BEIJING - China might have more private charity foundations than government-run ones by the end of the year, according to a Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs official.
The number of private charity foundations has already surpassed the number of the government-run ones in ten province-level regions, said Zheng Yuanchang, head of the ministry's charity affairs section.
China's private charity foundations have seen rapid growth since 2007 and the nation expects a charity "boom" over the next 10 to 20 years, said a blue book on charity released on Tuesday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), a key government think tank.
The number of private foundations in China had almost doubled in the past three years, increasing from 436 in 2007 to 846 in 2009, the "Annual Report on China's Philanthropy (2010)" said.
Legal private foundations first appeared in China after regulations on foundations were promulgated by the State Council in 2004.
More open policies for China's private-run foundations have given Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs greater opportunity to do charitable work, said Liu Zhouhong, deputy secretary-general of the Narada Foundation, a Beijing-based private charity foundation.
Private foundations are a breath of fresh air for China's charity cause, which was previously dominated by government-run organizations, Liu said.
Moreover, many private charity foundations have established sound board-of-trustees-centered governance structures, boosting the credibility of the foundations, Liu said.
Private charity foundations in China still face problems and lack of independence and dearth of professional staff, said Xu Guangyong, secretary-general of the Narada Foundation.
To address these problems, the blue book suggested better staff training, more cooperation among different industries, and more government support, such as tax breaks.