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A businessman connected to China's Red Cross Society has resigned, after he admitted to being the boyfriend of a woman at the center of an online controversy. Chinese netizens were irate when 20 old Guo Meimei posted photos of her lavish life online, which called into question the operations of China's Red Cross.
20-year-old Guo Meimei boasted a life most only dream of. She sparked massive cyber controversy last month after flaunting her high-roller life. Now the online fury has spilled over into reality, entangling China's largest charitable organization—the China Red Cross.
Two weeks ago, Chinese netizens noticed Guo posting pictures of her jet-set life on Sino Weibo, a Chinese microblog. She's seen posing with a white Maserati, sipping a drink on a business-class flight and then claiming to be a "General Manager of the Red Cross Commerce."
The cyber storm erupted from there.
But what first started as heated online debate now has heads rolling. On Monday, the chairman of a for-profit company linked to the Red Cross has resigned. Wang Jun is Guo's boyfriend, and has admitted to showering her with lavish cars and handbags. He headed several companies related to the charitable activities of the Red Cross.
[Liu Feiyue, Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch]:
"Authorities have heavy control of print media, but the Internet has been able to retain a level of independence. People are able to make some noise. A lot of hot topics now are first exposed online, and then becomes the something that's hotly debated."
The online fury added steam to common accusations of corruption of China's Red Cross. It and other state controlled charitable organizations are often accused of non-transparent operations and misusing donations.