Minitrue: Red Cross Rents Storage to Shipping Co’s
The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.
Feng Jun’s investigative report for Tencent reveals that the Red Cross was given storage space for emergency supplies in a Beijing suburb, which it then rented out to logistics companies, including the German company DHL, through an intermediary [Chinese]:
Viewed from the outside, the storage facility is surrounded by an approximately four meter [13 foot] wall, inside of which is a line of 10-meter [33 foot] poplars, totally concealing the sign for the “Red Cross Society of China Emergency Supply Collection Center” and the symbol of the Red Cross. All that can be seen of the four warehouses are their white roofs. Public security officers at the entrance train their eyes on the intermittent cars and people entering and leaving the facility.
This enormous, somewhat “mysterious” facility was built four years ago. After the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the country suddenly took seriously disaster relief preparations. In October 2010, the Ministry of Finance allocated 117 million RMB [19 million USD] for the construction of the first national disaster relief supply storage facility, administered as the Red Cross Society of China’s Emergency Supply Collection Center (Emergency Center).
[…] “Everyone knows it isn’t the emergency supply warehouse that it appears to be. They just took up this space, built some warehouses, then rented them out. It’s actually a logistics center,” a 60-year-old villager told Tencent Finance. He worked at the cement factory in Niulanshan Township until the factory closed in 2003. The factory land was requisitioned for the Emergency Center.
“I heard they rent the warehouses to an intermediary, which then sublets to several logistics companies. I think the country wasted its money.” In interviews with over ten residents and businesses, no one mentioned seeing “disaster relief supplies being transported into [the facility].”
On the afternoon of April 1, Tencent Finance saw several people wearing “Beijing Tongyi Logistics” uniforms waiting outside the west gate. They said they worked for this company and had “come to pick up goods.” The workers revealed that they were collecting computers, printers, and other electronics, and that they had not seen quilts, tents, or other emergency supplies inside the facility.
The Red Cross has suffered public distrust since playgirl Guo Meimei claimed to be the organization’s “commercial general manager” in 2011. While Guo later admitted her lie, she has resurfaced after other natural disasters. Meanwhile, the Red Cross has struggled to rebuild its reputation.
When a 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook Yunnan on August 4, Guo Meimei confessed to gambling on national television, adding an apology for smearing the Red Cross. The confession backfired, as netizens fumed that Guo’s confession had shunted real news aside.
Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source.