BEIJING, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Online scandals have been one of the leading factors that have contributed to a fall in personal donations to China's Red Cross, according to a senior official with the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) Wednesday.
Zhao Baige, the RCSC's executive vice president, said at a meeting of the RCSC's ninth council that, of the nearly 4.2 billion yuan (660 mln U.S. dollars) of donations raised by the Chinese Red Cross in 2011, "personal contributions were few."
However, Zhao did not offer a breakdown of the figures, saying relevant data were being processed.
The credibility of China's Red Cross was questioned by the public in late June, when a 20-year-old woman calling herself "Guo Meimei" claimed to be a general manager for "Red Cross Commerce" and posted many photos on her microblog detailing her lavish lifestyle.
Her displays of wealth provoked ire, and there was public speculation that she might have embezzled money from the RCSC.
Despite the RCSC's denial of the existence of Red Cross Commerce, various online polls have suggested that many Chinese showed less willingness to donate to charity.
In the wake of the incident, media outlets reported in September the Soong Ching Ling Foundation in central Henan province had embezzled charitable donations and lent large amounts of money to real-estate companies for the construction of luxury apartments.
Despite an investigation and auditing that have proved the RCSC's innocence, such "online incidents" have demonstrated the RCSC does have loopholes in its system, publicity and crisis management, Zhao said.
Zhao pledged to make RCSC's management more transparent and standardized and "establish smooth channels that bridge communication between the RCSC and the public."
In the same meeting, RCSC President Hua Jianmin vowed to deepen reform, enforce strict management and embrace transparency in order to safeguard the RCSC's credibility.