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Chinese Firms, Millionaires Urged to Do More for Charity
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Enterprises and millionaires need to open their wallets to those in difficulty, a senior official said yesterday.


In China, only 100,000 enterprises from the registered 10 million companies have donated money or other things to the needy: Just 1 percent.


Experts said there are two main reasons for the absence of corporate donations. One is that the charity infrastructure is still underdeveloped, as only about 100 charity organizations have been set up in the past 11 years.


Another reason is that the government has failed to provide policies that encourage businesses to give.


"Chinese Government will make new policies, such as more favorable tax standards, and better social atmosphere to encourage corporate donations," Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo told a press conference held by the Information Office of State Council.


The ministry will take steps in the New Year to support the development of non-governmental organizations which work to boost charities and social welfare, Li noted.


To help millions of people stricken by various disasters, the central government gave 8.7 billion yuan (US$1.05 billion) in 2005.


However, at the same time, the total donation from the public was only 2.1 billion yuan (US$260 million), Li said.


What is more, 80 million people affected by various natural disasters are waiting for support in cold winds as Spring Festival approaches.


To help these people lead a normal life in the winter, the central government has allocated 1.2 billion yuan (US$149 million), but this figure is far from enough, Li noted.


According to China Charity Federation, the country's 100 national-level charity organizations received donations of only about 5 billion yuan (US$600 million) this year, accounting for 0.5 percent of the GDP.


In US, people donate at least US$670 billion to various foundations annually, 9 percent of the GDP.


(China Daily January 6, 2006)


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