China Is Set To Pass Its First Ever Charity Law
Here's some good news! China is about to pass its first charity law, seeking to increase the public's confidence in charitable organisations, while also tightening its control of the sector. China's charities have been slammed by years of scandal, making donations slim.
This month, the draft of the new law was presented to the National People's Congress, the country's Communist-controlled parliament, at its annual session in Beijing. The Congress is due to approve China's next five year plan, which aims to drastically reduce poverty by 2020. Officials have declared charitable organisations essential to achieving this goal.
However, as the China's economy has expanded to the second largest in the world, charitable donations have been scarce. The country is currently ranked 144th out of 145 countries for giving, according to a study last year by the Charities Aid Foundation.
According to Xinhua, China's official news agency, the new law is intended to "recruit help from good Samaritans in realising the 2020 poverty alleviation target".
"All non-governmental sources should be encouraged to contribute to poverty alleviation. Charity programmes are indispensable for the fight against poverty," stated senior NPC official Li Jianguo.
Expert on Chinese law, Susan Finder, asserts the draft "is generally considered to be a step forward", as it reduces the regulatory burden of contributing companies.
After the devastating 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, charities experienced a surge in popularity. However, a series of very public scandals have left the Chinese public suspicious of non-profit companies.
For example, in 2011, the reputation of China's Red Cross suffered a serious blow; a spendthrift blogger claimed to be in charge of the finances of one of its subsidiaries. Photos of the woman responsible enjoying fast cars and couture fashion outraged the public, and rates of giving greatly decreased. But here's hoping the new charity law convinces the public to put their faith back in charities!