Over 500 charitable organizations register in first four months of Charity Law’s enforcement

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A report was released by Beijing Normal University this week, exploring the state of charitable organizations in China during the first four months of the Charity Law’s implementation, between September and December 2016. The report appears to confirm that it has got much easier for Chinese charitable organizations to officialy register since the law took effect. It states that during the time span considered more than 500 charitable organizations were registered in 15 Chinese provinces. Out of these 113 obtained public fundraising qualifications, 13 were chosen by the Civil Administration Bureau as online fundraising platforms, and 21 charitable trusts were put on record. Lastly, the report states that the central government has released 15 regulatory documents related to the Charity Law since its implementation.

BNU’s report goes on to provide more in-depth statistics, including the organizations’ locations and the types of registration credentials. Out of the 500 organizations, 250 were located in Beijing, 37 in Shanghai, and 30 in Guangdong province. Aside from this, 389 of the organizations were registered with already existing credentials and 111 were newly registered. In addition to 113 charitable organizations, 13 social groups and 2 social service agencies also obtained public fundraising credentials. Furthermore, the 21 public trusts that were put on record had a combined initial fund size of nearly four billion yuan. These trusts were located in eleven provinces, but six were concentrated in Beijing.

After the implementation of the Charity Law, related regulatory documents were published containing information on registration, charitable fundraising, charitable trusts, charitable events, expense management and administration. Out of these, the most notable was the revision of the “Voluntary Service Act” by the Civil Affairs Department and the Legal Affairs Office of the State Council. In addition the “General Provisions of Civil Law” that was passed into law in March, as well as the recently revised “Enterprise Income Tax Law”, are expected to have a lasting impact on charitable organizations.

Aside from this, the report highlights the following three problems that are still affecting charitable organizations. The first is that even though the Civil Affairs Bureau has organized many training events, many of these events stop at explaining the law in general terms, without providing much guidance in practice. The second is that the successful registration of charitable organizations is not evenly distributed, with different provinces providing differing levels of registration services. The final problem mentioned is that some organizations that received public fundraising qualifications are still mostly relying on foundations for their funding, which is in part due to awaited improvements in online fundraising.

Finally the report sets forth suggestions for the further implementation of the Charity Law, which include a need to improve current dissemination and research efforts, and a need to expand the scope and depth of studies of the law. In addition, the report suggests speeding up the implementation of related policies, such as the “Three Regulations,” the charitable tax revenue policy and the charitable trust policy.