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Red Cross denies 'tolls' for Taiwan rescuers

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-17 16:48

XIAMEN - A senior executive of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has denied rumors that the society demanded heavy fees from workers from Taiwan entering quake-hit Sichuan province.

Zhao Baige, executive vice president of the RCSC, said the organization did not ask for 5 million yuan ($815,500) from Taiwan's Red Cross organization as "tolls" for their entry into the quake-hit Lushan county, as some online rumors have claimed.

"The rumor has damaged the cooperation of Red Cross organizations across the Straits and hurt the feelings of people on both sides," Zhao said in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday.

She said Taiwan's Red Cross organization delivered large amounts of tents, quilts and blankets after the 7.0-magnitude quake shook Lushan county on April 20, leaving at least 196 people dead and many others homeless.

"The timely arrival of relief materials meant a lot to the survivors, and we all felt the deep love from across the Strait," Zhao said.

The island's Red Cross also raised nearly 9 million yuan to be used in the reconstruction of residential buildings, schools and hospitals in the quake zone, Zhao added.

The state-run RCSC has been battling public mistrust since Guo Meimei, a young woman who claimed to work for an organization affiliated to the RCSC, posted photos online flaunting her wealth in mid-2011.

That scandal and others have raised public suspicions about the charity's credibility and its use of public donations.

Zhao said the RCSC will strive to build social credibility that suits "the new era" and place itself under the supervision of the government, the public and the organization itself.

"Society will stress comprehensive public supervision over its operations, including its policy making, projects and activities, as well as setting up a fast-response mechanism to straighten up irregularities," she said.

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