In this issue, the Review wanted to give a voice to different perspectives on the principles guiding humanitarian action. The Chinese Red Cross is an interesting example of a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement operating according not only to the seven Fundamental Principles of the Movement, but also to three additional values (or “spirits”), namely humanity, fraternity and dedication. Whereas the Fundamental Principles serve as institutional rules and provide operational guidance, the three spirits serve as an ideology for members of the Chinese Red Cross. In addition, over the last few years, the Chinese Red Cross has become more and more involved in disaster response operations abroad (for instance, in the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and the earthquake in Nepal in 2015), as well as in China. It is expected that Chinese disaster response organizations will be increasingly involved in future international crises. The Review spoke to Mr Ma Qiang, former Executive Vice-President of the Shanghai branch of the Chinese Red Cross, the oldest Red Cross branch in China, to find out more about how he sees the evolution of the humanitarian sector and the challenges to principled humanitarian action in today’s world.