Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - A theoretical analysis of the Red Cross Society of China and ‘alternative facts’ in the Mao Era

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Juniper, New Building

The story of the Red Cross Society during the Mao era (1949-1976) illuminates the dynamics facing civic organizations through socio-political and ideological changes. These changes during Mao’s rule were characterised by new national policies based on Soviet and Communist ideologies, and other factors that riddled the People’s Republic of China (PRC) then. The organization experienced new socio-political structures caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through the PRC’s sponsorship. The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) benefited from Mao’s socialist governmental policies.


During Mao’s rule, social politics took centre stage in terms of how the government interacted with the RCSC. The communist government ran the organization like any other government department.


In 1950, the Minister of Health became President of the RCSC, a major political change in defiance of the Red Cross’s status as an independent social organization. The RCSC, endorsing this ‘alternative fact’, took an active role as a complementary facet to the government’s social activities.


I argue the evolution of the RCSC was due to being forced to choose the administration’s alternative facts over global ones, and to a renewed class consciousness. State-society interactions were integral in changing and reorganizing the RCSC.  However, the RCSC faced challenges from some of the ideological shifts adopted by the government over time.


In addition to discussing international ties and reorganization of the RCSC, this paper will, therefore, discuss how the RCSC is an example of an organization rejecting global consensus in favour of advancing alternative facts.

Bingling Wei

University of Adelaide, Australia

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2 - A theoretical analysis of the Red Cross Society of China and ‘alternative facts’ in the Mao Era



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