| Global Times | 2012-12-14 1:20:04
By Yin Yeping
Beijing Olympic Forest Park and the Red Cross Society of China denied Thursday that a villa complex was owned by the Red Cross.
The clarification followed online allegations that the Red Cross had bought the luxury homes using public funds.
Zhou Shuo, media officer of the Beijing Olympic Forest Park in Chaoyang district, said that the villas were there long before the park was constructed in 2006, which has nothing to do with the Red Cross.
A Web user named Mengzi Mencius, who identified himself as the CEO of a search engine 7SOYO, claimed Wednesday on his Sina microblog that the dozens of empty villas near the Olympic Forest Park were illegally owned by the Red Cross.
The Web user did not provide any evidence for his allegations, and did not respond to interview requests.
"This villa area has been there for 10 years," he posted.
The microblog was immediately reposted over 7,000 times with over 1,000 comments, most calling for an investigation.
Ma Hui, media officer of the Red Cross Society of China said that they do not have any property at the park.
"We are investigating this," she said.
The villa complex, to the southeast of the park, has dozens of abandoned houses, which do not appear to have been lived in. Fixtures and fittings are in decay, and gates, windows and doors are missing.
"The villas don't have property deeds and they are leftover from a demolition project for the 2008 Olympic Games," said Zhou, "Now they're under our management."
She also noted that discussions are still ongoing about the fate of these properties.
The rumor has been troublesome, said Zhou, and has affected their work since many people have questioned them about these properties and their connection with the Red Cross.
"The Red Cross has not reached us about this yet," she said, adding that they will investigate this rumor later.
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