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China celebrates first Charity Day

Updated: Sep 6,2016 9:27 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s first Charity Day, which fell on Sept 5 and follows the enforcement of the Charity Law last week, was celebrated with a string of promotional activities nationwide.

Charity Day falls on Sept 5 every year.

From Sept 4 to 6, a charity fair was held in Beijing, attracting more than 100 charity organizations from the capital, and neighboring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province.

“The fair is an exchange and cooperation platform for charity groups to share and pool their information and resources,” said Yang Liping, a charity official with Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau.

In a similar move, an internet charity service and information platform will be set up in the southwestern province of Yunnan, which has 351 registered charities.

“We must better define the allocation of resources, so that the recipients of charity receive the support they need,” said Zhang Zhixiong, a charity official with Yunnan Civil Affairs Department.

The charity sector will support the country’s poverty alleviation campaign. As of the end of 2015, 55.75 million rural Chinese were still classed as impoverished, meaning they had a per capita net income of less than 2,800 yuan ($419) a year.

To help reduce poverty, a “Charity Village” opened on Sept 5 in Zengcheng district, Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.

Charity organizations will be encouraged to extend support to Dapuwei village to offer help to its needy residents.

The Charity Law recently eased restrictions on the fundraising and operational activities of charity groups, promising tax benefits and improved supervision.

The country had about 670,000 registered social organizations as of the end of June, including 5,038 foundations, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

On Sept 2, Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo issued qualification certificates to an initial group of 16 charity organizations, meaning they are allowed to engage in fund-raising activities.

To mark the passing of the Charity Law, the Chinese Philanthropy Museum opened to the public in Nantong, East China’s Jiangsu province last week. The museum is located on the site of a cotton mill founded by Zhang Jian, a businessman and philanthropist at the turn of the 20th century.

It is hoped that Charity Day will give the public welfare sector much needed exposure, said Sun Zhiqiang, the founder of a charity alliance in East China’s Shandong province.

The alliance, which helps poor students, single retirees or children with leukemia, has seen its membership base rise to 128 from about 10, since it was established in 2013.

“We find pleasure in helping others,” said Sun, adding that he hoped the whole of society would value and support charity work.

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