Caixin
Jan 09, 2012 06:18 PM

112 Charities to Join Disclosure Platform

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(Beijing)— In the wake of immense public backlash against China's charities over millions in misused funds, 112 philanthropic organizations have pledged to promote information transparency through a new government disclosure platform.

Through the China Charity & Donation Information Center's (CCDIC) forthcoming online platform, the 112 charities said they will publish their accounting records according to a new set of information disclosure guidelines.

The announcement at an annual philanthropy conference sponsored by the Ministry of Civil Affairs—which oversees the CCDIC—comes just three weeks after 24 foundations publicly pledged to ensure the integrity of philanthropy in China.

The new standards will also clarify how and when third parties should audit charities, the charities said, although they did not clarify what the exact requirements will look like.

The joint effort includes China Charity Federation, as well as the China Youth Development Federation and the Red Cross Society of China.

Philanthropy in China became stigmatized last summer, when a spate of scandals revealed that China's biggest charity players—including the China Red Cross Federation, the Henan Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the China-Africa Hope Project—had misused potentially millions in funds. In the latter half of 2011, donations to charities affiliated with the government dropped 86.6 percent, the Ministry of Civil Affairs announced in December.

In its survey of 1,000 charities between 2009 and 2011, the CCDIC found that only 8 percent of philanthropic organizations are satisfied with information disclosure in the industry.

"The results have been impacted by [2011's] charity scandals," CCDIC Director Peng Jianmei told Xinhua News Agency. In the report, the organizations scored an average of 33 points on a scale of 1 to 100 for information disclosure. Only six organizations scored above 80.

"Transparency is an important part of capacity-building for charity organizations," Peng said. "The score is reflective of the historical moment that Chinese charities are in."

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