The first year of the Charity Law summed up

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It has been just over a year since China’s Charity Law came into force on September 1st 2016. In a recent article for the China Social Organizations Magazine, professor Jia Xijin from Tsinghua University went through six focal points concerning the law’s implementation. We have tried to summarize them below:

1. Who has been regulated by the charity law?

The main focus of the Charity Law is concentrated on charitable organizations. Therefore, the Charity Law regulates the establishment and operation of charitable organizations.

2. Has there been any progress in direct registration?

According to the Charity Law, in order to establish charitable organizations it is necessary to apply for registration with the Departments of Civil Affairs; there is no mention of the Professional Supervisory Units, therefore some experts were of the opinion that charitable organizations could register directly with the Departments of Civil Affairs. The reality however is that in order to register as a social organization, you have to first be recognized as a social group (社会团体), a social service organization (社会服务机构), or a foundation. The three supporting regulations have not yet been released. Direct registration has thus not yet been achieved in practice.

3. Who has the qualifications for public fundraising?

Based on the Charity Law, only charitable organizations which applied for and received the qualifications for public fundraising have the right to engage in it; individuals and other organizations without qualifications are not allowed to engage in public fundraising.

4. Have charitable trusts become a reality?

Based on the Charity Information Platform of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (民政部慈善信息平台), in August a list of charitable trusts was set up across the country.

5. What about the property management and taxes of charitable organizations?

The Charity Law contains regulations about the property management and transparency of charitable organizations. After the law came into effect, the Ministry of Civil Affairs set up a National Charity Information Platform (全国慈善信息公开平台) to share detailed information about charitable organizations with the public. However, the tax exemptions for charitable organizations have not yet been put into practice.

6. What is the social impact of the implementation of the Charity Law?

The Charity Law was drafted by the National People’s Congress Commission (NPCC,全国人大内司委), and approved by the representative assembly of the NPCC after consulting twice with the public; the process of promoting the implementation of the Charity Law has helped to spread the ideas of philanthropy to the public and had a wide social impact.

Professor Jia Xijin concludes that, when it comes to the future implementation of the Charity Law, it is more important to find an appropriate management system for the running of charitable organizations and collect practical experiences which can help to draft future revisions of the law, rather than just focusing on the total number of charitable organizations.