Ministry of Civil Affairs: individual requests for aid do not constitute public offerings

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China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) organized a press conference on September 8th to clarify that cases of people soliciting for help on an individual basis are not covered by the regulations of the Charity Law. Media outlets that publish private requests for aid should also provide an alert on the risks involved for the public.

Qing An, a representative of the MCA, explained that the issue of individual solicitations for help proved to be controversial during the process of drawing up the Charity Law, and it was eventually decided not to include it within the scope of the Law. The Charity Law only stipulates that individuals are allowed to advertise for help in the media, but the media outlets themselves have to take responsibility for such advertisements.

‘The Administrative Regulations on Public Fund Raising Platforms’, legislated by four government departments – the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television and the Cyberspace Administration – prescribes that individual fundraisers who are seeking help through the media have to go through an identity verification and register. They must also be subject to an examination by the MCA. Furthermore, the relevant media must alert the public to the fact that the reliableness of such requests for help is not ensured.

Qing An also assured that the central government and the state council place a lot of importance on aiding those in need. This is why, when the Ministry of Civil Affairs formulated the ‘Administrative Measures on Public Offerings by Charitable Organisations’, which further clarifies some of the charity law’s regulations regarding public offerings and the media, many measures were taken to better combine government and private aid and help those in need. The new provisions require the principles of openness, fairness and justice to ensure the rights of both the donors and beneficiaries.