Charitable Donations in China Fell Nearly 18 Percent in 2011

Donations to charities in China fell to 49.5 billion yuan ($7.86 billion) in 2011, a year-over-year decline of 17.7 percent, according to an annual report released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China Daily reports.

The decline — from 60.1 billion yuan in 2010 — was due in part to scandals involving a number of charities, including the Red Cross Society of China, Song Zonghe, who heads the information office of the ministry's China Charity and Donation Information Center, told China Daily. Poor management and lack of transparency have dampened the public's enthusiasm for charity and charitable giving, he added.

Another likely reason for the drop is that no major natural disasters struck the country in 2011. The country's state-dominated charity system is "disaster-driven," said Deng Guosheng, a professor of philanthropic studies at the Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management. In addition, the Chinese philanthropic sector's over-reliance on corporations may have exacerbated the decline.

"Our research shows that companies, especially private companies, are dominant contributors," said Deng. "Last year, many export companies suffered from the global economic downturn, so they didn't have much money to donate."

Russell Flannery. "Charity Donations in China Dropped by Nearly 18% Last Year Amid Scandals." Forbes 06/22/2012. He Dan. "Donations From the Public to Charity Fall." China Daily 06/22/2012.