Amended law a chance to change Red Cross image

Updated: 2016-06-29 07:34

(China Daily)

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Amended law a chance to change Red Cross image

Chinese President Xi Jinping and top CPC and state leaders Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan meet with representatives at the 10th general congress of the Red Cross Society of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 5, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

The draft of an amended law on the Red Cross Society of China was reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, on Monday-the first proposed changes to the law since it was adopted in 1993.

For the RCSC, amending the law to supervise its activities and make them more transparent may act as an antidote to the widespread doubts cast on its trustworthiness in handling the charity donations it receives after a series of scandals in the past few years.

Although the total amount of charity donations has been on the rise nationwide in the past few years, the donations the RCSC and its local branches have received have been on the decline. The total amount of donations the country received in both money and goods reached 104.23 billion yuan ($15.67 billion) in 2014, but the amount the RCSC received was only 2.64 billion yuan, 2.5 percent of the total, much lower than in 2011.

The amended law requires that supervision from outside the RCSC should be exercised over its use of the donations, and the charity organization is also required to make its activities more transparent and publish its revenue and expenditure.

But no matter how the proposed amendments to the law will regulate the operations of the organization, it is important for the charity organization to change the way it is run.

To be exact, it can no longer be run as a government institution. Instead, it needs to be run as a charity organization.

Its members need to have more say in its decision-making, and the responsibilities of its council, its permanent council and its supervisory body need to be clearly defined. It needs a set of strict rules to follow, and details of how the donations in both money and goods are used should be placed under public scrutiny.

True, some scandals laid at the door of the RCSC, such as the one involving Guo Meimei, a young woman who shocked people by showcasing her lavish lifestyle online and claiming to be related to the organization, have had nothing to do with it.

But the doubts about the integrity of the organization mean a crisis of trust is not far away unless it changes the way it is run and convinces the public all its activities are above board.

This means it needs to have transparent and clearly defined processes for the use of donations.

An amended law can provide the RCSC with such an opportunity.