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Why hasn’t the soon-to-be largest economy in the world discovered charity yet, (and when might they?)
By Will Sawney
December 2013

Charity In China: 1.3 Billion Scrooges? by willsawney

“Charity? I have never heard of that.” In 2011, I was surprised to find a Beijing International Airport steward completely ignorant of ‘charity’ as a concept. This year, I was less surprised to discover that China has recently been ranked the ‘4th Least Generous Country In The World’.

As the world’s most populous country, soon to control the largest economy, this miserly trait could prove increasingly problematic. Moreover, it already seems rather upsetting. Those of us who have grown up on charitable values instilled by Charles Dickens, among other proponents of philanthropy, may find cause for alarm.

Indeed, only a meagre portion of China’s GDP (growing 9% annuallY) is given to charity. Surely, though, the Chinese are not inherently Scrooge-like? As its third sector struggles to get off the ground, what is really preventing generosity in mainland China?

In this report I examine the Chinese relationship to Charity, covering: an insatiable appetite for saving; newly super-rich discovering philanthropy; a visit from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett; why China’s Red Cross gets a vote of no confidence; a comparison of two Sichuan earthquakes; side-effects of propaganda policy; journalism’s cross-over with charity work; and Xi Jinping’s ‘Spring For Development’.

Also included, an infographic offering an overview of the issue.

Comments and feedback welcome:

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