• U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Rescue Center.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits the Beijing Red Cross Emergency Rescue Center. (Photo : Getty Images)

According to Wang Rupeng, vice-president of the Red Cross Society of China, the revised Red Cross Society Law will serve as a milestone for the reform and development of the RCSC. It will also promote the society's participation in humanitarian work.

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The revised law was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and will take effect on May 8. This is the first revision of the Red Cross Society law since it was adopted in 1993.

Wang said: "Major amendments include setting up a supervision board at the RCSC to improve supervision of the organization; expanding the RCSC's official duties to participating in and promoting voluntary blood donation, and body and organ donation; and intensifying auditing of donations received by the Red Cross."

The new chapter of the law imposes criminal sanctions if China's Red Cross societies or their staff members violate rules, such as either failing to give feedback to donors about the use of their donations or handling donations without donors' permission.

Besides this, other organizations or individuals may also face criminal sanctions for a variety of offenses. These include hindering staff members of Red Cross societies from performing rescue and relief duties, infringing the symbols or names of the Red Cross, as well as producing, publishing or spreading false information that damages the reputation of Red Cross societies.

Employees of government departments at all levels are not exempted, as they may also face criminal sanctions for abusing their power while managing China's Red Cross societies.

According to Wang, China's Red Cross societies have actively participated in organ donation in recent years following guidelines released by the central government, but a lack of legislation has been a big obstacle.

As the revised law will enable RCSCs to share their duties with health authorities in organ donation, it will contribute to the better promotion of organ donation in China.

The new duties of RCSCs when it comes to organ donation include witnessing the acquisition of organs, organizing registration for donors and leading commemoration activities.