Who the hell is Guo Meimei?

China’s netizens recently launched a massive Internet hunt for a woman named Guo Meimei, a 20-year-old who became famous after flaunting her wealth on weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like internet society. On her micro blog “Baby Guo Meimei”, she posted many pictures displaying her lavish lifestyle.

But it wasn’t her wealthy lifestyle that attracted netizens attention; it was her claim that she was the general manager of Red Cross Commerce, which suggested that her wealth might have a connection with the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC), China’s biggest charitable organization.

Guo’s behavior led to concerns about RCSC corruption and misuse of donations. The RCSC has denied it has any connection with Guo Meimei, and its spokesman said there is no organization called Red Cross Commerce, the RCSC did not employ Guo as a general manager and Guo has no connection with any stuff members employed by the RCSC.

People have long complained about the RCSC’s lack of transparency and the Guo Meimei incident was not the first one concerning the charity to arouse public anger. On April 15th, a dining receipt was disclosed on weibo.com, showing that the RCSC office in Shanghai’s Luwan district spent 9,859 Yuan (US$1,500) on a lunch for 17 people at high-end restaurant Huigongguan on February 28.

China’s Audit Administration announced on Monday that the RCSC has not used its funds according to its budget plan and that its financial statements are murky.

Many people are now boycotting the RCSC and encouraging others to do likewise.

Why is the issue so emotive? Because it arouses people’s discontent.

The gap between rich and poor is growing wider, and there is increasing social injustice and unfairness. Anger against the powerful and the rich, distrust of charitable organizations and actions, bitterness at the unfairness of resources distribution, these were all displayed in netizens’ responses to the exhibitionism of Guo Meimei. 

Guo is young, beautiful and rich. How can such a young lady have such a lifestyle if she is not from a wealthy family? How did the family get its money? These are questions netizens want answered.

The Internet hunt will not stop until people find out: Who the hell is Guo Meimei?

Peng Bo is an editor at April 4th Media, write to him at pb.bloomberg@gmail.com

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