China’s Charity Law has officially come into force on the first of September 2016. As the first basic and comprehensive law for all charitable activities, it is supposed to lead and promote the development of charity in China.
Beijing‘s Civil Affairs Bureau held a press conference on the 29th of August centring around the Charity Law, during which some related activities were announced. Beijing’s municipal government has set a goal for the building of a ‘charitable Beijing’ which takes the city’s special urban identity and development strategies into account. This goal has been included in the city’s ’13th five-year plan’, and a document has been published including the detailed guidelines and principles for achieving it.
Since 2014, Beijing has already enacted more than 40 local regulations on philanthropy, relating to fields including organisation registration, trust building, voluntary services, social worker training, information publication, social supervision, social aid and governmental purchase of charitable services. These local regulations have provided Beijing’s philanthropy with an institutional guarantee.
In the wake of enacting these regulations, Beijing became the first city in China to implement direct registration for charitable organisations. The city spent up to a billion yuan purchasing the services provided by social organisations, and bought life insurance for three million registered volunteers.
At present there are 32,000 social organisations registered in Beijing. According to the definitions contained in the Charity Law, 3722 of them are charitable organisations, 409 are foundations, 3087 are private non-enterprise units, and 236 are social groups. The number of members of staff totals 62,600, out of which 40,000 are full-time volunteers.
Furthermore, all of the assets of Beijing’s charitable organisations add up to 18,67 billion yuan; annual income is 9.57 billion yuan and annual expenditure 8.62 billion yuan. Beijing’s charitable sector includes poverty and disaster relief, old age care, medical and schooling assistance, community services, culture heritage and environmental protection. It was calculated that in 2015 charitable organisations in Beijing gave assistance to 10,921 people with an expenditure of 66.08 million yuan.
Beijing’s government has carried out plenty of activities to promote the Charity Law and charitable culture. In 2015, the city government received 3.221 billion yuan in donations, compared with 1.273 billion in 2011. Furthermore, the total number of donations collected during the “12th five year plan” was 15.139 billion. To reinforce public trust in the donations management, the Civil Affairs Bureau of Beijing has also set up an office to fulfil the responsibilities of supervision.
An activity entitled ‘Beijing’s Charity Week’ will be held at the China Agricultural Exhibition Hall on September 1-6, corresponding to the first six days of enforcement of the Charity Law. During the activity there will be various charitable exhibitions organized by more than 150 organisations from across Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. Citizens will be able to visit and gain a better understanding of charity.