Ministry seeks public comment on charity rules

Updated 2017-12-18 09:39:34 China Daily

The Ministry of Civil Affairs is seeking advice on a draft regulation posted on its official website that urges charity organizations to be more transparent.

The regulation also warns of punishments if such organizations disclose the personal information of donors, beneficiaries or volunteers against their wishes.

The ministry asked related organizations and the public to propose amendments by Jan 12.

Proposed changes can be submitted at chinalaw.gov.cn, or to zcfgs@mca.gov.cn. Members of the public can also mail their advice to the ministry's policy, law and regulation department.

Under the draft, a charity organization would be required to disclose basic information about itself, such as its chairman, director and founder, at cishan.chinanpo.gov.cn within 30 days after the information is determined.

The platform was launched by the ministry to publicize information on charity organizations and trust agents, as required by China's Charity Law, which took effect in September last year.

The rules also apply to other information, such as an organization's annual work report, financial statements and transaction records.

For those qualified to raise money, the draft requires public disclosure of a fundraising plan beforehand through the ministry's platform, and publication of income and the money's status within three months after the fundraising is closed.

Organizations that fail to comply may be punished under the Charity Law.

Those who leak the private information of donors, volunteers or beneficiaries - including names, addresses and contacts such people have declined to make public - are also subject to punishment.

The draft also warned that organizations that violate the regulation would be given a certain time to rectify the problem, but violations would be noted on their credit records. They may also face punishments from other authorities.

In recent years China has seen cases of fraud masquerading as charity fundraising. Such frauds have fostered public skepticism of charity operations in general.

Authorities publicized information about more than 2,000 charity organizations in September on the ministry's platform.

A man in Sichuan province who received a cornea donated by Yao Beina, a pop music singer who died in 2015, was pursued by media after his personal information was leaked. His mother told Huaxi Metropolis Daily that her son's life had been disrupted and wished that he would be left alone by the media.

Li Jing, secretary-general of One Foundation, a charity based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, said requiring charity organizations to disclose information matters because it reminds them of their "publicness".

"Charity organizations enjoy favorable tax policies because they are established for a public purpose. Therefore, they have a duty to disclose their information to the public in a timely manner," he said.

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