Drainage of donation

Updated: 2011-08-20 07:53

(China Daily)

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It is open to question whether Red Cross Society of China will survive the current waves of suspicion and continue playing the role of one of the principal charity organizations. It is also not certain whether China Charity Federation is innocent and the allegations of mishandling corporate donations against it are, as it has claimed, groundless.

People cannot say either whether China Youth Development Foundation will escape a major damage to its image because of its murky affairs with a mysterious business entity that has been accused of serious dishonesty, if not outright fraud, in the name of philanthropy.

And we tend to believe that such scandals, embarrassing as they are, will do a great service to public welfare and Chinese charity at large, as well as to government authorities associated with philanthropic institutions.

Approached properly, this could well turn out to be a well-timed opportunity not just for the innocent to prove their innocence, but also for charities to win back public confidence and government offices to rethink and, in an even better scenario, redefine their relationship with such establishments.

Given their less-than-satisfactory records, the charity organizations that have existed and operated like, or even as, bureaucratic establishments may not be the ones we need in philanthropic activities. With or without Red Cross Society of China, donations to charities will find their way into the hands of the needy. Chances are the same things could be done at much lower costs.

But, just as we had warned earlier, the impact of the Red Cross scandal would not be limited to that organization or group of organizations only. The worsening blood shortage in Beijing, for one, is a sad footnote to the scope of the collateral damage of the drain of trust.

According to the municipal blood center, there are only 4,000 units of blood in stock citywide, that is, about one-third of the ideal standard stock. Heavy rainfall is one reason for the shortage, the center said, because about 92 percent of the city's current blood reserve came from street donors. Another reason is the credibility crisis that the Red Cross scandal has created. The fuse was the accusation that Red Cross agencies have profited from blood supplies collected from people who donated blood for free.

Red Cross authorities did deny and issue explanations. Yet none was convincing enough. To avoid an impending blood shortage, municipal authorities are calling on city residents to contribute.

People in Beijing will not look on with their hands folded while their hospitals run into a full-blown crisis.

But what about their doubts and suspicions? If the pending questions remain unanswered, more trouble will follow.