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Beijing was listed No 1 in a ranking of the most philanthropic Chinese mainland cities unveiled on Monday.
The capital city ranked first among 321 cities on the Chinese mainland with a score of 94 out of a possible 100 points, according to a report based on the China City Philanthropy Indexes 2012.
Shanghai ranked second, while Shenzhen tied with Wuxi in East China's Jiangsu province for third place.
The indexes, designed by the China Charity and Donation Information Center, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, measured cities' philanthropic performances in six areas. They are charitable donations, accounting for 20 points; charitable organizations, 20 points; charitable projects, 16 points; voluntary service, 20 points; government support, 12 points; and the culture of philanthropy, 12 points.
The Beijing government was the most supportive of philanthropy among all surveyed cities, as it scored 11.5 points while the average for other cities polled was 5.76 points. Government support for philanthropy was measured in several ways, including financial support, the implementation of preferential tax policies for donors and management of charitable activities.
Liu Youping, deputy director of the center, said the Beijing government has been actively supporting grassroots organizations, which contributed to its high score in the ranking.
Since 2010, Beijing has allocated specific funds from the government's annual budget to subsidize NGOs to provide public services, with an investment of 50 million yuan ($7.86 million) this year, Beijing News reported.
"The report reflects the philanthropic performance of about half of all Chinese cities," Liu said. "It shows that the governments in general become more supportive toward philanthropic causes and NGOs including charitable organizations."
"We have witnessed that many cities in Guangdong province have simplified the registration procedure for NGOs, and Shanghai has NGO incubators that provide training for professionals in this field," he said.
The ranking also revealed that philanthropy is thriving more in eastern Chinese cities than central and western ones.
The report said the average score for cities in eastern China is about 57 points, around 10 points higher than cities in the central and western parts of China.
Deng Guosheng, a professor specializing in philanthropic studies at the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, said cities in eastern China are usually more economically developed, and the culture of philanthropy reached these regions much earlier than their central and western counterparts.
He explained that the large number of overseas Chinese from eastern coastal areas who immigrated to Western countries and then came back to their hometowns also brought back the culture of charitable giving.
Deng said he hopes the ranking will help the public and the government understand more about the development and changes in philanthropy.
He also expressed his concern over irrational competition.
"I am worried that some city may use government power to force companies or citizens to donate in order to improve their ranking," he said.
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