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Chinese charities struggling to restore trust: report

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-01 06:53

BEIJING - After a series of scandals seriously discredited the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), the country's charity circle is facing "unexpected hardships" in rebuilding trust, a report has found.

The Annual Report on China's Philanthropy Development 2013 said the "Guo Meimei incident" in 2011 exposed multiple problems in the RCSC's management, triggering a credit crisis for the country's charity circle, and that its influence still persisted in 2012.

The report, released on Friday by the social policies research center under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, cited that donations received last year by the RCSC showed a 26-percent decrease from the previous year -- nine percentage points greater than the figure for all charity groups in the country.

The RCSC's reputation took a major hit in 2011, when a young woman calling herself Guo Meimei used social media to claim she managed an organization under the charity and openly flaunted her wealth and extravagant lifestyle.

The scandal triggered public concern about embezzlement within the charity.

Earlier this month, the RCSC suffered fresh criticism when it was found to have diverted donations earmarked for specific uses to other projects without notice.Friday's report cited a survey conducted in March last year on 300 donors whose contributions to the RCSC surpassed 100,000 yuan (16,181 US dollars).

According to the report, only 20 percent of all those questioned replied, and among these donors, 98 percent demanded the RCSC provide feedback on the use of their donations while only 19 percent said they had received such info.

The report noted that the remaining 80 percent of donors had most likely not answered the questionnaires due to their reserved opinions about the future development of the RCSC.

According to the report, the RCSC's reform gestures have provided no immediate relief of public concern while media and netizens have continued to voluntarily supervise the group.

"Under such intense public scrutiny, any sign of doubt or misconduct might drag the group deeper into the predicament of 'exposure' or 'questioning,'" said the report. It urged the group to take initiate in reforming its management and strengthen fund supervision.

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