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China Red Cross Marks 100 Years

For a year, the Red Cross of China helped Linda Wells search for a stem cell match for her daughter.

After much effort, the American mother found the cells her adopted Chinese daughter needed to survive.

"The Chinese Red Cross Society and all of the volunteers are a shining example to the world that when we join efforts we can accomplish miracles," Wells said late last year in Beijing after receiving a perfect serological match donated by a Chinese cord blood bank.

She is not alone in her feelings.

The Red Cross Society of China, which celebrates its 100th anniversary Wednesday, has helped millions of people find a ray of hope.

The Red Cross is a humanitarian organization devoted to providing care to those in need.

Since its founding, the Red Cross Society of China has developed a wide range of activities to help the needy, from war and disaster relief to community services, and from free blood donations to health services, said a senior official with the society.

Founded on March 10, 1904, the Red Cross Society of China has helped wounded soldiers in wartime and refugees in times of conflict, and provided assistance to disaster victims.

Whenever it is possible, the society supports relief activities in other countries and regions.

In August 1950, after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the society was reorganized with the support of the central government, and reassumed its legal membership in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

"Dedication to Red Cross principles and ideals are increasingly hallmarks of the Chinese Red Cross, which has consistently developed its own institutional capacities, becoming actively involved in the life of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement," said Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross in a letter to mark the anniversary.

The Red Cross Society of China assists the Chinese government in implementing the Geneva Convention, and provides support to the state in its work to develop the country and improve the health and lives of the people.

In 1993, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress officially promulgated the Red Cross Law of China, which provides legal protection for the Chinese Red Cross in its work.

The Red Cross of Hong Kong and Macao became autonomous branches of the society in 1997 and 1999, respectively.

Since China implemented its reform and opening program in 1978, the society developed rapidly. Currently, there are more than 70,000 Red Cross branches with 20 million members at various levels.

(China Daily March 10, 2004)

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