By Wang Zhenyao (王振耀), Charity Information Net (慈讯网), May 9, 2013
Written by Wang Zhenyao of the Beijing Normal China Philanthropy Center, this article traces the developments in charitable giving and disaster relief efforts between the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake and the recent Ya’an Earthquake. Prior to 2008, the government acted as the sole leader of disaster relief efforts. 1991 was the first year that China appealed to the international community for relief aid. The government received RMB 2.3 billion, 2.3 times their annual allotment for disaster relief, 40 percent of which came from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese. In 1998, international and domestic donors gave 7 RMB in disaster aid. For the first time, a greater percentage of this aid came from domestic donors, and people began to pay more attention to charity resources. Until 2008, however, domestic action was primarily in the form of donations. In 2008, organizations and volunteers were finally able to play a more direct role in aid relief efforts, with hundreds of thousands of volunteers and all kinds of NGOs participating in emergency aid efforts. Since 2008, there have been significant developments in the non-profit sector, evidenced in the 4.20 Sichuan Earthquake of this year. Organizations such as the One Foundation, which registered as a public foundation in 2011, were involved in both fundraising and relief efforts. Professionalized volunteers were quick to address the gaps in government aid, providing necessary materials and focusing on issues such as hygiene, coordinating effectively with aid teams. Building on this for future relief efforts, the public, and particularly NGO workers, should work on developing their skills and professionalism, on developing the philanthropic sector, and on working with the government.