Lushan, prompted a wave of volunteerism and philanthropy. That quake, which claimed about 90,000 lives, provoked criticism of the government for its ham-handed relief efforts. Outrage mounted in the months that followed over allegations of corruption and reports that the parents of dead children had been detained after protesting what many saw as a cover-up of shoddy school construction. Thousands of students died in school collapses during the quake.

Like the government, which honed its rescue and relief efforts after the Wenchuan earthquake, the volunteers and civil society groups that first appeared in 2008 gained valuable skills for working in disaster zones. Their ability to coordinate — and, in some instances, outsmart a government intent on keeping them away — were enhanced by Sina Weibo, the Twitter-like microblog that did not exist in 2008 but now has more than 500 million users.

“Civil society is much more capable today compared to 2008,” said Ran Yunfei, a prominent democracy activist and blogger, who describes Weibo as a revolutionary tool for social change. “It’s far easier now for volunteers to share information on what kind of help is needed.”

One of those transformed by the Wenchuan earthquake was Li Chengpeng, a sports commentator from Sichuan turned civic activist. When the Lushan earthquake hit, Mr. Li turned to his seven million Weibo followers and quickly organized a team of volunteers. They traveled to the disaster zone on motorcycles, by pedicab and on foot so as not to clog roads, soliciting donations via microblog along the way. What he found was a government-directed relief effort sometimes hampered by bureaucracy and geographic isolation.

Two days after the quake, Mr. Li’s team delivered 498 tents, 1,250 blankets and 100 tarps — all donated — to Wuxing, where government supplies had yet to arrive. The next day, they hiked to four other villages, handing out water, cooking oil and tents.

Although he acknowledges the government’s importance during such disasters, Mr. Li contends that grass-roots activism is just as vital. “You can’t ask an NGO to blow up half a mountain to clear roads and you can’t ask an army platoon to ask a middle-aged woman whether she needs sanitary napkins,” he wrote in a recent post.

The government, however, prefers to rely on state-backed aid groups to deliver supplies and raise money, largely through the Red Cross Society of China. But that organization is still reeling from a corruption scandal in 2011 that severely damaged its reputation and spurred greater support for nongovernmental charities, which are generally thought to be more transparent.

Faced with a groundswell of social activism it feared could turn into government opposition, the Communist Party has sought to turn the Lushan disaster into a rallying cry for political solidarity. “The more difficult the circumstance, the more we should unite under the banner of the party,” the state-run newspaper People’s Daily declared last month, praising the leadership’s response to the earthquake.

Still, the rise in online activism has forced the government to adapt. Recently, People’s Daily announced that three volunteers had been picked to supervise the Red Cross spending in the earthquake zone and to publish their findings on Weibo.”

via China’s Social Media Fuel Citizen Quake Response – NYTimes.com.

06/05/2013

* China’s Red Cross struggling to win back trust

Red Cross Society of China

Red Cross Society of China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Corruption even reaches into major public charity.

Xinhua: “China’s Red Cross Society used to be a major mobilizer of aid and rescue operations in natural disaster sites around the country. But after the April Lushan Earthquake, many people refused to donate through the organization. The charity’s image seems to have been seriously damaged by a series of scandals, and it’s now struggling to win back the trust.

 

For decades, China’s Red Cross volunteers have worked on many frontlines of disaster relief, providing help and hope.

But the major role of the organization is played in the office, and largely behind the scenes… the collection of donations.

When a strong 7.0-magnitude earthquake shattered China’s Lushan, the Red Cross again began asking for donations.

Yet in sharp contrast to the outpouring of aid five years ago after the earthquake in Wenchuan, this time questions have been haunting this government-run charity. The central question: where has our money gone?

In 2011, a young woman named Guo Meimei, who claimed to work for the organization, flaunted her luxury goods on social media. It immediately triggered public outrage, which lasts up to today.

China’s Red Cross’s deputy chief has tried to show that the organization is still a trustworthy one.

“This time about 1.4 billion yuan has been collected for donation for the Lushan Earthquake, and over half was collected by China’s Red Cross. Many of the donors are private-owned companies and individuals.” Zhao Baige, Executive Vice-President of Red Corss Society of China said.

But the online responses to Red Cross’s call of donation shows it is already knee-deep in a credibility crisis.

Most people say they would choose to donate to other charities, or not at all.

“I can’t find any channel I can trust to donate my money. The Red Cross has so many scandals that I don’t believe my money will go to the hand of those in need.” Zhu Na, Beijing resident said.

“I will never ever donate anything to China’s Red Cross. I’d rather go to the disaster zone on my own to donate my money. No matter what the Red Cross does, it won’t fix its image in my heart.” Tian Aijin, Beijing resident said.

Frustration and distrust. Analysts say China’s Red Cross is now in a do or die situation…

“It’s not just the Guo Meimei incident that triggered the fall of China’s Red Cross’s reputation. The problem lies in the system. The Red Cross is currently run by the Chinese government, which means it does not have to answer to outside forces like civil groups. It will take an overhaul of the system to really win back the trust of the people.” Wang Zhenyao, Dean of One Foundation Philanthropy Research Institute said.

China’s Red Cross Society was established in 1904. The organization’s deputy chief Zhao Baige says the efforts over a century have been destroyed in just three days by Guo Meimei’s incident. But the question is: how could the reputation of such a huge organization be destroyed so easily? And what can it do to restore the public faith. These questions may only be answered by real actions for years, or even decades to come.”

via China’s Red Cross struggling to win back trust – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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