Charitable giving becoming a trend
The simple act of charity has become a new impetus to push forward social development in China, social science experts said yesterday in Beijing at the Second China Philanthropy Forum.
Charitable giving has become a trend of the times and will contribute more to the country's development, especially due to rapid economic development in recent years, participants said.
Large enterprises, especially private enterprises, have gradually accumulated a large number of social resources, said Zi Zhongyun, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Along with private entrepreneurs gaining more recognition by society, more private abundant fortunes will find the right way -- charity," Zi said at the forum.
"Charity is not only a loving care move, but in the long-term, a contribution to social prosperity and security," Zi said. "That's because extreme gaps in wealth will lead to social turmoil which can harm the interests of enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Philanthropy has become part of the four-leg social security system in the country, along with social insurance, social aid and social welfare umbrellas, Minister of Civil Affairs Li Xueju said at the event, which was first launched in 2001.
China has a long history of philanthropy. In recent decades, the practice has been reviving along with the reform and opening-up drive in China, Li said.
The Yangtze River's catastrophic flood in 1998 pushed China's philanthropy up to a peak in the history of its development, Li said.
In 1998, more than 11 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) was collected in donations for philanthropic purposes by China's Charities Federation, the Red Cross Society of China, and other organizations.
In China more than 100 million people are involved in volunteering their time to activities organized by philanthropic organizations. Young people, retired government and party officials, professionals, government officials, workers, and rural people are among the volunteers, Li said.
Non-profit and non-governmental organizations have played fundamental roles in improving charity awareness, said Deng Guosheng, deputy director of the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University.
Inadequate organization and lack of long-term staff of non-profit groups weakened their abilities to fulfil their long-term commitments, Deng said.
In the early 1980s, the government was almost the sole source for Chinese non-profit organizations to draw revenues. In recent years, the non-profit sector has gradually diversified its sources of revenues and can receive money from the beneficiaries of services and from individuals.
Ten groups including Harbin Pharmaceutical Co and 10 individuals including Zhu Yulin, director of Yulin Orphans' Home in Jilin Province, were granted 2004 Charitable Donation Awards by the ministry yesterday to highlight their charitable deeds.
Wang Zhenyao, director of the Disaster Relief Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said China had an effective and transparent donation management and distribution system under the supervision of audit agencies.
But the country still lacks an attractive tax incentive to encourage donations, Wang said. He urged the legislature to improve laws to encourage donations and further improve the management and distribution of donations.