China is seeking public input on proposed amendments to its Charity Law. As of November 20, 100 people have given 207 suggestions. These inputs will help shape the final version of the law, with the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in charge of reviewing and improving it.
In early November, three charitable organizations in Beijing hosted discussions on the proposed changes to the Charity Law. After gathering input from around 30 leaders and experts, China Foundation Forum, one of the three organizations, has put forth 10 suggestions to improve the law. These are listed below:
Simplifying Charitable Organization Establishment and Revocation (Amendment Draft Article 10):
- Amending Article 10 to clarify that foundations are considered charitable organizations.
- Permitting existing non-profit organizations, such as social service agencies, to seek charitable organization status.
- A streamlined process for registering a charity within 20 days, with public announcements for approved organizations and clear explanations for non-approvals.
- Eliminating specific conditions for termination and liquidation regulations.
Optimizing Terms of Service for Online Fundraising Platforms (Amendment Draft Article 27):
- Amending Article 27 to prohibit online fundraising platforms from unreasonably refusing services to qualified charitable organizations and from inserting commercial advertisements on fundraising pages.
Enhancing Regulations on Annual Expenditures and Management Fees (Amendment Draft Article 61):
- Removing specific spending and fee rules for charities.
- Highlighting the importance of efficient fund utilization and adherence to necessary management principles.
Improving Regulations on Emergency Relief (Amendment Draft Article 72 and Article 73):
- Enhancing regulations for managing funds and materials during emergencies.
- Retroactively filing plans for emergency fundraising within ten working days.
Optimizing Provisions for International Charitable Exchanges and Overseas Cooperation (Amendment Draft Article 13 and Article 102):
- Promoting international charitable exchanges and cooperation.
- Requiring charities to submit annual reports to their respective local civil affairs departments. These reports will cover fundraising, donation acceptance, management and usage of charitable property, project implementation, cooperation with overseas NGOs, and the welfare of staff.
Enforcing Rules for Online Fundraising Platforms (Amendment Draft Article 114):
- Granting state civil affairs authorities, the power to rectify rule-violating online fundraising platforms.
- Providing options for enforcing corrections at different government levels.
Enhancing Personal Appeals Provisions (Amendment Draft Article 124):
- Holding individuals and platforms accountable for truthful appeals and preventing deceptive practices.
- Requiring online fundraising platforms to verify information authenticity.
Protecting the Autonomy of Charitable Organizations (Amendment Draft Article 120):
- Ensuring that government departments respect the autonomy of charitable organizations.
Clarifying Measures to Combat Charity Fraud and Facilitate Related Investigations (Amendment Draft Article 113):
- Empowering public security authorities to investigate and address charity fraud.
- Protecting the rights of donors and charitable organizations during investigations.
Including Charities in Public Interest Litigation
- Introducing a provision in Chapter 11 concerning supervision and management related to public interest litigation.
- “In cases where the legitimate rights of participants in charitable activities are infringed upon, leading to damage to public interests, the procuratorial organs may issue prosecutorial suggestions or file public interest litigation in accordance with the law.”
These proposed changes aim to improve the Charity Law, making it more efficient, transparent, and accountable. They focus on fostering a healthy charitable sector in China. The impact of these suggestions will be closely tracked as they go through further review and potential adoption.