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Chinese Red Cross Battles CCTV In War to Forget Guo Meimei

Posted: 08/4/2014 4:44 pm

guo meimeiThe Zhaotong earthquake on August 3 has left 391 people dead so far and many more homeless. Those that survived desperately need support from agencies like the Red Cross, but the organization is still struggling to overcome a corruption scandal involving a woman named Guo Meimei from three years ago. In a series of recent Weibo posts, the Chinese Red Cross has appealed for the public’s support in spite of the scandal, reports China News, but so far the appeals aren’t working.

Guo ignited a firestorm of netizen fury after she posted pictures of her wealth online in June 2011 while asserting she was a general manager for the Red Cross. The controversy sparked a backlash against the Red Cross and prompted some Chinese to disavow the organization.

guo meimei

The Red Cross admitted that “three years of rumors and complaining may not be enough to clear the debt”, but still appealed to the virtuous nature of the public:

During this late night we have some colleagues who are packing up their bags to rush over to the earthquake disaster zone in Zhaotong, other colleagues have spent the entire night organizing more relief supplies, while other colleagues deep in the plains of Inner Mongolia to screen impoverished children for heart disease are getting ready to go… with so many people and places that we need to focus on, let’s look at the real facts and take a breath. Please forget her; we need to get operational again.

As if there was a concerted, organized effort to do the exact opposite, Guo Meimei is back in the news. On the official Weibo account for CCTV News, there were nine posts regarding Guo Meimei in a 30 minute time frame after midnight (12:03, 12:10, 12:21, 12:23, 12:24, 12:25, 12:27, 12:30, 12:33) dealing with her being arrested for gambling and prostitution-related crimes.

Here are two of those posts. This one is from 12:03 this morning:

guo meimei smear campaign

Gambling, flaunting of wealth, sex trade.
Beijing police have stated as the result of an investigation that Guo opened a gambling parlor and has earned hundreds of thousands of yuan. In 2010, 19 year-old Guo Meimei established herself as a kept woman for Wang Jun. After their relationship ended, Guo engaged in prostitution with contacts made over the internet and in person with each transaction worth several tens of thousands of yuan. An assistant for Guo stated, “There was a period of time when she would bring a new man home with her and wanted me to keep count.

This CCTV News post is the fifth out of nine such posts, published at 12:24 am:

guo meimei smear campaign

How did Guo Meimei get involved with the Red Cross?
“A friend named Weng had purchased a Bo’ai company, and I invested five million and got 10 percent in stock.” As promised by the “godfather” to Guo Meimei, Mr Wang, Guo would become the company’s CEO. In order to better flaunt her money, Guo had her Weibo account show her occupation had changed from “singer and actress” to “China Red Cross business general manager”.

With constant reminders of Guo’s involvement with the Chinese Red Cross, it’s not surprising netizens aren’t in a mood to forget her, or forgive the Red Cross. 

You’re letting her take all the blame and be your patsy.. Hehe

Please allow me to ask a question: if the all the allegations against the Red Cross are false, then why didn’t the Red Cross report her that year? Why hasn’t the police arrested her? Why is her Sina account is authenticated by the Red Cross? Can all of these questions be explained?

Does CCTV have a lack of prostitutes?

Too funny, are you trying to insult the IQ of the public? Mr Wang didn’t know (Guo was) a CEO? Guo Meimei didn’t know about the Red Cross? There’s no comparison between the two?

In three years, the Red Cross hasn’t been able to prove the innocence of one little prostitute?

*Falls off chair* Please tell me CCTV, what’s the point of all these updates? I’d like to trouble you to please focus upon the earthquake in Yunnan and other important affairs affecting the county. [sweat.emo]

guo meimeiPhotos: CCTV News, screencaps of CCTV News Weibo account (1, 2)


Maybe this is why people are reluctant to donate to charity? Shenzhen family scammed

Posted: 03/11/2013 10:30 am

A Shenzhen family which had been sponsoring a boy in an impoverished village since 1993 has discovered that the boy received no more than 10% of what they had been sending to him, Shenzhen Satellite Television reports. The family was kept so in the dark that they thought the child they sponsored, in Jiangxi Province’s Jinggangshan, was female.

At least four people were taking a cut of what the family was donating, in what could be the biggest scandal related to a Chinese charity since Guo Meimei took to the internet in 2011 to talk about how rich she had got while being associated with the Chinese Red Cross.

For two decades, the family had been donating at least 400 yuan a year to Chen Qiaoxi (a female sounding name), who was a primary school student when they started. In 2011, Chen came to Guangdong to find a job, which was when they discovered that he was a male.

Chen Chubi, the mother of the sponsoring family, told reporters of her surprise when she discovered that Chen had received no more than 40 yuan a year from the family.

Chen Xiaoqi, who now works in Zhongshan, said he had received donations from several families in Shenzhen while growing up, but no individual donation amounted to more than 40 yuan a year.

Yuan Yanting tells reporters of her disappointment.

A reporter from Information Daily in Jiangxi Province told media that his paper was leading an investigation into where the donated money was going.

Yuan Yanting, daughter of Chen Chubi, said she was disappointed but would continue to donate to charities after verifying their credibility.


The light goes on: China to improve PR after Wenzhou, Guo Meimei fiascos

Posted: 08/30/2011 11:05 am

Disaster in Wenzhou

There’s no doubt that people in China have more access to information than ever before, largely thanks to Internet services like Sina Weibo. Where once people in China may have been angry but disconnected, they are now increasingly able to band together for common causes and share their anger over issues such as government corruption, land expropriation, tainted food and more. The popular microblogging service most-recently lit up with angry comments during the Guo Meimei and Wenzhou train crash incidents. (If you’re unfamiliar with these two cases, you can read more about Guo Meimei here and Wenzhou here.)

Both cases were bad in and of themselves, but one could argue they were made worse by PR bumbling. This is not China of the 1970s (or even 1990s) where the government had a monopoly on news and information, which means more is expected of the people trotted out to publicly make the government’s case. The good news is it seems the government has received the message loud and clear. The Nanfang Metropolis News has published a story today (Chinese) on a lecture series offered to public relations spokespeople, using the Guo Meimei and Wenzhou train collision as case studies:

To help government bodies better communicate with their audiences, especially in an age where people can post their opinion relatively freely on social media platforms, the National News Publication Bureau recently organized the eighth national spokespersons training course in Beijing. According to Wang Xuming, former spokesperson for the national education bureau and one of the lecturers during the training, this kind of training isn’t available elsewhere in the world. Previous courses have focused on skills rather than values, but he regards this lecture as a way to help spokespeople establish their moral values.

Liu Pengfei, chief analyst of the press monitoring office of the People’s Daily website and another instructor during the training, suggested all spokespeople open Weibo accounts. Liu said his lesson would focus on how to respond on Weibo. “The Guo Meimei incident started from Weibo and developed all the way to a trust crisis of the Red Cross, and I have to say during the Wenzhou train wreck, the Zhejiang local government utilized its Weibo account to good effect.”

The participants are communication officers from the enterprise (SOEs) and government bodies, (Liu Jintao, the vice president of Shuanghui Group, whose company was involved in the recent poison scandal which started on Weibo, participated the training.) Liu said his lecture is welcomed by these people and they all regard social media communication as crucial.

China’s poor PR apparatus has long been a criticism of this blogger, so this is a good first step.

Thanks to MissXQ (Twitter, Weibo, blog) for the translation.

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