The deputy director of the Social Policy Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yang Tuan, believes that social organizations need all kind of supports in order to develop further. Most importantly, the government needs to release its grasp on the sector, and let the public welfare govern itself so that donors, fundraisers, and actors of the public welfare system can regain their rightful place and reach their full potential. Throughout this interview, she calls for a reform of the tax exemption system, of the social organization registration system and a clear distinction between governmental and societal organizations.
Laws regulating tax exemptions for social organizations must be clarified. Yang Tuan points out that both laws and government documents regulating this issue are unclear, full of contradictions and often not even enforced.
She raises a second important point which is the vitality of social organizations. She explains that social organizations are lacking vitality because the distinction between the government and the market in the social sphere is not clearly defined in China. Therefore, very often, funds raised by different types of organizations to carry out public interest or philanthropic activities end up in the hands of the government or government-approved organizations. Therefore, social organizations cannot decide freely on how to use this money.
She also calls for a reform of the social organizations registration system by allowing social organizations to simply register with Civil Affairs instead of seeking their approval. This reform would simplify the current system and reduce the government’s influence on social organizations. Equally, local governments should follow the central governments’ directives when carrying out government procurement of service and fund actual grassroots organizations rather than GONGOs.
She concludes by explaining that the concept of “de-administratization” (去行政化) is new in China and can be traced back to the 18th Congress 3rd Plenum decision. Therefore, it will take some time before these reforms can be realized.