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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Greater transparency needed in China's charity sector (2)

(Xinhua)

10:23, January 02, 2012

A LONG ROAD TO TRANSPARENCY

The RCSC has a long way to go in making fund usage more transparent, as do China's other foundations, according to Yang.

Transparency in China's charity sector has drawn public attention since 2008, when huge donations were quickly raised to help with reconstruction following the massive Sichuan earthquake, but the total amount of donations for the Sichuan earthquake still remains unclear, Yang said.

When Yang was editing the China Charitable Donation Blue Book in 2008, the Ministry of Civil Affairs told Yang that it was difficult to ascertain exactly how much money had been donated. The ministry told her the total donations for the Sichuan earthquake could be 50 billion yuan, but then changed it to 70 billion and, later, to 80 billion yuan.

In 2009, the RCSC organized a committee of public supervisors, which recruited 23 experts and social celebrities and 15 full-time supervisors to oversee the organization's fund usage.

"Actually it's just a title. It's not easy to follow every donation and every financial report," said Yang, who is one of the supervisors. "But at least the supervisors committee shows that the RCSC is willing to add more transparency."

The accounts of other governmental charity organizations are also unclear. The Soong Ching Ling Foundation in Henan province reportedly embezzled charitable donations to invest in real-estate companies. The foundation, which claimed to be a non-profit organization, was established with government support in 1982.

Meanwhile, public foundations and private foundations face different kinds of administrative regulations in China. Public foundations, such as the RCSC, are allowed to raise funds from the public, but private foundations usually need to meet strict prerequisites and go through a complicated process to raise money legally.

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