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China Issues 1st Charity Activities Program

The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) issued a program, the first of its kind, to further the development of charity activities in China over the next five years, at the China Charity Conference in Beijing on Sunday.


The program reads: "With China's economic, cultural and social conditions improving in recent years, charity is playing an increasingly vital role ... as charity could help to balance the difference between the rich and poor, so as to maintain social stability."


Charity activities should be aimed at helping those with basic living difficulties, and raising their living standards, the program notes.


The program sets forth general requirements and major targets for the development of charity activities in the next five years from 2006 to 2010, and elaborates the guidelines on the principles, basic policies and related measures for charity organizations.


Since China's reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, great improvements have been achieved in the country's charitable undertakings.


Fan Baojun, chair of China Charity Federation (CCF), said at the conference that China now has approximately 280,000 non-governmental charity organizations registered in MCA by the end of 2004. And CCF's membership has increased to 168 in the past 11 years since its founding in 1994. However, the concept of the volunteer charity association is still in its infancy and there are few such foundations in China that are influential. It is required that more charity organizations should be set up across the country to make the charity network more comprehensive.


Since the 1990s, laws and regulations relating to donations, taxation, and charity management have been passed, including the Donation Law on Public Welfare, Registration Regulations for Social Organizations, and Regulations for Foundations. But there are no specific laws or regulations governing the procedure, financing, evaluation and supervision of charity activities, which should be established as soon as possible to ensure smooth operations.


The China Charity Conference, sponsored by MCA and CCF, attracted more than 700 participants.


(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn November 21, 2005)

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