Philanthropy Gains Standing in China, but Donations Drop

Giving is gaining greater social cachet in China even as donations, at least through official channels, suffer a decline, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The country’s rich are more publicly comfortable with giving than in 2010, when a third of the 50 wealthy Chinese invited to talk about philanthropy at a dinner with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates said no. Chinese social media now frequently feature photos of charity dinners and celebrities promoting causes, and the number of nonprofit groups in the country rose 6 percent last year.

But the change has not shown up in giving numbers, the Journal says. A recent study by China’s Social Science Academy found a 17 percent year-to-year drop in donations, and total giving is only 4 percent of the U.S. level. However, the official figures do not reflect giving through unofficial channels, which has grown as some state-run charities were hit by scandals.

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