China has experience of philanthropy during history

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/5/30 0:03:46

I read the article "Chinese philanthropy evolving in the right way" published in your newspaper last week and fully agree with the author.

Indeed China has a history of philanthropy. Unlike Western philanthropy foundations, Chinese charity was mostly carried out by individuals, such as country gentlemen, businessmen, landlords and even ordinary people in ancient times.

Scenes of philanthropy can be found in many Chinese historical TV dramas. During a famine, a local businessman would set up a rough booth to offer porridge. In an isolated area with poor transportation, a country gentleman would donate to build a road. Sometimes, the generosity would be rewarded by the emperor and become an example for others to follow.

Unlike foundations in the West which have years of history, China did not have much experience in establishing philanthropic organizations. It was only after the reform and opening-up that China started to learn about Western ideas and concepts, including setting up philanthropic bodies.

Since the West has judged China with tinted lenses over the last century, China's economic development has gone through a long process. About 100 years ago, China was not even an independent nation and was exploited and bullied by Western countries.

Over 50 years ago, the Chinese could not even feed themselves and around 30 years back, eating meat was a luxury for most Chinese.

But nowadays, as many areas in China are no longer poor, we find most ordinary Chinese to be warm-hearted and very willing to offer a helping hand. When they know that someone is in trouble, they are willing to offer help.

For instance, WeChat mobile payments for eliciting donations are popular and every day there is news of someone needing help. WeChat messages call on people to donate for someone whose family member has been seriously ill or to dole out money for children's education in extremely poor areas. After the information gets broadcast on the app, the money can be raised in a short time, which is truly heartening.

It reveals Chinese kindness and generosity. No matter professional charity organizations or flexible app donation systems, their aim is just to offer help to those in need.

There are indeed a lot of problems with philanthropy in China. These years, Chinese netizens' trust and enthusiasm in charity has been dented to some degree by scandals involving charity. A new philanthropy law is now needed to ensure that charity foundations can regain their credibility.

But there are always twists and turns in the development, which needs time to improve. We have to be patient with Chinese philanthropy.

I truly hope that philanthropy in China will make more progress so that more people would be able to help others while those who are in trouble can get what they need.

Wang Zhuang, a freelancer based in Beijing

Posted in: LETTERS

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