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What new opportunities will the handover present for the Red Cross in Hong Kong?

“I, ..., as a member of the Hong Kong Red Cross, promise to serve the country in which I live and to join with others all over the world to help the sick and suffering.”

From 1 July 1997, this solemn oath taken by every new member of the Hong Kong Red Cross will carry a new meaning to the individual and to the Hong Kong Red Cross.

The Hong Kong Red Cross was established in 1950 as a branch of the British Red Cross Society. However, on 1 July of this year, China resumes sovereignty over Hong Kong and since the Movement’s fundamental principle of unity stipulates that there can be only one National Society in each country, the Hong Kong Red Cross will change its affiliation to become a branch of the Red Cross Society of China.

The Hong Kong Red Cross currently functions quite independently, both financially and in terms of running its own services to meet the needs of the local community. The forthcoming transition will create no disruption or change to existing operations. However, we will adopt the emblem of the Red Cross Society of China; uniform insignias and awards will also be localized.

This historic transition will give us a new sense of mission. New social issues and needs may emerge in Hong Kong and we will continue to provide humanitarian services to vulnerable people in the community. The closer ties with the Red Cross Society of China will open up new opportunities for us to work together with our colleagues in China.

We are confident in our new-found relationship with the Red Cross Society of China, which is based on mutual respect and support. The Hong Kong Red Cross will continue to do its utmost to promote the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross and to continue to play an active role in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to prevent and ease suffering in Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

Hong Kong is a place for both dreamers and pragmatists. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Chinese characters for crisis () and opportunity () are so similar: we look upon 1997 as the beginning of a new challenge, one filled with opportunity.

Christine Fang
Secretary General of the Hong Kong Red Cross



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