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Better Regulation of Charities on Way: Official

China is considering legislation to better regulate organizations involved in charities, a senior civil affairs official said.

"The ministry is preparing the draft of a charity law," Li Liguo, vice-minister of civil affairs, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"Regulations on disaster-relief donations will also be amended to eradicate illegal and messy fundraising activities."

Li made the remarks during a group discussion with several National People's Congress deputies and political advisers.

According to Li, several regulations are being considered to boost charitable causes, including a new corporate tax policy to be implemented next year, which would raise the tax deduction level for donations to charity to 20 percent of a company's yearly profit.

"But administrative obstacles still make these policies difficult to implement," Li said. He called for better coordination among government sectors and the simplification of tax deduction procedures.

Millions of people in China suffer from disasters every year and are in need of financial aid, he said.

Official statistics show that the per capita donation in China hovers around one yuan every year. The majority of donations come from overseas.

Li called for the setting up of a national charity network for donations.

He said the country is studying the feasibility of using the services of non-governmental organizations to establish a central budget.

Sociologists hailed the ministry's decision.

"More Chinese are giving to charity, and the legal environment toward charity has also become more favorable with several laws being amended in the past two years," said Wang Ming, professor in NGO studies with Tsinghua University.

Wang said the government is recognizing the role that non-governmental organizations play in enhancing social services, and their joint efforts in several pilot schemes.

(China Daily May 25, 2007)

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