75 social groups and 29 social service institutions accredited as charities in China

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According to the publicly available statistics, as of the end of June 2017, there were 1245 organizations that had officially been accredited as charities (慈善组织) in China, including 1141 foundations, 75 social groups (社会团体) and 29 social service institutions (社会服务机构). The China Philanthropy Research Institute of Beijing Normal University has put together the official registration information and analysed the data, summarizing it in detail.

One eye-catching finding is that out of the registered charities, social groups and social services institutions accounted for only 6% and 2% respectively, with foundations making up all of the remainder. So why do social service institutions (also often known as citizen-run non-enterprise units, or 民办非企业单位) and social groups reach an impasse when trying to gain accreditation? Based on the legal provisions and on its own investigation, the China Philanthropy Research Institute has made a preliminary summary of the reasons. First of all, the “charitable nature” of some of these organizations remains open to doubt. For instance, there are many social groups that act out of considerations of mutual benefit. When it comes to organizations that have a genuine “charitable nature”, their specific rights and obligations are still not clear because the policies that are meant to accompany last year’s Charity Law are still in need of improvement. Secondly, since the Charity Law and related policies have not been promoted sufficiently, many organizations are unable to fully understand what impact the acquisition of charitable status could have on them. Therefore, many of them are still waiting to see whether applying for registration as charitable organizations is a good idea.

Out of the 75 social groups that had registered as charitable organizations by the end of June 2017, 41 were regional charity federations (not counting the China Charity Federation), accounting for 56% of the total. The remaining social groups were associations and volunteer federations that mainly focus on charitable activities in areas like education and voluntary services. Out of these 75 social groups, there are 27 charity federations and 2 charities that are permitted to carry out public fundraising.

Compared with foundations and social groups, the registration of social service institutions as charitable organizations is more limited geographically. According to the statistics, there are only six provinces that provide registration services to social service institutions. The ones that have registered are mainly focused on poverty alleviation, education, and the rights and interests of women.