Don't let this keep you from donating to aid organizations—but do play it safe. You can do what other Chinese have done donate to smaller organizations. But shortly after the May 12th quake that killed over 70 people in Southwest China, Chinese citizens in Beijing and all over the country donated money to aid organizations including the Chinese Red Cross - hoping to ease the suffering of the quake victims in Sichuan. But according to one Shop owner, some of the aid workers entrusted with this money have wound up on the take. Here's more:
One shop owner called NTD after aid workers from the Chinese Red Cross asked him to falsify receipts for medical supplies.
He says he refused, but the shop next door, didn't.
[Unnamed Shop Owner, Zhongjiang County, Sichuan Province]: (1st quote, gender unknown)
"There were two Red Cross officers from the Zhongjiang district trying to buy $10,000 worth of medicine from our shop for the earth quake victims, but they wanted us to write down a number that is five times higher than the true price. We refused, but the neighboring medical retailers gave way to these officers."
Falsifying receipts is a common scam in China: party officials can make a quick buck by convincing merchants to double or triple the amount paid for government expenses, and the official pockets the difference.
[Unnamed Resident]: (4th quote, gender unknown)
"They're even going for the rescue donations and resources. There is no trust left for the communist party at all."
Some Chinese donors are now choosing to give their money to smaller aid organizations. They're concerned that lack of oversight within the Red Cross may prevent their money from ever making it to Sichuan.