The Guo Meimei Scandal: Weibo Microblogging Unveils the Chinese Red Cross

2012 China Blue Book of Philanthropy

中文 English

Abstract: On June 20th, 2011, a Weibo microblog account operated by a user claiming to be the general manager of the Chamber of Commerce of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC中国红十字会) caused an uproar on the internet due to the lavish lifestyle flaunted on the user’s microblog. The incident led to public outrage and skepticism about the RCSC. Responding to these challenges, the RCSC has begun a major overhaul of its organization.

Introduction

This was the most sensational charity incident of 2011. A veteran charitable organization with 107 years of history had its reputation unexpectedly marred due to public outrage triggered by a microblog post that has yet to be verified.

The lessons from this incident are manifold. Charitable organizations must become less bureaucratic, step down from their pedestal and engage with the public, and regain the public’s support by displaying a commitment to reform. In addition, the philanthropy sector needs to rethink its place in this new era of civil society, and grapple with the challenges of public sentiment being expressed via the internet.

New leaders have taken over leadership of the RCSC, determined to bring about reform. This is a positive effect brought about by the internet incident. The RCSC’s reform will have an important impact on China’s charity sector.

The Sequence of Events

Chapter 1: A Microblog Post Causes a Great Uproar

On June 20, 2011, a woman using her Weibo [microblog] account confirmed her status as the general manager of the Red Cross Chamber of Commerce on her microblog account “Guo Meimei-baby”. She began flaunting her wealth, triggering strong public skepticism: how did this 20 year old come by these branded bags and luxury cars, and did her wealth have any connection with the Red Cross? Soon a number of theories regarding Guo Meimei and the Red Cross began circulating on the internet, making it hard to tell fact from fiction.

At the same time, Guo was using her microblog account to respond to netizens’ suspicions. One such post claimed that the company where Guo works has a partnership with the Red Cross in which advertisements are installed on the medical vehicles that the Red Cross uses to provide free services to citizens. This partnership raised public suspicions about whether someone was using charity for personal gain.

Dozens of hours later, on June 22, the Red Cross Society of China issued an official statement. The statement stated: (1) The RCSC does not have a “Red Cross Chamber of Commerce” (红十字商会), and certainly no one by the name of “Guo Meimei”; (2) The RCSC retains its rights to pursue the matter with responsible parties; (3) The RCSC hopes that all sectors of the community will approach these issues with a calm attitude, and be wary of exploitation. Afterwards, Sina, which owns Weibo, openly stated that there had been an error in Guo’s microblog status verification, and apologized to the public. The Beijing Public Security Bureau (北京公安局) posted a series of three microblog posts saying that investigations have revealed that Guo Meimei and her mother had no direct ties with the RCSC.

However, these public reports, which read like official documents, were over-simplistic, and not only failed to calm the storm and appease the public, but aroused greater suspicions. By late June, the RCSC was being derided as the “Black Cross Society” and “Three Big Frauds” [Editor’s Note: the “Three Big Frauds” was coined by the popular economist Lang Xianping(郎咸平) who claimed that the RCSC took advantage of its monopoly of brand, blood and marrow donation, and public real estate.] The RCSC was mocked by thousands, and accused of “not being open and transparent in receiving donations”, “lacking credibility” and “turning donations into other people’s luxury cars and bags”, among others, as the complaints and accusations escalated.

Chapter 2: Suspending Activities of the Red Cross Society Commercial System

Even though there was no agency called “Red Cross Chamber of Commerce”, netizens discovered an organization called the “Red Cross Society Commercial System” (hereafter the RCSC Commercial System, 商业系统红十字会), could this have been the “Red Cross Chamber of Commerce” that Guo was speaking of?
On June 27th, the RCSC responded to questions regarding the RCSC Commercial System (hereafter the Commercial RSCS), stating that it was set up by the China General Chamber of Commerce (中国商业联合会) under the Law of the Red Cross Society of the People’s Republic of China, and is the RCSC’s industry association. The RCSC further explained that in accordance with articles of association, the RCSC established an organization like the Commercial Red Cross not to raise funds, but for purposes of organizational development. The RCSC’s main goal behind developing basic-level organizations, members and volunteers is to spread the Red Cross spirit and launch humanitarian relief work. In the event of a major disaster, it can also mobilize corporate and membership donations from within the industry.

Still, people continued to ask, what is the actual relationship between the organizations in the RCSC’s system and and the commercial organizations? Is this relationship harmful to the healthy development of public charities?

Ongoing investigations by netizens brought attention to three companies: Wang Ding Company (王鼎公司), China Red Cross Bo’ai Asset Management Ltd (中红博爱公司), and Zhong Mo Zhi Guo Advertising Company (中谋智国). According to available commercial information, the three companies are all interrelated. Wang Ding Company, which was registered in the same year as Commercial Red Cross, is involved in almost all activities of the Commercial Red Cross; Zhong Mo Zhi Guo Advertising Company share the same boss as Wang Ding Company; and Wang Ding Company is one of the shareholders of the China Red Cross Bo’ai Asset Management Ltd. The general manager of Wang Ding Company is also the daughter of the vice president of Commercial Red Cross. And the boyfriend of Guo Meimei happens to be one of China Red Cross Bo’ai Asset Management’s shareholders. After the “flaunting wealth” incident of Guo, he has resigned from directorship…

The revelation of these intricate personal relationships increased public speculation and suspicion, and public opinion on the internet turned one-sided.
On July 1, the RCSC released an official statement on its website regarding the “suspension of all activities by the Commercial Red Cross”, indicating the start of substantive measures.

In order to reduce public skepticism, the “RCSC Donation Information Disclosure Platform” went online on July 31 on a trial basis. First to be released was information regarding the use of donations received for the 2010 Yushu earthquake. However, the information disclosed by the platform was incomplete, vague about the usage of donations, and lacked third-party evaluation. The problems exposed by RCSC’s hasty response thus sparked off another wave of public dissent.

In their speculations, people continued to look for evidence, attempting to search for the truth through their own research. The media, in search of attention, exploited the public demand for truth by continuing to magnify the “Guo Meimei Incident.” As a result, an internet incident caused by a microblog post turned into a public crisis for China’s philanthropic sector. The credibility of the philanthropic sector became the focal point for 2011.

Chapter 3: The Donation Situation

China’s philanthropic sector was affected by this internet incident. The RCSC, caught in the vortex of this charity storm, saw its donations significantly affected. The Beijing Red Cross Society, for example, received 28 donations from the public totaling 154,400 yuan in July 2011. Of these, only eight contributions totaling 7,495 yuan were from individuals, a significant reduction from previous years when the monthly donation to the Beijing Red Cross Society was 1.24 million yuan in 2008, and 2.20 million yuan in 2009.

The donation situation, though, was relatively better when viewed over the entire year. According to incomplete statistics, the total revenue for the national RCSC in 2011 was 4.198 billion yuan, of which public donations amounted to 2.867 billion yuan, a significant decline compared to 2010. However, given that there were no major disasters in 2011, public donations in that year are not comparable with 2008 and 2010 [Editor’s Note: There were major earthquakes in Wenchuan in 2008 and Yushu in 2010]. Comparing 2011 instead with 2009, when there were no major disasters, gross public donations in 2011 actually showed a slight increase. Furthermore, according to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation’s 2011 Annual Report, individual donations made up 12.62% of total donations, with no significant change compared to normal years. These statistics suggest that in overall terms for the whole year, the Guo Meimei incident did not significantly impact annual public donations to the RCSC in 2011.

Chapter 4: A Period of Reflection

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (中国社会科学院) researcher Ge Daoshun has been studying the RCSC since 2010. His research found that in the current institutional environment, the RCSC has to deal with a disorganized organizational structure, inadequate internal management and weak capacity, to name a few. “Local branches of the Red Cross depend on which local leaders are in charge of the Red Cross, on whose authority is greater – the leader in charge of the Red Cross or the leader in charge of the Charity Federation. The ability of the Red Cross to play a leading role locally depends not on the institution itself, but on the leaders in charge of it.

On August 11th, the China University of Political Science and Law (中国政法大学) held a “Jimen Decision (蓟门决策)” forum, in order to reflect upon the “Guo Meimei Incident”. Experts pointed out that the RCSC and the government have long had an awkward relation with regards to defining their relationship and division of responsibilities. Clarifying and improving this relationship will be crucial if the RCSC and other government-run public foundations want to extricate themselves from their predicament. It is now the burden of the RCSC’s policymakers to determine what kind of oversight and leadership mechanism to establish. With regards to how to understand and face the challenges brought about by the “Guo Meimei Incident”, the China Charity One Hundred Forum (中华慈善百人论坛) expressed the need for a collective voice to shape social opinion. [Editor’s Note: the China Charity 100 Forum is a group of well-known Chinese from around the world who gather to discuss China’s social development challenges.] On September 26th, “China Charity One Hundred” and the Tsinghua University NGO Research Center jointly organized the “Roadmap for Philanthropy Reform” seminar. At the seminar, Tsinghua University Center for Innovation and Social Responsibility (清华大学创新与社会责任研究中心) Director, Professor Deng Guosheng proposed that 2011 should not be defined as the year of chaos in the philanthropic sector, as there have been similar incidents in the past as well. Instead this should be the year to push for the transformation of government-run charities precisely because charities suffered a public crisis of confidence, and the charitable organizations that came under attack all shared one characteristic: they had close ties with the government.

Chapter 5: The Start of Reforms in the RCSC

In the eye of the storm, deputy party secretary of the National Population and Family Planning Commission (国家人口计生委) Zhao Baige was elected Executive Vice President of the RCSC on October 10, 2011. On taking over, she immediately presented a resolute attitude towards advancing structural reforms in the RCSC to increase its transparence and credibility, and reshape its image.

According to Vice President Zhao, Chinese society is currently undergoing a transition period. A government with too much power coupled with weak civil society organizations has resulted in the imbalance within China’s social structure. Many social problems are undergoing frequent outbreaks, but the public’s channels for participation have been blocked. The blow-up of a Weibo-triggered internet incident that brought the RCSC under public scrutiny is in reality the expression of grievances that have been accumulated over a long period of time, especially grievances regarding the government. Zhao does not deny that the RCSC has a wide range of management issues and deficiencies. She suggested that the RCSC’s poor communication with the media and its inability to grasp the importance of public relations was also an important reason the incident festered for so long.

She also noted that the RCSC must not shirk from the need to face the challenges brought by the incident. Information disclosure must be proactive and fast, allowing the public to know the truth. The RCSC needs to understand the public’s needs and expectations, accept the public’s criticisms and establish unimpeded channels of communication with the public. At the same time, it needs to improve its public relations and strengthen its cooperation with social media.

Since taking up office, Zhao has held several roundtable discussions with the media and met with a number of media players, discussing the challenges and solutions facing the RCSC with an open and frank attitude.

On October 22, at the “China Social Policy Series Forum – Exploring Reforms in the RCSC”, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Social Policy Research Committee (中国社会学会社会政策研究专业委员会) brought together over 20 experts and scholars to provide advice to the RCSC on carrying out reforms. Vice President Zhao returned overnight to the city to attend the forum and participate in discussions, expressing before the forum’s end her desire for the CASS Social Policy Research Committee to organize a team of experts as soon as possible, inviting leading scholars from the CASS, the Development Research Center of the State Council (国务院发展研究中心), Peking University (北京大学), Tsinghua University (清华大学) and Beijing Normal University (北京师范大学) to join forces in providing research support to the RCSC’s reform plans. After the forum, the CASS Social Policy Research Committee promptly organized a team of experts, submitting their study “RCSC Reform and Development Strategies” to the RCSC.

On November 2, after discussions and approval by the RCSC, the CASS Social Policy Research Committee “RCSC Reform and Development Strategies Research Group” was formally established.

On December 30, the research group submitted a report comprising a main report and a series of six sub-reports. The report positioned itself on a strategic level, putting forward a series of innovative recommendations related to fundraising, financial management, project management, information management, advocacy and communication, external exchanges, and international cooperation.

This study prompted government agencies to pay more attention to the reform of the RCSC. On December 30, 2011, the RCSC held a “RCSC Reform and Development Strategy Research Group” conference, with Vice President Zhao and other RCSC leadership in attendance. Division Head Zhang Lina of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) System Reform Division (国家发改委体制改革司) and other officials also attended the conference. Division Head Zhang stated that the NDRC has been looking for organizations to become part of the Social Organization Pilot Program which is part of the 2012 National Comprehensive Reform Pilot Program (国家综合配套改革试点中社会组织试点). If the RCSC showed the will to reform, it could be included as a national-level organization in the Social Organization Pilot Program. At the start of 2012, the authorities began drafting the document “Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Development of the Red Cross System”.

During this period, the RCSC began accelerating the recruitment of new talent and institution building. Starting in October, it began reforming the internal personnel cadre system, using various methods to recruit capable personnel. By the end of 2011, it had hired a large number of young, energetic adults through a system of open recruitment to take on mid-level leadership positions. The RCSC also focused its attention on reforming its financial system, separating the management of fiscal funds from that of social donations, in order to establish a sustainable mechanism of fundraising. Meanwhile, through information construction, the RCSC improved and perfected the method of disclosing donation information, building a sound system of disclosing and disseminating information on the management and deployment of donations.

On December 31, 2011, the RCSC publicly released the “Briefing on the RCSC’s Investigation of the Commercial Red Cross“ and “Report by the Investigations Group on the Issues Surrounding the Commercial Red Cross”. The Briefing put forward the need to carry out five reform measures: (1) Speed up the institutional reforms of RCSC; (2) Establish clear work procedures and standards for information disclosure; (3) Improve management of the Red Cross brand; (4) Strengthen anti-corruption efforts and focus on key risk areas like donations and procurement bidding, in order to promote greater transparency in donations and financial management; (5) Achieve greater transparency in procurement bidding and resource allocation.

The release of this Briefing at the end of 2011 once more drew attention from Weibo microbloggers. Compared to the one-sided voices of skepticism of before, there were more positive remarks this time. Some netizens affirmed the RCSC’s sincere attitude towards the investigations of the RCSC reform.
On February 15, 2012, the State Council’s Executive Meeting approved the National Comprehensive Reform Pilot Program submitted by the NDRC. The RCSC was included as a pilot in the National Comprehensive Reform for the Promoting of the Social Sector.

Thus marked the official start of the RCSC reformation.

Commentary

Guo Meimei’s microblog showing off her wealth was forwarded more than one million times within a week, triggering widespread public attention. It marks the first time that Chinese society has encountered such an incident.

This internet incident sparked by a single microblog that then developed into a credibility crisis for the entire Chinese philanthropic sector stands as a defining event of 2011. One thing that has become generally accepted is that Chinese society has indeed changed. As China’s information society has developed rapidly, its awareness of public participation in social affairs has grown.

In this regard, the assessments of many scholars and policymakers are as follows:

Firstly, this incident did not happen by chance; it came about due to a confluence of social discontents. The first was dissatisfaction with the government’s lack of credibility, which was directed at the government-backed RCSC; The second was disapproval of how the nouveau-riche have flaunted their wealth, and suspicions about how they have used their capital as a springboard to appropriate public donations for their own benefit; The third was strong resentment against government-backed charities that work up a great fanfare around donations but were not open and transparent about how money was used.
Secondly, the occurrence of such an incident is an inevitable outcome under the current system. China’s philanthropy system still remains government-led instead of society-led. It is worth pondering that the idea of government-led economics has already been opposed by a Resolution at the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee [in 1978], which puts forth instead that the socialist market economy should rest on five pillars of the market economy: market actors, the market system, market regulation, market allocation and social security. [Editor’s Note: The Resolution of the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee marked the decisive point when China, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, embarked on a “reform and opening” strategy.] Meanwhile, the main role of the government is to leverage economic and social policies in order to foster an environment of fair market competition, while correcting for “market failure” in the areas of public services and social security through the efficient allocation of resources. Today, thirty years after the 11th Central Committee’s Resolution, should the government still maintain dominance in the philanthropy sector, even though it no longer has a leading position in the economy? In today’s market-led society, regardless of whether we are speaking of business or charitable enterprises, self-organization is an important feature. Is philanthropy ultimately an undertaking of the government, or of society and the public? What exactly is the relationship between the government, business, non-profit organizations, donors and beneficiaries? If these questions are not resolved, and a new philanthropic sector compatible with the market is not set up, then we will continue to see incidents like Guo Meimei.

Thirdly, viewed against the larger backdrop, this incident has a kind of butterfly effect in promoting social development. The fluttering of one butterfly creates a ripple effect that draws the Chinese philanthropic sector from the periphery of social and public life to its center. The immense pressure that it has created leads people to wonder whether the philanthropic sector must change, or otherwise arrive at a dead end.

Relaxing the constraints on society in order to let it grow: this is the important message that the public has handed to the government in 2011, through the Weibo microblog incident.

We are pleased to see that the Red Cross Society of China has been keen in receiving this information, and is ready to start on the road to reform.

微博冲击下的中国红十字会直面挑战

恩派《社会创业家》志愿者刘平撰写初稿,由杨团修改并定稿。

摘要:2011年6月20日,一条自称是中国红十字会商业总经理的署名微博因其博主炫耀其奢华生活,在网络上引起轩然大波,引发了公众对中国红十字会的普遍质疑。中国红十字会直面挑战,拉开了红十字会系统整体改革的序幕。

特征:该事件是2011年最著名的慈善公益事件。一个具有107年历史的老牌公益慈善组织,居然被并未被证实的一条微博引发的网络公众的质疑弄得灰头土脸。

它给予世人的启示无疑是多方面的。不仅公益慈善组织自身必须去官僚化,必须从高台上走下来,和公众站在一起,以自己锐意改革的行动取得公众的理解、谅解和支持,还有一个重要的方面,即整个公益慈善业界如何面对新时期公民社会的新特点,即应对网络舆情这一新的挑战。

中国红十字会新一届领导人走马上任,领导红会系统锐意改革。这是网络事件带来的一种积极的效果。中国红十字会的改革将对中国公益慈善界产生重要的影响。

【事件过程】

一一条微博引发轩然大波

2011年6月20日,微博上认证身份为“红十字会商业总经理”名叫“郭美美baby”的女孩主动“炫富”引发了公众的强烈质疑:一个年仅20岁的女孩拥有的名包豪车,财产来源是否和“红十字会”有关?各种与郭美美、红十字会有关的说法在网络上迅速流传,真假难辨。

同时,郭美美也在利用微博回应网友质疑,其中有一条微博解释称,郭所在的公司与红十字会存在相互合作关系,合作模式是将广告放在红十字会免费为老百姓服务的医疗车上。这种合作模式,让公众的疑问进一步升级。他们质疑:是否有人在利用慈善牟利,为个人获取巨额的财富?网上舆情不等人,很快,就引起轩然大波。

数十个小时后,即6月22日,中国红十字会总会发出了官方声明。声明称:①红十字会没有“红十字商会”机构,更无“郭美美”其人;②我会保留追究有关方面责任权利;③希望社会各界以平和心态看待此类问题,不被利用。

之后,新浪网公开提出,对郭美美的微博认证有误并对公众道歉;北京公安局连发三条微博,称查明郭美美及其母与中国红十字会总会无直接关联。

但是,这些公文式的公告过于简单,不仅没能平息风波、安抚人心,反而引起更大的质疑。6月下旬,中国红十字会在网上被骂成“黑十字会”、“三大腐败”,遭万人“呸”,被指责“接收捐赠不公开透明”、“毫无公信力”、“捐款变成了人家的豪车和包包”等,抱怨、指责甚至谩骂不断升级。

二叫停商红会活动

虽然没有“红十字商会”这一机构,但网友发现中国红十字总会的下级单位中,有一家“商业系统红十字会”,它会不会就是郭美美说的“红十字商会”呢?

6月27日,中国红十字会对中国商业系统红十字会(以下简称商红会)的质疑予以回应,表示商业红十字会是中国商业联合会根据《中华人民共和国红十字会法》成立的,商红会是中国红会的行业组织。并解释说,依照章程,中国红十字会建立商红会这样的行业组织不是为了筹资,而是为了组织建设。中国红十字会发展基层组织,发展会员和志愿者的目的,主要是广泛传播红十字精神,开展人道救助工作。在发生重大灾情时,还可以在行业内部动员企业和会员捐款。

但是,人们继续发问,红十字系统的组织机构和商业机构之间到底是一种什么关系呢?这种关系是否危害了公益慈善事业的健康发展呢?

随着网民的深度挖掘,王鼎公司、中红博爱公司、中谋智国三家企业相继浮出水面。据有关工商资料,三家公司彼此关联,与商红会同一年注册的王鼎公司几乎涉及商红会所有项目;中谋智国广告公司与王鼎公司是同一个老板;而中红博爱的股东之一就是王鼎公司。王鼎总经理又是商红会副会长之女。而郭美美的男友正是中红博爱股东,郭美美炫富事件后,他已辞去董事职务……

这些错综复杂的人际关联的揭示加重了人们的猜测和怀疑,并成为人们宣泄不满的窗口,网上舆论呈现一边倒的趋势。

7月1日,中国红十字会总会在其网站上发布关于“暂停中国商业系统红十字会一切活动”的声明,开始采取实质性措施。

为消减公众质疑,7月31日,“中国红十字会总会捐赠信息发布平台”紧急上线试运行,首先发布的是中国红十字会接受的玉树地震捐款的使用情况。不过,平台所公布的捐款信息并不完整,也未说明准确的捐款用途,还缺乏第三方评估,中国红会仓促应对中暴露的问题,再次掀起舆论热浪。

人们在猜测中不断挖掘各种蛛丝马迹,试图通过民间考证的方式,自己来寻求真相。媒体为了吸引眼球,利用人们试图自我寻求真相的心理,不断地放大和发酵“郭美美事件”,致使2011年由一条微博引起的网络事件,演变为关乎中国整个慈善公益业界信任危机的公共事件,慈善公益的公信力成为2011年的焦点话题。

三捐款情况

中国慈善公益业界受累于这次网络事件。处于慈善风暴中心的中国红十字会的捐额也受到明显影响。以北京为例,2011年7月,北京市红十字会共接受社会捐款28笔,总计15.44万元。其中个人捐款8笔共7495元,较往年大为减少。而北京市红十字会在2008年的月平均捐赠额为124万元,2009年的月平均捐赠额为220万元。

不过,从全年情况看,捐赠情况还算差强人意。据不完全统计,2011年全国红会系统总收入为41.98亿元,其中,接受社会捐赠总值为28.67亿元,较之2010年有大幅下降。这主要是因为2011年没有发生大灾,社会捐赠与2008年和2010年的大灾之年不具可比性。若与非大灾年份的2009年相比,2011年的社会捐赠总值还略有增加。另据中国红十字基金会2011年度报告,个人捐赠占总捐款的比例为12.62%,与常态年份相比并无明显变化。这些都说明就全年和全局而言,网络事件对2011年度红十字会整个系统的社会捐赠并没有造成显著的影响。

四反思开始了

中国社会科学院研究员葛道顺从2010年开始着手研究红十字系统,他的研究发现:囿于目前体制环境,红十字会系统确实还存在组织体制没理顺、内部管理不完善、自身能力不强等问题,“地方上的红十字会要看当地哪位领导分管红十字会,看分管红十字的领导跟分管慈善会的领导谁的权力大,红十字会能够在当地起着主导作用,不是取决于机构本身,而是取决于分管它们的领导。”

8月11日,中国政法大学举办“蓟门决策”论坛,反思“郭美美事件”。专家指出,长期以来,中国红十字会总会与政府本身的关系界定、权责的划分在历史上比较尴尬,如何界定和理顺与政府的关系是未来红十字会以及官办公募基金会走出困境的关键,建立一个什么样的监督和领导机制是摆在红会决策者肩上的重担。 对于如何认识和面对“郭美美事件”带来的挑战,中华慈善百人论坛表示需要集体发声,引导社会共识。9月26日,“中华慈善百人论坛”和清华大学NGO研究所联合举办“慈善体制改革之路”研讨会。会上,清华大学创新与社会责任研究中心主任邓国胜教授提出,2011年不应该定位为慈善乱象年,类似的事件以往都存在,只不过2011年被集中暴露出来,导致出现公众对慈善公益组织的信任危机。还有,被质疑的慈善公益组织都具备一个基本特点:都有政府机构的背景,且大都具有垄断地位。因此,推动官办慈善机构的转型是当务之急。

五临危受命红十字会改革拉开序幕

“风口浪尖”上,10月10日,国家人口计生委党组副书记赵白鸽临危受命,当选中国红十字会常务副会长,她一上台就态度坚定地表示,要推进红会体制改革,加大其透明度和公信力,重塑红会形象。

在赵会长看来,中国社会正处于一个转型期。过于强势的政府,过于弱小的民间社团组织,致使中国社会结构的天平发生一边倒的倾斜。很多社会问题频频爆发,而民众的情绪发泄口受阻。由微博引发的质疑中国红会的网络事件如此火爆,其实是百姓将累积已久的各方面的怨气,尤其是对政府治理中的种种不满集中发泄出来的一种表现。

赵会长不否认,中国红十字会存在着多方面的管理问题和制度缺陷,同时她也提出,红会缺乏与媒体的沟通,不懂得在新形势下的传播工作的重要性,也是导致网络事件不断发酵的一个重要原因。

赵会长提出,红会要直面网络事件的挑战,绝不可讳疾忌医。公开信息要主动、快速,让公众了解事实真相,要了解公众的需求、期待,接受公众的质询和批评,建立与社会和公民沟通互动的畅通渠道。同时,要完善信息发布制度,加强同社会媒体合作。

赵会长到任后,多次举行媒体恳谈会,约见各类媒体,以开放的姿态、坦诚的态度和媒体一起探讨中国红会存在的问题和解决方式。 10月22日,“中国社会政策专题系列论坛——中国红十字会体制改革探索”论坛上,中国社会学会社会政策研究专业委员会组织了20多位专家学者为红会的改革出谋划策。赵白鸽会长连夜从外地赶来出席会议,参与讨论,在会议结束时提出,希望中国社会学会社会政策研究专业委员会尽快组织专家力量,邀请中国社会科学院、国务院发展研究中心、北京大学、清华大学、北京师范大学的一流学者共同帮助红会做好改革方案的研究。 会后,中国社会学会社会政策研究专业委员会迅速组织专家队伍,将“中国红十字会改革与发展战略研究”的课题方案提交给了中国红十字会。

11月2日,经中国红十字会讨论通过,中国社会学会社会政策研究专业委员会“中国红十字会改革与发展战略课题组”正式成立。

12月30日,该课题组提交了一整套包括主报告和六个分报告的研究成果。该课题研究定位在战略层面,从筹款与财务管理制度设计、项目分类与选择、信息化建设、倡导与传播、对外交流与国际合作等方面提出了一系列的创新观点。

这个研究促进了政府相关部门对中国红十字会改革的关注。2011年12月30日,中国红十字会召开“红会改革与发展战略课题组”成果报告会,赵白鸽等红会主要负责人全数出席,国家发改委体制改革司张丽娜司长等官员也出席了该次会议。张司长提出,发改委正在寻找入列2012年国家综合配套改革试点中社会组织试点的机构,中国红十字会有改革意愿,可以考虑作为国家的社会组织试点机构 。此后,于2012年初,有关方面开始了“关于促进红十字事业发展的指导意见”的文件起草。

同时,红会采取了多个步骤加快人才和制度建设步伐。自10月开始进行内部人事干部制度改革,运用多种方式选拔德才兼备人才。并在2011年底,通过公开招聘的方式引进和任命了一大批年富力强的中青年骨干担任中层领导职务。红会重点推进了财务制度改革,严格实行财政资金和社会捐赠资金分开管理,建立可持续的筹资工作机制。同时,通过信息化建设,改进和完善捐赠资金的公开方式,建立健全捐赠资金使用管理的信息披露和公告制度。

2011年12月31日,中国红十字会公开发布了《中国红十字会总会关于对商业系统红十字会调查处理情况的通报》和《联合调查组关于商业系统红十字会相关问题的调查报告》。在《中国红十字会总会关于对商业系统红十字会调查处理情况的通报》中,提出了要加快红十字会的体制机制改革;建立明确的信息公开工作流程和制度;加强红十字品牌管理;加强反腐倡廉,抓住捐赠款物和招标采购等关键风险点,真正实现捐赠款物公开,财务管理透明;招标采购公开,分配使用透明等五项改革措施。

2011年终的这份红会通报发布之后,在微博上再次引发关注。与此前一面倒的质疑声不同,这一次有了相对正面的言论。部分网民肯定了红会对于事件调查的诚恳态度以及对于中国红十字会改革的期待。

2012年2月15日,国务院常务会议召开,通过了发改委提交的综合配套改革试点方案。中国红十字会入列国家推进社会领域综合配套改革的试点单位。

中国红会改革的序幕正式拉开。

【点评】

郭美美炫富微博在一周之内,被转发上百万条,引发全社会如此广泛关注,这样的事件在中国社会是首次遭遇。

由一条微博引起的网络事件,演变为关乎中国整个慈善公益业界的公信力危机,这就是2011年的一个重要特征。不过,有一点是大家公认的,这就是中国的社会的确变了,在信息社会快速发展的当下,中国公众参与社会公共事务的意识增强了,行为更加积极和具体化了。

对此,多数学人和政策界人士的评价是:

第一,此事件的发生并非偶然,它是三种社会不满情绪的总汇合、总爆发。一是对政府缺乏公信力不满,具有政府背景的中国红会因此首当其冲;二是对先富起来的部分人炫富姿态不满,怀疑他们以资本为跳板,拿慈善捐款做利己的交易;三是对有政府背景的公募慈善机构捐款大张旗鼓,用钱不公开透明有强烈的抵触情绪,认为官办慈善机构在独享特权慈善。

第二,出现这类事件是现行体制下的必然产物。中国的慈善公益体制至今还是政府主导而非社会主导。值得深思的是,政府主导经济的思想早已被十一届三中全会决议反对掉了,当时提出社会主义市场经济体制要由市场主体、市场体系、市场调控、分配与社会保障五根柱子撑起来。其间,政府的作用主要在运用各种经济、社会的政策杠杆培育市场形成公平竞争的环境和秩序,同时在公共服务和社会保障领域着力,通过有效率的资源配置纠正“市场失灵”的部分。那么,在改革开放已经30余年之后的今天,政府在经济领域已经退出主导地位,而在慈善公益领域难道还要继续主导吗?在现代市场体制下的社会,无论企业还是慈善机构,自组织性都是其重要特征。慈善公益事业归根结底是谁的事业,是政府的,还是社会和民众的?政府、企业、非营利组织、捐赠人、受赠人之间到底是什么关系?这些问题不解决,与市场体制相适应的新的社会慈善公益体制不建立,类郭美美事件只会更加大量地发酵和爆发。

第三,从大背景来看,这个事件具有带动社会成长的一种蝴蝶效应。一只蝴蝶扇一下翅膀,引起一场大洋的风暴,将中国的慈善公益从边缘地位带到了社会公共生活的中心。它所造成的巨大压力让人们更加明白慈善的体制和机制必须变革,不变革无路可走。

给社会松绑,让社会成长,这就是2011年度全民透过微博事件传递给政府的重要信息。

我们欣喜地看到,中国红十字会敏锐地接收了这个信息,在改革之路上已经整装待发了。

Liu Ping is a volunteer at NonProfit Incubator’s (恩派) Social Entrepreneurs 《社会创业家》magazine. Yang Tuan is the editor of the China Blue Book of Philanthropy, and Deputy Director of the Social Policy Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (中国社科院社会政策研究中心).

Translated by Vanessa Zhang

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