|Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo answers questions from reporters at a news conference on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing annual parliamentary session in Beijing.(Chinadaily.com.cn/Rong Xiandong)|
Beijing - Officials have pledged to boost the development of the country's charitable causes by allowing charities to play a bigger role in society and strengthening their supervision following a series of scandals.
Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo said on Wednesday that social organizations, including charities, industry associations and other independent groups, would no longer have to find government sponsors to obtain the official registration that grants them nonprofit status.
Li made the remarks at a news conference on Wednesday on the sidelines of the ongoing annual parliamentary session in Beijing.
Vice-minister of Civil Affairs Dou Yupei said China will improve laws on charities and promote the development of charities, in an acknowledgement of the growing importance of the organizations.
"Charities organizations have become the major force in the development of the country's charitable undertakings and they now face a 'spring for development' as the government restructuring plan unveiled on March 10 encourages the role of social organizations in society," said Dou.
The plan acknowledges that the requirements for establishing social organizations are too high, and even some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) tend to operate in a bureaucratic way like government departments.
Dou said China will create a better environment for the development of charities.
A national charities federation will be established soon to improve industry discipline, Dou said without giving further details.
This year a charities expo will be held in Shenzhen city, South China's Guangdong province and a museum will be built in Nantong city, East China's Jiangsu province, according to Dou.
Li also vowed to tighten the supervision of social donations for disaster relief, improve the transparency of the use of donations and strengthen the overhaul of social organizations.
Statistics show that the number of China's foundations increased to 2,961 in 2012 from 954 in 2003, including hundreds of thousands of professional charities.
Donations rose to 84.5 billion yuan ($13.59 billion) in 2011 from 2.08 billion yuan in 2002, after exceeding 100 billion yuan in both 2008 and 2010 when the Wenchuan earthquake in Southwest China and the deadly Zhouqu mudslide in Northwest China's Gansu province took place.