From the Chinese Press

Updated: 2013-05-16 07:57

(China Daily)

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Red Cross reform

While reforming the Red Cross Society of China, special attention should be paid to its social and managerial aspects, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

Though people want the Red Cross to undergo reforms, public opinion on the methods and measures differs because of its not-so-simple social, global and administrative functions.

The Red Cross reform should thus focus on overhauling its social and administrative sectors, which is a tough task. Since Red Cross societies in many other countries also have close ties with their governments, just delinking the Red Cross Society of China from the government will be of little use. The government connection, however, is the advantage of the Red Cross and should help attract more donations from the public. Otherwise, people will never see it as a real charity organization.

Red Cross societies across the world perform certain government functions. For example, in the US the Red Cross is in charge of allocating disaster-relief funds. In China, the Shanghai branch of Red Cross has launched a medical insurance project for children suffering from serious illnesses, a project which the government can support financially.

The Red Cross reform should also focus on transparency, which should include the publication of all transactions in details. It should invite experts and elites on its board to help make its daily operation and decision-making process more open and bridge the communication gap with the public.

Educating migrants' children

More funds and resources should be allocated to schools in rural areas and hukou (house registration) norms should be relaxed in cities to help "left-behind children" get proper education, says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

By the end of 2010, migrant workers had left behind 96.83 million children in villages, according to a report issued by the All-China Women's Federation on May 9. Of them, about 20.57 million lived alone.

This situation is at odds with our ancestors' custom that expostulates people avoid leaving home while their parents are alive. The "empty-nest" phenomenon in the countryside is alarming because a huge number of children cannot get proper parental care and good education, essential for the healthy development of children.

Children shouldn't become the victims of the hukou system and the unbalanced social and economic development between urban and rural areas. Local governments are interested in only the dividend created by left-behind children's parents. They are not prepared to accept entire families of migrant workers into cities.

The problem, however, cannot be solved by just abolishing the hukou system, because many migrant workers' incomes are not enough to cover their children's education and other expenses in cities. Therefore, a more balanced approach is needed to address the problem. To begin with, new boarding schools should be built (and old ones improved) in the countryside while the hukou system is phased out gradually.

(China Daily 05/16/2013 page9)