Subsidies totaling 652 million yuan (0.3 million) are being distributed to the needy in Shanghai for the New Year and Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.
Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said on Thursday that in total, 1.03 million people in the city are covered and the distribution period lasts from January 1 to mid February.
The total subsidies to be distributed represent an increase of 11.8 percent from last year, according to the bureau.
Those who will benefit include poor families, financially struggling university students, impoverished seniors and patients as well as disabled people.
A campaign helping the homeless and beggars get through the chilly winter has also started in the city. They are being provided with free meals, clothing and accommodation and are able to enjoy a hot shower at rescue stations.
Free tickets to help them to return home are also offered.
Civil affairs authorities have stepped up street patrols in case there are homeless people who need help. For those who don't want to go to rescue stations, free quilts and clothing are distributed.
Charity auction of Chinese art
A preview of 60 artworks from renowned Chinese artists for this year's winter auction party held by Shanghai Charity Foundation started on Thursday.
For the first time since 2001, the auction on January 13 will be held at Longhua Temple.
The 60 paintings and calligraphy works, including those by top Chinese artists such as Chen Peiqiu, Han Min and Zhou Huijun, were offered by Shanghai Da Ci Foundation, which was founded by the temple.
The money collected from the auction, which is called "Lighting up the Wishes," will be donated to charity programs that fund cataract operations for elderly people and treatment of congenital heart diseases for children.
Shanghai Charity Foundation said the winter auction has collected over 32 million yuan in past years and benefited 30,751 elderly people and 4,272 children.
Feng Mingqiang, general manager of Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co, a long-time partner of the charity auction, said he believes bids over 1 million yuan might be paid for some top treasures this year. In previous years top bids ranged from 600,000 to 800,000 yuan.
The preview will be held between 9:30am to 4pm on Friday and Saturday at Longhua Temple, and the auction will be held at 7pm at the temple.