Each year, the China Charity and Donation Information Center publishes an annual report on Charitable Giving in China. This entry will summarize some developments in these reports from the last two years. You can also find information about the 2009 report here.
Total Donations in 2010-11
In 2010, total charitable giving was 103.2 billion RMB, (USD 15.8 billion) and accounted for 0.26% of GDP, while in 2011 it totaled 84.5 billion RMB (USD 13.25 billion) which accounted for a reduced 0.18%. Figures for both 2010 and 2011 include monetary donations (RMB 87.1 billion and 68.6 billion respectively) and in-kind donations (RMB 16.1 billion and 15.9 billion respectively) -- that is, donations of goods such as clothing and food.
Giving Rises and Falls
in 2010-11, Likely Related to Natural Disasters
The below image from the 2011 report shows the rise and fall of charitable giving in China since 2007. Much like in 2008, (with the 2008 Sichuan/Wenchuan earthquake) in 2010 notable natural disasters (the Southern China drought, Gansu mudslide, and Yushu earthquake) likely contributed to the 63.81% increase in total giving from 2009. Meanwhile the absence of any major disasters in 2011 probably contributed to the 18.12% decrease in giving from 2010. The graph below, from the 2011 report, shows changes in total charitable giving since 2007.
The explanation that major natural disasters caused the 2010 spike in giving is further supported by the statistic that natural disaster relief was the recipient of about a quarter of donations for that year while in 2011 only 6.1% of donations went toward disaster relief.
Where Donations Came From: Corporate, Domestic
In 2010-11, we continued to see a decrease in the percentage of overseas donations relative to domestic donations, from 12.5% in 2010 to 10.9% in 2011. Both of these are lower than 2009's 14.1% figure. As in previous years, Hong Kong was the biggest source of overseas donations.
Corporate donations continue to surpass individual giving, although 2011 saw a moderate increase in individual giving from 28% to 31.62%. This increase is especially promising given the Guo Meimei incident of 2011 and its expected negative effect on individual giving. Businesses accounted for 66% of total giving in 2010 and 57.48% in 2011; remaining giving largely came from government sources.
In 2010, we also saw the promising trend that an increasing number of wealthy people began to actively participate in disaster relief donations or charitable activities. 173 philanthropists whose personal monetary donations reached at least RMB 1 million, and total donations from listed philanthropists amounted to nearly RMB 7.43 billion.
Notable examples include Chen Guangbiao, who advocated for the wealthy to bequest all of their estate upon their death, Wang Jianlin’s donation of RMB 1 billion to a temple in Nanjing, and the establishment of a family foundation by Cao Dewang and his son through the donation of company stock. Another list of 707 companies whose donations reached at least 1 million yuan was also published. Their total donations hit RMB 11.6 billion in 2010.
Where Donations Went
As noted above, 2011 witnessed fewer major natural disasters than 2010, and as expected giving to this area decreased in 2011 as a result. While in 2010 the two areas which received the most donations were disaster relief and education, each receiving about a quarter of total donations. In 2011 education remained popular receiving 33.7% of donations while poverty alleviation was the second largest recipient area with 29.0% of donations.
One major problem in the current landscape of Chinese charitable giving is the large proportion of donations going to government fiscal revenue, foundations, and GONGOs. The report also showed the fast growth of China’s nonprofits, which increased in number from 431,000 in 2009 to 445,000 by the end of 2010, with the number of volunteers exceeding 31.24 million. We hope moves to relax NGO regulations in Shenzhen and give NGOs more room to operate independent of government involvement will not only succeed, but serve as a model for social sector regulation all over China.
- Lily Liu