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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Charity law 'vital' for sector to grow

By He Dan and Guo Rui (China Daily)

08:45, March 14, 2012

China should speed up legislation on the charity sector to ensure that more grassroots organizations can gain legal status and charity fraud is outlawed, top lawmakers and political advisers have proposed.

The current regulations on social organizations in China require that a non-governmental organization must find an administrative body to oversee its activities as a precondition to registering with the civil affairs authorities as a nonprofit organization.

Beijing Huiling Community Services for People with Learning Disabilities, an organization dedicated to integrating mentally handicapped people into the community, has unsuccessfully tried to register with the local civil affairs authorities for the past 12 years.

"We asked the Beijing Disabled Person's Federation to act as our superior, but it refused, claiming that our organization was too small," said Meng Weina, the head of the organization.

"We were treated like a ball, kicked around by different government departments and were not recognized as a nonprofit organization, so we had to register with the industry and commerce authorities as a company," said Meng.

"Without a legal identity as a charity organization, we cannot enjoy tax exemption, and it's difficult for us to raise fund from enterprises or the public as we cannot even provide a formal receipt to our donors," she said.

"Our bank account was 340,000 yuan ($53,754) in the red last year, and even paying our employees' salaries has become a problem," said Meng.

Official statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that there are 450,000 registered social organizations across the country.

Experts estimated that more than 1 million social organizations in China have a "gray" existence out of the government's sight.

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