The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese legislators have been considering making charitable giving mandatory for all citizens who earn an income:
[Zhou Sen], who is honorary vice-president of the state-backed China Charity Federation, wants to make it mandatory for all Chinese citizens to donate a portion of their earnings to charity, much as they are required to pay tax.
He proposed a charity bill during last year’s parliamentary sessions and has been advocating legislation for more than a decade.
The party’s 2014 annual work report said the central government would support the development of charity organisations and provide aid to the needy.
Major charity organisations want a law to clarify the legal status of these groups, establish transparent oversight mechanisms and call for efficient and accessible registration procedures.
However, even if the new law were to be approved, experts working in the Chinese social sector realize that it might not be well-received because of the differences in China’s philanthropic culture:
Zhou also said a bigger problem was the lack of a genuine culture of charity in China. “Investors even [use] charity [as a trading chip] with local governments to lure profits such as getting better lands and projects,” he said.
Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference deputy Cui Yongyuan, a celebrity talk show host who runs the Cui Yongyuan Public Foundation, agreed that the country lacked a culture of giving compared to countries like Turkey, which has supportive communities dedicated to the homeless, for instance.
With India’s new CSR law and the possibility of China’s mandatory charitable giving law passing, it seems like Asian governments are taking an active role in pushing local philanthropy forward. But are such approaches effective? Does legislation help unlock the potential of philanthropy in Asia, or does it get in the way of philanthropy growing organically? Your thoughts on this, APF readers?