China Red Cross, the government-run charity, never really recovers from the Guo Meimei scandal in 2011. The 20-something girl, who was then a “general manager” at China Red Cross, showed off her extravagant lifestyle such as sports cars and Hermès handbags on her Weibo account (China’s Twitter). Angry netizens called for a human flesh search to dig out who she was, or, who her sugar daddy was. It was the start of a major blow to China’s biggest charity.
Last week, Lushan, Sichuan province, was hit by a 7.0 earthquake, which has so far took 192 lives. Calls for donation are everywhere, both online and offline. But China Red Cross is having a very hard time regaining people’s trust, or money.
iFeng reports that China Red Cross volunteers in Shenzhen with donation boxes on streets were very much ignored by passersby.
Another report from Chongqing showed that a China Red Cross donation box at Baoxing, an earthquake-hit village, received only RMB 10.5 yuan.
Why people refused to donate to China Red Cross? One netizen 321啊99 explained: “This is the result when you lose people’s trust.” And like netizen 孙小宁在四月 commented: “Trust is hard to build, but easy to destroy.” Some netizens even called China Red Cross a “government-back legitimate scam to steal people’s money.”
People avoid China Red Cross because they don’t want their goodwill to go to the pockets of corrupt officials. One widely-circulated comment goes: “Don’t you feel ashamed to ask us who use faux leather bags to donate to someone who uses Hermès? Don’t you feel ashamed to ask us who use counterfeit cell phones as watches to donate to someone who wears Patek Philippe? Don’t you feel ashamed to ask us who thinks twice before eating one more egg to donate to someone who eats several thousand yuan a meal? Don’t you feel ashamed to ask us who waits in line before gas price increase to donate to someone who drives a Maserati?”
China Red Cross isn’t the only one that’s under criticism. Many netizens questioned the whole idea of donating for disaster relief because, you know, the Chinese government is rich. Many Chinese netizens asked: “Why is the government asking the people to donate when we pay taxes every day? Where are our taxes?”
One netizen 王川 commented: “In 2012, China’s tax revenue totaled RMB 11 trillion yuan. How much of that has been spent in charity? How much of that has been ‘donated’ to Ya’an earthquake? Donation from a poor guy like me is nothing comparable.” Another netizen 深_天蓝 commented: “What we should do now is not to donate, but to urge the government to ‘donate’ some of its tax revenue.”
Poor China Red Cross volunteers with empty donation boxes on the streets of Shenzhen