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Charity donations hit 3.2 bln yuan last year
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Chinese citizens' donations to charity totaled 3.2 billion yuan (about 438 million U.S. dollars) last year, according to a Ministry of Civil Affairs report.

The report said that in 2007, donations from individuals and businesses were about 22.316 billion yuan, equal to 0.09 percent of gross domestic product, up 123 percent from 2006. Donations from overseas stood at 8.609 billion yuan. The total of domestic and overseas donations, which exceeded 30.9 billion yuan, was double the 2006 figure.

The report highlighted four characteristics of 2007 donations:

-- charity donations from citizens reached 3.2 billion yuan

-- there were 13 donations exceeding 100 million yuan

-- 60 percent of donations were for educational purposes or charity

-- the government remained the major donor

Meanwhile, a charity information center has forecast that private foundations would soon overtake the government and non-governmental organizations to become the main source of charity in China.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and charity groups, the China Charity Information Center said in a new report that as the number of private charitable foundations increased, they would play an indispensable role in the country's welfare activities.

Under new tax rules, businesses' charitable donations of less than 12 percent of total annual earnings will be tax-exempt, against 3 percent under the old regulations. That change was likely to encourage corporate giving, the report said. It also forecast that within five years, the most influential foundations in China would be private organizations.

Also, it said, because Chinese governments at all levels were promoting charitable giving, accompanied by extensive publicity, citizens were more interested in giving. More individuals, including artists and celebrities, were donating money or establishing foundations, it said.

(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)

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