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Views on charity must change, seminar is told
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Chinese people often have misguided views of what constitutes charity work, a seminar organized by the Shanghai Charity Foundation heard yesterday.

Professor Li Zhanwu from the Beijing Normal University said while homegrown enterprises were more than willing to involve themselves in charitable efforts, many were short on experience and skills.

"Money donation usually is the only way for domestic enterprises to engage in charity, while multinational companies donate also technical knowledge, facilities and products to take account of the requirements of those in need," Li said.

He added: "Some charity organizations don't have a transparent system, and if donors don't know where their money is going to, gradually they'll lose confidence in the organization."

Even in colleges, there were some mistaken views on charity.

Xie Baoting, an official with the Students' Growing Service Center, said, according to a survey carried out by the center, needy students were more likely to misunderstand the concept of charity.

"They regard charity the same as the government's subsidies, rather than a voluntary social act," said Xie.

"Some students believe charity is wealthy people's affair, and that as they still have economic difficulties they don't have to get involved."

At the seminar, experts suggested the government establish special funds for charity support, make efforts to change people's ideas about charity, and establish the concept of social responsibilities in enterprises.

"Changing the balance of charity development needs the government to create a good charity environment in society, to promote a win-win strategy for both enterprises and charity organizations," said Li.

(Shanghai Daily, December 6, 2007)

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