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Charity in China; Reforming China’s Non-Profit Sector

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China Red Cross, Source: AsiaNews.it

Posted by Jessica Drun, AsiaEye

Recent scandals involving charity misspending and embezzlement have tarnished the image of China’s non-profit organizations (NPO). News of these controversies has spread like wildfire across Chinese micro-blogs and public philanthropy suffered a blow by alienating potential donors. For instance, China saw an immediate decline in blood donations following the Guo Mei Mei incident, in which the supposed general commercial manager of the Red Cross flaunted her lavish lifestyle on Weibo, a Chinese social networking site. The Red Cross in China now reportedly faces a 30-40% shortage. With Chinese people increasingly wary of corruption, monetary contributions to charities have reportedly more than halved from June to August of this year. The consequences of these trends are grave, as Chinese citizens across the board have called for government reform in the country’s nascent third sector—and Beijing is feeling some pressure to respond.

The economic reforms spearheaded by the late Chinese patriarch, Deng Xiaoping, are largely credited with unleashing market forces that spurred China’s rapid growth. The “opening up” policy contributed to a wide scale privatization campaign, leaving in its wake a debilitated social safety net. These trends, coupled with an upsurge of development-induced social problems, have opened space for Chinese NPOs to emerge at the forefront of the country’s public service sector. Under- resourced and overextended, China’s third sector has been a reoccurring topic in legislative debates in recent years—both in the front lines of grassroots initiatives and among many levels of government officials. The situation presents an interesting contradiction, wherein the Chinese government must face the need to address social problems while at the same time realizing that such a move could detract from its authority.

The landscape of the country’s third sector has changed significantly in recent years. This change is reflected in official government statistics that show the number of registered organizations has shot up over 40% between 2005 and 2010 alone. This increase does not include unregistered organizations, which are blocked from formal proceedings by China’s dual-registration system and strict guidelines. Comparatively, the non-profit landscape was practically barren under Mao’s rule and these types of organizations did not emerge until the 1980’s. This surge coincides with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) decision to defer social management responsibilities to NPOs as a means to promote Deng’s economic policies and encourage market forces. The initial non-profits were directly under government jurisdiction but as social problems emerged at a faster rate than the Party could manage, the central government began to defer control and reform the system.

Approaches to reform have been multifaceted. The central government, citing the importance of preserving social order, has sought to revise the current bylaws underlining non-profit management. The central government has overseen the establishment of experimental sites in Wenzhou, Shanghai, and Shenzhen to test the prospect of transferring more government functions to non-profit organizations. The National People’s Congress and the CCP Central Committee have dedicated a section of the country’s next Five Year Plan (FYP) to charity management, ostensibly to address rising public discontent towards corruption in NPOs.

In Chapter 39 of the 12th Five Year Plan, the central government called for the development of social organization through a streamlined application process, improved tax incentive laws, and policy support a la legal and regulatory protections. Before final approval in March 2011, the government disclosed the FYP guidelines to the Chinese people through a series of public hearings, seeking e-mail feedback and leaving room open for revision. Consequently, a Charity Law, drafted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), which has been on the table since 2005, has resurfaced for consideration. In July 2011, the government reopened the draft as the “Guideline for the Development of Charity in China” and solicited public input to give direction to charity growth and expedite processes conducive to the 12th FYP. However, the draft has since seen little movement within the legislature.

Meanwhile, frustrated by government inaction, local and provincial governments have apparently taken matters into their hands. Respective authorities in Jiangsu, Ningbo, Hunan, Beijing, and just recently Guangdong have each enacted their own set of regulations, facilitating registration processes and allowing for more accountability in non-profit management. These moves have been commended by officials higher up in the government. In late 2010, a MoCA representative voiced his hopes that these developments will help guide those on a national scale.

The general consensus on the need for reform paints an interesting picture for future developments of the third sector. The timing of the FYP and its related reforms comes at a critical crossroad in China’s development. First, the 12th FYP coincides with a transition of power to its fifth-generation leadership that will take place in 2012. Chinese leaders seek a seamless power change, but they must address the growing challenges posed by increasing social unrest. By adhering to the tenets set by the FYP and by shaping public interests through the charity law, the Party could mitigate discontent among the masses, while at the same time demonstrate responsible leadership. Moreover, promoting China’s international image should provide further incentive for the government to amend its non-profit regulations by legitimizing the new leaders through social progress. It should be noted, however, that certain types of non-profits within the sector, such as those dedicated to religion and human rights, will see little change in their directive.

These advancements in the third sector may also point to the prospect of more comprehensive reform throughout the country. Grassroots movements empower and educate citizens for involvement in the public sphere, which then calls for a more active and informed society, with its own functions and claims. Larger citizen involvement, enabled by a burgeoning nonprofit sector, could lead to a further decentralization of power. This would be in line with the CCP’s “big society, small government” policy that seeks to create a network of social protections wherein citizens serve as intermediaries between the government and social organizations to sustain and promote a “harmonious society”. In essence, nonprofit reform may equip the citizenry with the capacity to take on the Chinese government’s social functions and become that “big society.” The deciding factor, however, is largely dependent on the direction the central government takes from its current Catch-22: toward third sector reform at the cost of its relative power or the continuation of the status quo at the risk of social instability.

Please share and join the discussion on facebook by clicking the “Like” below. Published with the written permission from AsiaEye (Project 2049 Institute).

Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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What to Do if You Are Involved in a Truck Accident While Traveling

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Any vehicle accident can potentially cause a lot of damage, not only to the vehicle itself but also to the passengers.  One of the most fatal type of accident on the roads is an accident involving a truck.  No matter where you are traveling to, or from, it is important to know the steps to take should you be involved in a truck accident.  We are going to look at those steps in this article.

Step 1: Say Nothing That Admits Fault

After an accident, you may be required to speak to the police and Highway Patrol.  While it is important to be truthful and answer any questions they have, you don’t want to elaborate or provide too much information.  If you have any questions about the other party, you should limit yourself and just ask if they are hurt.  No matter what you do, don’t apologize, don’t speak to the other driver, and don’t say anything like “I didn’t see you”.  All of these things can come across as an admission that you are at fault.  It is unlikely that fault can be determined at the accident scene, and you don’t want to risk jeopardizing your case by saying something you shouldn’t.

Step 2: See a Doctor

It’s wise to see your doctor immediately after an accident, even if you feel fine.  Many people do feel okay after an accident, but they still have injuries that need checking out.  Not only will this help to ensure your personal safety, but you will also have any injuries you sustained on record, should your truck accident lawyer need them when building your case.

Step 3: Notify Your Insurance Company

Your insurance policy should detail the steps you need to take to report a claim.  You might also want to review your policy to see what kind of coverage you have, and how long you can expect to wait to receive a payout.  Your insurance company may need extra information regarding the accident so be prepared for this.

Step 4: Contact an Attorney

Delay and procrastination can lead to a lost claim, so as soon as you have seen a doctor and notified your insurance company you’ll want to contact a truck accident attorney.  Every state has different limitations regarding the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so it’s wise to do this as soon as possible.  If you were traveling out of state when the accident happened, you may need to speak to an attorney based in the state where the accident took place.

Your attorney will be able to look at the evidence you provided, as well as your medical records, and let you know whether you have the basis for a claim.  The first meeting is usually free, too, so it’s always worth finding out if you could claim compensation.  Whatever you do, don’t bow over to the trucking company’s lawyers, especially if you couldn’t have done anything to prevent the accident.

Have you ever been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault?  Let us know what happened in the comments.

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GESAB, innovation and design with 25 years of experience

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GESAB is a company with the guarantee of the future based on its basic pillars: ergonomics, innovation, design and technology on which GESAB develops all its projects for centers and control rooms.

GESAB, has more than 25 years of experience offering solutions for control centers. An experience identified by always being at the forefront of innovation and design, whose mission will be to offer all its customers solutions with the highest quality and functionality.

GESAB has a large team of architects, engineers and designers, which makes it easy to cover the project in a global way and offer a multitude of solutions. It is worth highlighting its integral projects developed in a unique and exclusive way to satisfy all the needs of the client, surprising them in every detail. In addition, the GESAB team develops lighting, design, interior design and ergonomics studies to look for a better performance in the work starting from the humanization of the means to produce it, that is, to give the control rooms the maximum functionality and character of their own.

The control centers developed by GESAB provide the integration of the most advanced technology. All its designs and consoles are unique and personalized, created for each client, working from comfort to project execution to ensure maximum quality. GESAB guarantees compliance with its basic principles of design and ergonomics within the control centers. Its design is the beginning of the renovation and technological update; its layout of room, visualizes the best workstations; its indicators and controls, facilitate the interaction with the design of the hardware and software of the control panel; its evaluation will review the components so that they are to the maximum performance and its environmental requirements improve the luminous, acoustic environment…

GESABs technical furniture complies with the highest standards in ergonomics and safety at work. Fantastic design and quality are present in all GESAB control consoles, to ensure maximum functionality and performance in this type of crucial environments.

These workspaces available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week place GESAB consoles on an operators main axis. GESABs work is carried out in conjunction with the customer, allowing the development of fully customized and adapted control rooms. From technical furniture, through ergonomic chairs, audiovisual equipment, design, technical flooring, ambient lighting or acoustic panels. GESAB is able to face small and big challenges all over the world, looking for complete and innovative solutions that are not only limited to operator control consoles, but also include ergonomic solutions and the most advanced technology.

In addition, all GESAB components are based on a safety principle in their products. These include the personalized control panels that include the switchboards and synoptic panels, all for the most sophisticated and technical environments, where precision is key, taking a further step towards innovation. GESAB has already had many success stories, and are related to all sectors, whether energy companies, civil protection, security, systems management, finance, telecommunications, traffic control or airport due to the advantages it offers for companies such as increased productivity and energy efficiency.

GESAB has developed the new generation with a revolutionary solution that puts the operator at the heart of the action through the management, administration, control of equipment and information sources bringing visual ergonomics to a new dimension.

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The Sweet Caroline of Dogers Owner

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Guggenheim

Mark Walter  is a billionaire and CEO at Guggenheim Partners LLC.  Is he driving Guggenheim towards the beginning of the end?  Are the owners of the L.A. Dodgers being dodged???

Guggenheim has established its name and a tradition of innovation in the past decade.  It has emerged as a new player in the financial markets focusing on mergers and acquisitions, insurance and wealth management and has over $300 billion in money management.

Guggenheim has become known as the “New Goldman Sachs”.  It has become a renowned recruiter of the best talent in the industry (including Bear Stearns CEO Alan Swartz). Guggenheim continually makes the cover page in most financial papers, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.  Lately, Guggenheim has been appearing in the press for all of the wrong reasons or for the LA Dodgers making it to the World Series.

But the tide is beginning to turn on Walter and Guggenheim.  The news now regularly includes information on CEO Walter and his relationship with Alexandra Court (a South African citizen, former corporate lawyer at Clifford Chance and who also did stints with UBS and Credit Suisse)

Ms. Court’s hiring and promotion has seemingly created power struggles within Guggenheim and in-fighting with its brilliant Chief Investment Officer Scott Minerd.

The current situation seems to be nothing new for Walter.  He has previously clashed with founding partners including Morley, Curcio and Boehly – all of these individuals left Guggenheim with extremely generous (nine-digit) severance packages.  More telling is that only six managing partners remain.  New information is coming to light every day.  It is no wonder that Ms. Court is trying to negotiate her departure and is reportedly asking for $100 million severance and a mansion.

Walter has his allies – ABS Capital Company (an offshore company and owner of Walter’s Malibu estate); a number of Latin American sophisticated agents; and another blond female “Caroline” working now at Guggenheim.  Do these allies recognize that their reputations and jobs are on the line with the investigation and questioning of the origins of the dollars through the sophisticated insurance structures.

The latest theory is that Walter will walk out.  Looks like it could be a larger blow than we actually think.  Do not blink or you will miss something.

Samuel Magic

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