Abstract : Blockchain, big data and even IoT are not new to charity and relevant applications are very mature in this field. However, Red Cross Society in China still adopted the most ancient approach of ‘introduction letters’ and ruined its reputation with scandals. New technologies applied in charity field will break black boxes such as Red Cross Society in China. We will go and see how long this black box remains.
Since the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus, hospitals in Hubei have been seeking help on social media to obtain necessary aids including surgical masks, protective clothing and other medical supplies and received active responses across the nation and even the world.
It is necessary and reasonable to establish a system to allocate supplies and donation to cope with possible situations such as one hospital has over sufficient medical kits that it needs while the other has insufficient supplies. Ma Guoqiang, the party secretary of Wuhan, said on an interview with Bai Yansong yesterday that all donations will be managed by the Red Cross Society of Hubei and Hubei Charity General Association. Meanwhile, logistic companies including SF Express, JDWuliu and BEST have opened green channels for donated items all of which will go directly to Red Cross Society of Hubei.
What makes Red Cross qualify to managed donated supplies?
In many countries, Red Cross Society provide emergency medical services and work closely with the local healthcare system. China is no exception. The Red Cross Society in China is managed and led by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.
In China, the main responsibilities of the Red Cross include carrying out rescue and disaster relief related work and establishing a Red Cross emergency rescue system. In emergencies such as wars, armed conflicts, natural disasters, accidents, and public health events, emergency aids and humanitarian assistance are provided to the wounded, the sick and other victims. The Hubei Red Cross Society is led by the Chinese Red Cross Federation, and the Wuhan Red Cross is under the Hubei Red Cross Society.
Therefore, the Red Cross Society shall be led and managed by the Chinese government, be monitored by the general public in China, as well as manage distribution of medical supplies to hospitals. The Red Cross Society in Hubei only has around 20 staff, a football playground and 2 vehicles. It is obvious that they are incapable of managing all the donations that are worth of millions of dollars. So far, this charity organization has done an extremely horrendous job.
Their donation management is not timely, transparent or under public supervision. By 1 February, the Red Cross Society of Hubei only issued an article once about how they utilized donated resources to prevent and control new coronavirus. The general public can merely guess how many donated items the Red Cross Society has received, where the supplies have been stored, how much donation has been distributed, which hospitals have received medical supplies and what the distribution plan will be based on words on social media.
The Red Cross Society seems to be a black box, as they do not have any track of donated items, they have distributed resources in an illogical manner or even worse, the donation ‘disappeared’.
How new technology breaks the black box?
Unlike the black box of Red Cross Society in China, charity organizations are strictly managed with modern working methods under the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).
MCA published an action plan themed as Internet+ Social Organization (Social Work and Voluntary Services), which put forward the promotion of publicizing information and transparency among charity organizations.
That means to implement the information disclosure requirements of the "Charity Law of the People's Republic of China", transform and upgrade the "Charity China" platform ... Explore the application of blockchain technology in public welfare donations, charity tracking, transparent management, and build a tamper-resistant charity organization Information query system to enhance the authority, transparency and public trust of information publishing and search services.
It was also mentioned in the Action Plan that a blockchain technology plan will be selected for a new round of Charity China platform upgrading. Then, the new platform can link to and transmit data with online donation information platforms, and collect data from local charity organizations and online fundraising platforms.
In fact, blockchain has been widely applied by all sorts of charity organizations. The technology can help improve information disclosure and transparency supervision. Blockchain is a distributed ledger system and consensus between nodes can imply transparent transactions.
GiveTrack, a fundraising platform developed by BitGive R&D team provides unprecedented transparecny for non-profit fundraising with a fund transfer and tracking solution. GiveTrack can keep permanent records of all transactions, including the source and use of funds. It can help facilitate social and regulatory tracking the sources and destinations of funds.
In China, JD.com Gongyi had their first attempts via blockchain technology. In September 2017, Teacher For China announced their public welfare project on JD.com’s platform.
Blockchain is highly efficient in resource allocation and coordination between organizations, as it is capable of managing data from different organizations.
In October 2017, Tencent’s Blockchain Research Institute launched a "Public Welfare Tracing Chain" platform. In the past, tracing notices needed to be released on multiple platforms separately. But with this new platform, a notice can be uploaded real-time on multiple platforms. Blockchain technology effectively combines a variety of tracing information release channels, and operates independently from the original platform, becoming a multi-point linkage, achieving 1 + 1> 2, helping people who have lost contact with their families for reunion as soon as possible.
The Chinese Red Cross Foundation established its blockchain lab in 2017 but no results have been yielded in the past 3 years.
Blockchain, big data and even IoT are not new to charity and relevant applications are very mature in this field. However, Red Cross Society in China still adopted the most ancient approach of ‘introduction letters’ and ruined its reputation with scandals. New technologies applied in charity field will break black boxes such as Red Cross Society in China. We will go and see how long this black box remains.