Monday, September 21, 2009
The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs is in the process of writing China’s first “Charity Law” and “Social Aid Law.” According to the China Daily, the ministry submitted its first draft of the charity law to the State Council last month for review. Officials expect that the legislation will be passed by the State Council and the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative bodies, within the next one to two years. Chinese authorities have not released the drafts for comment at this time, but they intend to do so later to allow for scholarly commentary prior to passing the laws. The law will cover the rules on charity organizations, donations, trusts, volunteers' services and awards.
China’s government is eager to pass the draft into law because “the mechanism, system and idea of China's charity sector has lagged far behind citizens' demand” according to Wang Zhenyao, director of the social welfare and charity promotion department under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The China Daily’s reports indicate that experts and practitioners have a number items that they hope to see in the new legislation. Among these hopes are a clear definition of the nature of charity organizations, standardization of tax policy and internal governance requirements for charities, and a provision that allows charities to register as non-profit organizations. Presently, charities in China must register as for-profit organizations. The president of China's largest philanthropic organization stated that he hopes that charities will be barred from affiliation with any particular government department so that they run independently.
The draft of the “Social Aid Law” has noted been reported as submitted to the legislation for review at this time. This law is intended to cover the aid system for low-income families, disaster victims, and beggars.