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October 27, 2011

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Red Cross hairy crab feast claim 'untrue'

INTERNET watchdogs yesterday dismissed claims that city Red Cross staff spent almost 10,000 yuan (US$1,573) of the charity's money on a banquet of hairy crabs.

The Shanghai Internet media office, the city's online monitoring office, said it spoke with the Red Cross officials and was satisfied the claims were untrue.

"There was no such banquet and the accusations should end," an official with the office, Zhong Shan, told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Microblogger, "Zuoyeben," with 1 million followers on, posted on Monday that a member of Red Cross staff ordered a 96,000 yuan meal at Chenglonghang hairy crab restaurant on Jiujiang Road, Huangpu District, asking for an invoice in the name of Red Cross Luwan.

"It was in the week after the National Day holiday," Zuoyeben posted.

"If I've made that up, then may I die like a dog."

The microblogger added: "A man in a white shirt, about 170 centimeters tall, came out of a room containing four people and said to the waiter, 'file an invoice for me in the name of Red Cross Luwan District. And be quick.'"

The post, which was reposted 2,000 times, was later deleted. Zuoyeben admitted deleting the post but stood by its authenticity.

But Zhong said since Luwan and Huangpu districts merged in July, its Red Cross branches have operated under the Huangpu name. It would be pointless to file an invoice with Luwan, said the official.

A Red Cross Huangpu official also dismissed the claims. "It's definitely fabricated," said an official, who asked not to be named. "We've never even heard of the restaurant. "

Refering to Zuoyeben's oath, should he be lying, the official added: "That guy should really keep his word."

The Luwan District branch of the Red Cross was involved in a meal scandal in April when it admitted spending 9,859 yuan on a staff dinner, following online claims.


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