Chinese Deterred From Donating to Their Country’s Dubious Charity Sector

State watchdog finds that vast majority of nonprofits do not meet international operating standards

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Less than a third of registered charities in China meet basic international standards for transparency and disclosure. That’s according to the China Charity Transparency Report, published by the state-run charity watchdog the China Charity and Donation Information Center last weekend.

The report ranked more than a thousand charities on their information-disclosure practices on a scale from 1 to 100. Just 30% of charities scored higher than 60, while the average score was a paltry 43.

The results will not be surprising to many Chinese, who have largely turned their backs on the country’s leading charities after a string of scandals. Whistle-blowers were already raising allegations of donations being siphoned off by unscrupulous officials in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.

(MORE: Postquake-Fundraising Flop Exposes Credibility Crisis at China’s Red Cross)

In 2011, public perceptions of charitable organizations nose-dived when a young woman, Guo Meimei, who claimed to work for the Red Cross Society of China, was found flaunting her ostentatious lifestyle on social media. Her luxury outfits and first-class flights could not possibly have been paid for on an NGO salary. Things got so bad that when the Red Cross Society of China took to microblogging site Sina Weibo earlier this year to raise funds for areas stricken by another earthquake, users responded by leaving hundreds of thousands of identical replies telling the organization to “get lost.”

A separate report published last week by the China Charity and Donation Information Center found that charitable donations in 2012 were a paltry $13.3 billion — just 4% of the total donations collected by charities in the U.S. in the same year.

The most lax donors, according to a list published by luxury magazine Hurun, are China’s superwealthy. The country now has more billionaires than the U.S., but just 3 out of its 10 most wealthy individuals make it onto the list of top 10 donors. Perhaps they’re afraid of where their money might end up.

MORE: Amid China’s Economic Boom, Philanthropy Lags

9 comments
rivers
rivers

You will see there are no clear account to record every item the organization and personnel donate, never know where the money going for, the red cross organization should be an social organization with enough transparency and disclosure. after the scandal, i regret the money donating from the my little salary in yushu earthquake. charity organization should be an charity organization which should give help to the people in inferior condition instead an beneficial company

Terry Deng
Terry Deng

the donation in Chinese is hard task, your donation will auto deducted in your salary.

Sarah Nila
Sarah Nila

the Chinese have all this money and don't help their citizens or their neighboring countries; greedy soulless people, really.

Factor Destiny Revive
Factor Destiny Revive

Roger, you are definitely wrong, now, the Chinese are more liberated than before, since, year 1911, from the start of first Democratic Nation in Asia under Republic of China, till the fallen, in year 1949, the birth of People's Republic of China, the Chinese is never left democracy behind, they been forced to be Communist due to certain outside forces and circumstances, which two of it is from Russia and America. So, please don't blame the common Chinese, should blame the Imperialist.

Jana Roberts
Jana Roberts

"With Charity for All: Why Charities Fail and a Better Way to Give."

Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee

They should be encouraged to donate to international non-profit organizations that are accredited by several countries. So long as these international non-profits have programs tailored to assist in resolving regional and national issues in China, I don't see why the government or the people would object.

metadetector
metadetector

@TIME @TIMEWorld If the super wealthy decided to set up their own charitable organizations, they could lead by example facilitating change.