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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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SkyBridge Receives “Exporter of the Year” award from Global Chamber Phoenix

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The SkyBridge air logistics project received the “Exporter of the Year, Services” award, granted by the Phoenix Global Chamber within its annual Grow Globally Fair, which brings exporters and importers together, along with international investors.

The award was presented to SkyBridge, a company chaired by Ariel Picker and directed by Felipe Monroy. The effort to position www.skybridgeaz.com as one of the leaders in the international logistics sector within the business community in Arizona has been coordinated by Marco Lopez, president of Intermestic Partners.

SkyBridge is planned to become the first international air cargo hub to house Mexican and US Customs in the United States.

Its operations are based at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and will allow e-commerce companies and manufacturers, among others, to do business in Mexico and throughout Latin America, with a more efficient and profitable transport of goods between countries, thorough inspections and adequate security controls.

The development of this project will create 17,000 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as more than 3.5 million SF of development which will include industrial, aeronautical, office and commercial real estate.

The construction plan will detonate other benefits in the border region. Arizona’s proximity to Mexico and its surroundings are highly favorable for business, and they make the state a natural center for air cargo companies, large and small, eager to see their businesses grow on both sides of the border.

In this sense, Grow Globally Fair gives global business leaders the opportunity to see what’s new, who is new and how they can grow better.

With that purpose, the Phoenix Global Chamber awards prizes in honor of the success achieved in international markets and in the United States, whose categories are: Exporter of the year, product; Exporter of the year, services; Importer of the year; Landed Company to see; Cross-border consulting; Transcendent leader of the community; International banking; International commercial law; Immigration lawyer; Diplomat of the year; Translation and localization; International logistics; International accounting and taxes; International finance and insurance; International Emerging Risk; International Talent and Payroll: International Real Estate Leader; International wealth management; International business training and discourse; International IT services; International market; International education; Collaborating Organization; International nonprofit; International business city; an Elected leader with global mentality; Young Global Leader, and Global Leaders of the tribe of the year.

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Axel Andorff and Carsten Isensee, new SEAT Vice presidents for R&D and Finance

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The Spanish car company, SEAT is betting on the future by hiring two prestigious new executive vice presidents. The company hired Axel Andorff as the new executive vice president of R&D (research and development), and Carsten Isensee has been appointed as the new executive vice president for finance. With both appointments, SEAT is focusing on Innovation and securing the company’s record profit and investment figures.

Who are Axel Andorff and Carsten Isensee

Research & Development and Finance are two of the most important areas on a car company. The new vice presidents of these areas, are both executives with international experience and extensive knowledge on the car market. Axel Andorff will be replacing Dr. Matthias Rabe (who will run the technical development operations area at Volkswagen), and Carsten Isensee, who is taking over for Holger Kintscher (who will be working as head of IT and finance at Volkswagen).

Let’s see who are these two new incorporations to the SEAT executive staff. 

Axel Andorff (R&D Vice president)

Axel Andorff is a German economic and mechanical engineer (from the German University of Kaiserslautern), with 20 years of experience at the car market, where he worked for Mercedes and held various positions in the research & development area of that company.

New responsibilities at SEAT

The new R&D vice president will be in charge of the company’s innovation projects, especially those involving connectivity and car electrification, developing technologies and new forms of mobility. He is in charge of the SEAT Technical Centre, who is focused on R&D. It has an area of 43,000 square meters, prepared and equipped (of a total area that covers a surface of 200,000 square meters). More than 1000 qualified engineers work on this center, using advanced technology (simulations, virtual reality…) to create modern and reliable cars, and developing new car technology.

In 2018 SEAT allocates 862 million euros on total investments and R&D expenses, 47% more than in 2017.

Carsten Isensee (Executive Vice-President for Finance)

Carsten Isensee has a degree in business management from the German University of Wilhelmshaven, and he has made his entire career in the Volkswagen company. His last charge was in China as an executive vice president for finance.

2018 was a historic year for SEAT. Sales have grown by over 10%, increasing from 468,400 sold vehicles in 2017 to 517.600 in 2018. With the incorporation of Carsten Isensee to the company, they expect to continue increasing their sales along 2019 and the next years.

New responsibilities at SEAT

The Finance vice president joins the Spanish car company with the objective of reinforcing the company’s profit record and investment figures, and to strengthen its financial basis for future Automotive (LINK NOFOLLOW) projects.

The car market is a very competitive sector. Last years SEAT increased its figures on sales, profits and investments. With the new vice presidents incorporations, the company is focusing on increasing these figures and securing its position on the market.

As SEAT president Luca de Meo said: “It’s time to look to the future with the ambition to grow”.

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Gutemberg Dos Santos and Robert Kiyosaki share their vision of leadership

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Gutemberg Dos Santos is a Brazilian-American entrepreneur and one of the main promoters of the use of Blockchain technology and crypto economy.

Gutemberg Dos Santos and Robert Kiyosaki

Gutemberg Dos Santos a couple of years ago sponsored an event in which the Guinness Record broke with the largest number of people playing Cash Flow, a game developed by Robert Kiyosaki. Today, Dos Santos shares some reflections that emerged on that occasion about what a good leader is. 

A good leader is an excellent guide to reach common goals. If I want my team to work successfully I must share my skills and offer the best tools for their performance. I am also committed to strengthening the capabilities of each of the members and never assume that we all work the same as diversity enriches and complements the unit. 

Sharing experiences. If I share my experiences with the rest of my team regarding the success and failures I have had in some projects, I will empathize with my team and together we will be able to reach the goals proposed for the company.

Listening. This part is essential for a business to prosper, if I do not listen to my people I will be walking towards darkness. I must always remain alert to the doubts and questions that my team may have, in this way I will know if we are all on the same frequency and we are walking towards the same course.

Motivating my team. I take my time to know my team, how old they are, what is their educational and socioeconomic level; what goals they pursue in the short and long term. This will help me find keywords that guide me to be empathetic with them and be able to have better communication. 

Being proactive. When facing a difficult situation, I try to get the best out of it, without falling into frustration and rather detect alternative solutions. Trusting and being flexible. I am attentive to the capacities and strengths within my work team, this way I trust people in order to delegate tasks, likewise I am open to listen to proposals and suggestions that lead us to strengthen our project. 

For more information, please visit : www.gutembergds.com 


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