Highlights of the upcoming Charity Law Amendment

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China’s Charity Law, released in 2016, is about to get amended for the first time — the amendment draft was submitted to the 38th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress for its first review on December 27.

Expected to provide a firm legal foundation for charities to play a better role in social justice and development, the amendment proposes some key changes. Firstly, the amendment adds a new chapter on emergency relief charity, reflecting the increasingly important role played by charitable organizations in response to emergencies such as the prevention and control of Covid-19.

The amendment also addresses problems such as unclear rules and untimely information disclosure by stipulating that organizations should share the reception, distribution and usage of donations to the public at least once every five days during emergency relief.

It’s also noticeable that the amendment draft further standardizes the practices of online charity, responding to a surge in internet fundraising in recent years — with the annual growth rate of internet donations exceeding 20 percent, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The draft summarizes the practices and existing problems of online fundraising platforms in recent years, clarifies their responsibilities, and regulates their activities.

Another highlight is that the draft further improves China’s existing charitable trust system, which has reached a scale of 3.9 billion yuan ($ 570 million) by the end of 2021.

Moreover, the draft amendment looks to improve the country’s charity supervision system by, for example, strengthening comprehensive regulation and sector guidance of charitable activities.