Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chinese Red Cross plays a large role in helping earthquake victims

The Wall Street Journal reports about the role of the Chinese Red Cross in helping the victims of the earthquake in China.  In contrast with the struggles of the international Red Cross to get aid to people in Myanmar, in China the Chinese Red Cross itself responded quickly and also was able to invite international aid to assist.  The contrast may stem from ties between the Chinese Red Cross and the Chinese government.  Although the Chinese Red Cross is now separate from the government, for many years the Ministry of Health controlled the Chinese Red Cross.  Created in 1904, the Chinese Red Cross came under government control in 1949, when the Communists gained power.  Today the national and provincial offices are completely separate from government, although local offices maintain links to local health officials

The Chinese Red Cross is one of only two organizations authorized to solicit donations from the public in China.  Chinese citizens have already contributed much of the $2.3 billion raised for earthquake relief.

Beyond the immediate crisis, the Chinese Red Cross is growing as an international organization and sees part of its role as helping address needs in other countries.  The Chinese Red Cross had been sending relief supplies to Myanmar prior to the earthquake in China, and those shipments have continued even though China now faces its own disaster. 


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