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Red Cross says criticism due to misunderstanding

By He Dan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-05-15 14:37

Members from the Red Cross' social supervision committee said on Tuesday that the online criticism claiming it has functioned as PR tool instead of supervising the society is due to misunderstanding.

Wang Yong, spokesman of the Red Cross Society of China's independent social supervision committee, said he is one out of the 16 members of the committee who volunteer to supervise the society's work rather than a "controller" of the committee who represent the interest of the society, as online critics have described.

He said the committee's chapter stipulates that its meetings will only count as valid with the presence of more than two-thirds of its members, and decisions should be made with the approval of more than half of meeting attendees.

Online critic Zhou Xiaoyun wrote on Tianya, one of China's biggest bulletin board sites, on Monday, questioning the independence of the social supervision committee.

Zhou argued that the charter of the committee articulated the Red Cross should "provide necessary funding, working place and facilities".

Deng Guosheng, director of NGO Research Center at Tsinghua University and a member of the committee, admitted that most of the committee's meeting expenses and its secretary office are provided by the Red Cross.

"But all members are not paid for working for the committee, and our members are influential people in the society, so we are relatively independent," he said.

However, he said the committee's supervision work is far from perfect since its launch in December.

"There is no legal basis to decide the committee's rights and power, which create barriers for the committee to fulfill its supervision purpose," he added.

Committee members will meet on June 9 to discuss how to improve its work, he said.

According to a notice posted on the website of the Red Cross Society of China in March, the committee should publish an audit report on the society's donation spending, projects and financial affairs.

The committee is entitled to launch an investigation into any major issues involving the Red Cross and make public the investigation results, it said.

Zhou, the critic, revealed that Wang, who also heads Brand China Industry Union, gave an award to Zhao Baige, deputy head of the Red Cross Society of China, in a ceremony held by his company in April.

Wang said he nominated Zhao as one of the 30 nominees for the award of "top 10 women in brand" because he gained a better understanding of Zhao's work capacity in the committee.

"I am one out of the 20 members on the judging panel. All judges made their decisions independently so I cannot influence their choices. She (Zhao) deserves the awards for her excellence," he said.

Zhou further accused Wang of being involved in a commercial benefit exchange with the society in 2007.

Wang said his union did invite the Red Cross to co-host a seminar in 2007 called "Brand China and Coorporate Social Responsibility", aimed at promoting the idea of philanthropy.

He denied any commercial transactions in the activity apart from some companies' direct donations to the society.

Zhao could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

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