Sunday, March 27, 2011

The top 16 "public welfare" events of 2010

In a previous blog, I listed what I saw as some of “The Best and Worst of 2010 for China’s NGOs”.   In the their most recent issue (Winter 2010), China Development Brief came out with the top 16 major "public welfare" (gongyi) events.  The term “public welfare” is often used in China in place of nonprofit, civil society, or philanthropy. 

These top 16 events were selected from a survey of readers of three major media platforms that cover the “public welfare” or “civil society” sector in China: China Development Brief (with which I am working now), Social Entrepreneur magazine (published by the NGO, NonProfit Incubator or NPI) and NGOCN (NGOCN’s founder, Lu Fei, was profiled in an earlier post on this blog).   The list provides a window into what Chinese observers of the civil society sector think have been important trends.   Many, but not all, are events that I also listed in my Best and Worst List, which is a good thing because it suggests that I haven’t strayed too far from the perceptions of the Chinese NGO community.
The readers who responded to the survey were from all over China, including Hong Kong, and draw mainly from those working in the “public welfare” sector, but also include people working in government and business, students, and researchers.   Many are young, about 84% between 20-40 years of age, and about 42% are from Beijing and Guangdong. 
Here in order of the top vote getters are the 16 biggest “public welfare” events of 2010 with the percentage of votes in parentheses.  A number of these events were covered in my previous posts, including “The Best and Worst of 2010 for China’s NGOs” so I don’t go into them in detail.

1)  Jet Li revealing, in a September 2010 CCTV interview, problems he was having trying to register his One Foundation as a private foundation due to China’s restrictive registration laws, and rumors that the One Foundation might close (61%).
2)  The new regulations from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange that went into effect in March 2010 making it more difficult for grassroots NGOs to transfer foreign funds into their accounts (51%)
3)  The September visit by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to discuss philanthropy with some of China’s wealthiest individuals (46%).
4)  The establishment in June of 2010 of the Public Welfare (or Philanthropy) Research Institute at Beijing Normal University.  The Institute is funded by the One Foundation and headed by a former Ministry of Civil Affairs official, Wang Zhenyao (45%).
5)  The announcement by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in July of 2010 requiring 15 national public fundraising foundations to turn the funds they had raised for the Yushu (Qinghai province) earthquake relief over to the Qinghai provincial government, provincial Red Cross and provincial Charity Federation.  This decision was criticized for harming the cause of philanthropy in China (43%).
6)  The participation of almost 60 Chinese NGOs in the UN climate change talks in Tianjin in October of 2010.  The NGOs issued a joint statement, and organized 20 joint activities.  It was the largest number of Chinese NGOs to participate in the area of climate change (40%).
7)   The slowness of the NGO response to the drought in the southwestern part of China  in the spring of 2010 provoked some discussion in the media, especially compared to the quick NGO response to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake (35%).
8)  The establishment of the China Foundation Center in July of 2010 (33%).
9) The Green Choice Alliance, a group of 34 grassroots NGOs, among them Friends of Nature, Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and Green Beagle, released two investigative reports in April and June on heavy metal pollution from the information and technology sector (32%). 
10)  The Qinghai Gesanghua Educational Assistance Association raised more than 2.59 million yuan online for the Yushu earthquake highlighting the use of new media platforms for NGOs to fundraise and carry out relief work (32%).
11)  The Yunnan provincial government piloting new regulations governing international NGO management.  The regulations came out in December of 2009 and were implemented in January of 2010.  These are the first regulations explicitly aimed at international NGOs (31%).
12)   The first New Public Welfare Carnival held in Shanghai in August and September of 2010, an event that brought together businesses, government, academics and NGOs to promote social innovation (30%).
13)  The notice by Beijing University cutting its association with the Peking University Women’s Legal Aid Center in March of 2010 (30%)
14)  Strikes by workers at Honda Motor Company’s factories in Guangdong starting in May of 2010 (30%).
15)  Cao Dewang, chairman of the Fuyao Group, gave the largest one-time donation in the history of the PRC to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation to help poor farmers in the five drought-stricken provinces in southwest China (28%).
16)  The folding of “Friends” publication which was aimed at the gay, HIV/AIDS and public health community and had been publishing since 1998.  “Friends” closed because it lost its major source of funding from an international foundation (21%). 

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