Along with the profound changes in China’s socio-economic environment, various economic factors and means of distribution have emerged, giving rise to new interest groups and forming a more diversified framework. Statistics show that five percent of the Chinese population may now be classified as rich and 60 percent are above the official poverty line. However, a disadvantageous stratum has also taken shape, including the disabled, orphaned, childless elderly, rural dwellers in poverty-stricken areas, the unemployed and laid-off workers in urban areas and those reduced to poverty by disasters and accidents, according to CPPCC member Wang Heling in his speech to the fourth session of the Ninth CPPCC National Committee which convened between March 3-12 in Beijing.
Despite the manifest success of the government’s poverty relief plan, there are still a number of rural residents below the poverty line. High unemployment will, in the long run, curtail the development of social welfare, said Wang.
He further argued that under the market economy, a charity system should be developed in response to social problems, giving care and aid to various disadvantaged groups. This will be conducive to the development of social welfare and to social stability and advancement. Governments at various levels and personage of all walks of life should work together to foster the maturity of such a system.
According to Wang, old-fashioned charity donation alone is no longer sufficient. China should learn from the advanced countries to build up and improve charity work in four aspects, namely charity fund raising, fund operation and management, feedback of fund application and promotion of charity drives.
With government support, guidance by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, civil charity organizations should be promoted that feature self-management and self-rule, in order to attract giving from various social groups, enterprises, religious groups and both domestic and overseas donors. In cities, charity work can find a niche in community service whereas in the rural area, it is part of poverty relief. Famous projects like the Hope Project can be better organized to play a bigger role in social welfare, said Wang.
(CIIC by Gao Kun 03/14/2001)