The China Foundation Center was launched on 8th July in Beijing, signaling another major step towards increasing transparency of the Chinese nonprofit sector. Earlier this year, on 21st June, the very first Chinese philanthropy research centre, The Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropy Research Institute was established. Wang Zhenyao, a former official with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the head of the philanthropic research center made a public appeal for all Chinese billionaires to donate at least one million yung to charity on an annual basis. According to the 2010 Hurun Report there are now 55,000 billionaires in China. (Read more about Wang’s perspective on Chinese charity legislation and philanthropy in the China Daily as well as the article ‘Should There Be a Minimum for Billionaires’ Donations?’) for further views on these issues. This echoes calls in the US for American billionaires to donate 50% of their net worth to charity during their lifetime or at death. Read more about the latter proposal in the article The $600 billion challenge.
The China Foundation Center was established to help increase trust and public confidence in Chinese foundations. The center’s website will at first provide data on 1,800 Chinese foundations and it is hoped that doing so will help to spur donations and improve the efficiency of these foundations. Chinese citizens have been donating larger amounts to nonprofit organisations in China. In the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake Chinese individual donors gave $8 million in total to help with relief efforts. This has aided the push towards improving transparency and accountability of the Chinese nonprofit sector, which is growing as China becomes more wealthy and income disparity also increases. You can read more about the establishment of the Chinese Foundation Center in the Wall Street Journal blog. It may also be of interest to read The Evolution of Philanthropy in China–Recent Reflections, a blog post by Grace Chiang of Social Venture Group, which gives some insight into the gradual cultural and social shift towards individual and institutional philanthropy in China.