Charity donations fall last year: China philanthropy blue book Published: 2012-7-16 16:54:00

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Decline in donations due to ‘fewer disasters’

Charity donations collected in major Chinese cities last year declined compared with the year before, latest official data showed, with authorities attributing the drop to the fewer natural disasters over the year.

Charity revenue received in 264 cities dropped to around 21.2 billion yuan ($3.32 billion) from 24.2 billion yuan one year earlier, according to figures released on July 14 by the China Charity and Donation Information Center (CCDIC) under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
China philanthropy blue book released

On the heels of a series of scandals involving state charities, many people have described 2011 as a bad year for China’s charities. The country’s generosity ranked very low worldwide in a survey made by a British charitable foundation.
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China's first national charity expo opened on July 12 in the southern city of Shenzhen, displaying the country's charity projects and providing a platform for information-sharing and experience exchanges.

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The reason for decline in donations:

●Officials at CCDIC explained that the reason was similar to the decrease of the donations received nationwide, which was fewer disasters.

"Unlike 2008 and 2010 when the country was hit by major natural disasters such as the Wenchuan and Yushu earthquakes and people donated enthusiastically, fewer donations for disasters were collected in 2011, affecting the total amount," Peng Jianmei, director of the center said.

●Deng Guosheng, director of the Non-governmental Organization Research Center at Tsinghua University, said that donations by individuals dropped sharply last year.  "Many charity funds only have 10 to 20 percent private donations and that's related to the trust crisis the charity organizations are suffering as a result of the scandals."

●Wang Zhenyao, director of the China Philanthropy Research Institute at Beijing Normal University, said that it is hard to draw a conclusion for the reason for the drop, as the figures did not detail the composition of the donations or their sources.

The influence of scandals:

●Peng Jianmei said that only the RCSC was affected to some extent and other organizations were not hurt by the scandal.

●Liu Youping, a deputy director of the CCDIC, acknowledged the scandals did have a negative impact on people's enthusiasm for donating, adding that the slow growth of people's income due to the sluggish economic situation both nationally and internationally was one of the factors

The reason for decline in donations from overseas:

●Liu Youping said the global economic downturn forced some foreign companies to cut their spending on charity. Given the growing economic power of China, some foreign enterprises adjusted their philanthropic strategy in order to help poorer countries.

The weakness of China's charity:

●Xu Jianzhong, deputy head of the Social Welfare and Philanthropy Promotion Division at the ministry, said that China's philanthropy now lacks a complete supervision system and the transparency to public.

How to improve philanthropy in China?

●Vice Premier Hui Liangyu asked charitable organizations to improve their social credibility and level of professionalism. The government should strengthen supervision of charitable organizations so as to boost their transparency and development, Hui said.


illus Charity has to come from the heart, not forced from the wallet
The pubic doubted whether their donations were really used for charity. What is needed now is to rebuild credibility, not further jeopardize it through annoying mandatory donations.
Charity that's not just for show
I believe a large part of this tragedy is a misunderstanding of what charity actually means. If this country wants to have a generation of helping hands in the future, people need to stop simply acting charitably in front of cameras, and start making charity a lifelong habit.
China demands more transparency from charity foundations
Although Guo Meimei was later found to not be employed by the RCSC, the incident prompted worries of charity fund embezzlement and triggered calls for stricter scrutiny.

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