CASS releases blue book on Chinese charity in 2018

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According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ new Charity Blue Book, in 2018 the total amount of social donations in China was about 112.8 billion yuan, a 26% decrease compared to 2017. On the other hand, the contribution value of volunteer services increased by more than 50% from 2017.



On July 13, 2019, the “2019 Charity Blue Book Launch Conference and Chengdu Charity Forum” was held in Chengdu, Sichuan. Nearly 80 people from charity, academia, enterprises, media and the public sector attended the event.

Yang Tuan, a researcher from the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, consultant of the Social Policy Center and chief editor of the “China Charity Development Report”, officially released the Charity Blue Book (2019) and reviewed the trends of development of Chinese charity over the past few years.

The report is devoted to the history and development of China’s charitable causes, and continues to provide new perspectives, ideas, methods and materials. Since 2016, the report has been included in the “Innovation Project of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences”.

In the past ten years, the “Blue Book of Charity” has always been based on the frontline of national reform and development, observing and grasping the growth trends of China’s philanthropy, recording and analyzing the modern philanthropic changes in the interaction of politics, economy, society and culture. After years of accumulation, it has become an important reference material to understand the development process and annual characteristics of China’s modern philanthropy.

Yang Tuan explained that the Charity Blue Book data shows that the total amount of social (or private) donations in China is estimated to be 112.8 billion yuan, down 26% from the 152.6 billion yuan registered in 2017. There are two main reasons for this. On the one hand, with the development of charitable organizations and the guidance of new government policies the number of government departments that directly receives donations has shown a sharp decline. The civil affairs departments have always been in an important position to receive social donations. In 2017 the civil affairs system directly received 2.5 billion of social donations, but the amount of donations received in 2018 was only about 800 million yuan.

On the other hand, China has gradually established a standardized system for medicine prices in order to squeeze out the high prices. Donations of medicine and medical equipment accounted for about 90% of total material donations in the past, thus the decrease in this kind of donation affected the overall material donation statistics. The decline in medical donations has become the main reason for the decline in total donations in 2018.

The Charity Blue Book determines the total value of social charity based upon the sum of three indicators, in other words total social donations, the contribution value of volunteer services and the lottery charity funds. According to the data from the Charity Blue Book 2019, the total value of China’s social charity in 2018 is expected to reach 326.5 billion yuan. 62.3 million volunteers participated in volunteer service activities through 1.43 million volunteer service organizations in 2018, contributing to a total of 2.2 billion hours of volunteer services, with a total value of 82.36 billion yuan, an increase of more than 50% over 2017. Welfare lotteries and sports lotteries raised a total of 131.36 billion yuan of funds for charity, an increase of 17.04 billion yuan compared to the previous year.

In terms of social organizations, in 2017 the total number of social organizations was 762.000, out of which 6,307 were foundations, 355.000 were social groups and 400.000 were social service organizations. By the end of 2018 the total number of social organizations in the country was 816.000, an increase of 7.1% compared with 2017, meaning that the annual rate of growth actually declined. Among them there were 7027 foundations, 366.000 social groups and 443.000 social service organizations.

Yang Tuan, referring to his observations on the development of China’s charity in 2018, claimed that it reveals a general trend reflecting the needs of various different entities in China’s specific environment. Because the country finds itself in the midst of an unprecedented political and economic global turbulence, multiple uncertainties have caused frequent conflicts in social life. Talking about future trends, Yang Tuan said he believes that in future charity will be tense, more rigid than flexible, more concentrated than scattered and at the same time will grow to have a dynamic and powerful impact.