Two sessions: government encourages development of social organizations

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The National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), referred to as the Two Sessions, are China’s most important annual political event, during which, the State Council presents an annual report to be deliberated over by NPC delegates. CPPCC members can also attend the NPC meetings, discuss the report and provide feedback.

On March 5, at the opening meeting of the fifth session of the 13th National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a government work report, encouraging the development of social organizations, humanitarian aid, volunteer services, and charities. The delegates and members then made their own proposals and suggestions:

Cen Xu, CPPCC member and former assistant to the director of the General Political Department of PLA, suggested social organizations shift the focus of their work from eliminating absolute poverty to alleviating relative poverty.

Zhang Tianren, NPC delegate, secretary of the Party Committee of Xinchuan Village, and chairman of Tianneng Holding Group, indicated that the judicial definition of charitable organizations should include online charities, which are growing rapidly.

Ge Huanyong, CPPCC member and Former Chairman of China UnionPay, emphasized the importance of protecting the personal privacy of donors and preventing forced donations.

Lv Hongbing, CPPCC member and vice-chairman of the All-China Lawyers Association, urged the establishment of supporting policies for the development of charitable trusts. He put forward four suggestions:

  1. Improve the tax system of charitable trusts to solve the problem of preferential taxation;
  2. Formulate the Foundation Regulations, Social Organization Regulations, Social Service Organization Regulations, and the Non-profit Legal Person Law, according to the classification of the Civil Code;
  3. Create a whitelist of charitable trusts to include reputable organizations;
  4. Further improve the relevant operating mechanisms of charitable trusts, especially those involving listed companies.

Lei Jun, NCP delegate and founder and chairman of Xiaomi Corporation, called for policies to promote the participation of private companies in philanthropy. He proposed that the government should:

  1. Moderately decrease the registration requirements for corporate foundations, and reduce restrictions on their participation;
  2. Formulate a three-to-five-year reform plan, to provide professional guidance and services for businesses to take part in philanthropy;
  3. Introduce measures to encourage philanthropic innovation and to explore new donation methods.

Shi Lei, CPPCC member and chairman of Domando Industrial Group of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, suggested amending relevant regulations to require all charities to clearly inform donors, before accepting donations, whether they are eligible for a deduction or not.

Hu Wei, CPPCC Member, executive deputy director of China Vocational Education Society and executive vice president of China Association for Non-Government Education, recommended actions to prevent the sexual harassment and sexual assault of minors:

  1. Improve the self-protection awareness of children and ensure that parents are notified as soon as possible if a sexual assault occurs;
  2. Implement the mandatory reporting mechanism with a confidentiality system, to protect the privacy of minors and avoid secondary harm;
  3. Blacklist sex offenders and restrict them from certain occupations, such as teaching;
  4. Give minors the skills required to keep themselves safe from sexual assault.

Zhang Baoyan, NPC delegate, chairman of the Baby Home Volunteer Association and founder of Baby Home Search website, called for increased sentences for those involved in the trafficking of women and children.

She indicated that the act of trafficking in women and children is actually kidnapping, accompanied by various crimes such as abuse, illegal detention, rape, etc. and causes long-term mental harm to the families of the victims. Therefore, sentences for traffickers should not be lower than for those convicted of kidnapping (which carries a sentence of at least 10 years).