Last year saw new milestones and opportunities for China’s charity sector. To mark the start of 2022, China Development Brief has summarized 2021’s top buzzwords for the sector.
- The Third Distribution
Since August 2021, the government has stressed the importance of realizing common prosperity through the “third distribution” system, which Han Wenxiu, the deputy director of the Office of the Central Finance and Economics Commission, believed would bring “great development” for the charity sector. How to channel more social resources and create shared value have become critical topics to consider.
- Rural Revitalization
Rural revitalization is a strategy proposed in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and is an important component of the 14th Five-Year Plan and the 2035 long-term vision. Dong Qiang, vice professor at China Agricultural University, pointed out that the charity sector has substantial advantages when it comes to bringing development to people. Meanwhile, Lu Mai, vice chairman of the China Development Research Foundation, believes that the initial focus of rural revitalization should be on children’s development. Wang Zhenyao, director of the China Philanthropy Research Institute, proposed that encouraging talented individuals to return to rural areas is an essential step in forming a healthy rural-urban mechanism.
- Carbon Neutral
At the UN General Assembly in 2020, China proposed that its carbon dioxide emissions should peak by 2030 and the country would strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. During the “Two Sessions” in 2021, “carbon peak” and “carbon neutral” were both mentioned in the State Council’s government work report and became buzzwords of the year. It is suggested that social organizations can contribute to carbon neutrality by conducting relevant research, organizing conferences, and undertaking programs in collaboration with the government.
- “Double Reduction” in Education
“Double reduction” refers to the policy of reducing students homework and the number of hours spent in after-school education. The policy has triggered debates on public welfare education, rural education and not-for-profit education providers. Yang Dongping, chairman of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, believes that “double reduction” has arrested the industrialization and marketization of education that has been the trend for many years.
- Disaster Relief
Severe floods struck the provinces of Henan and Shanxi resulting in enormous losses. During the disasters, local charity workers collaborated with the government and the public, working hard to provide relief. During the Henan floods, an online document titled “Information on Persons Waiting to be Rescued” created by a social organization was disseminated widely which significantly helped disaster management and rescue operations. When Shanxi was also hit by flooding, several social organizations and charity workers came together and established the Coordination Platform to Support Shanxi Flood Relief which facilitated cooperation between local and external organizations, and coordinated goods and donations worth more than 16 million yuan ($2.51 million). The relief work has left the charity sector to consider, from disaster response, disaster relief, disaster recovery to disaster prevention, how the sector’s efforts can be more effective.
- 14th Five-Year Social Organization Development Plan
The 14th Five-Year Plan for Social Organization Development produced by the Ministry of Civil Affairs stated the necessity of promoting the transformation of social organizations — from focusing on their quantity and fast advancement to focusing on their sustainability and quality. He Guoke, member of the Expert Advisory Committee of the Social Organization Administration of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said that building Communist Party groups within social organizations, setting plans for refined and precise management, launching professional development programs and establishing a social organization talent training system are the key aspects of a new development direction for social organizations.
- Digitalization of the Charity Sector
The 2021 China Internet Charity Summit opened in Chongqing and led to discussions surrounding digitalizing charity activities in May. And the 2021 Charity Digitalization Research Report published by the Tencent Foundation demonstrated that digitalization was an inevitable path for the development of the charity sector. The report also revealed challenges faced by the charity sector in digitalization, including insufficient investment and supply and lack of qualified personnel. In the past decade, the sector has started using the internet to close the digital gap and build social trust. Looking forward, how to employ digital technology and tools to cultivate innovative ideas, improve effectiveness and build a resilient and sustainable sector are still questions that the charity sector needs to contemplate.
- Foreign Aid Management Measures
The Measures for the Administration of Foreign Aid were approved by the National Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce and came into effect in October 2021. They provide civic organizations with more space to participate in China’s foreign aid program. The Measures are a vital step towards opening new doors for social organisations and improving the framework of the rule of law for foreign aid.
- 40 Years of Chinese Foundations
Four decades have passed since the earliest foundations were established in China in 1981. By the end of 2020, there were 8,432 foundations operating across the country. According to statistics from the Foundation Center Network, each foundation had average net assets of approximately 32.53 million yuan. Experts such as Deng Guosheng, professor at Tsinghua University, and Jin Jinping, vice professor at the Law School of Peking University, suggested that the future development of foundations in China will require a more inclusive policy environment and closer cooperation with other sectors.