Reflections from a virtual event held on April 30th with the China Philanthropy Project team

The growth of private wealth is one of the most consequential aspects of reform in modern China. Over the past four decades, China’s rapid economic growth has given rise to a generation of wealthy individuals, influential corporations, and everyday citizens with a measure of disposable income. Some members of this generation are seeking to create meaningful change and to give back to their communities through the practice of philanthropy. Others are attempting to transfer such practices and lessons to their own children — the next generation. …


The Chinese may be disrupting the status-quo of international philanthropy. How should the West view them? Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

This is the second part of a two-part series on Chinese philanthropists and their efforts abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Part 1 focuses on overseas philanthropic actions by Chinese donors and their impact, this, part 2 examines implications for international philanthropy and development beyond the pandemic period.

Written by Liu He

The Dawn of a New Era?

Before the COVID-19 era, limited Chinese philanthropic activities abroad were evident — particularly in response to crises. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami saw the first wave of foundations engaging in overseas humanitarian rescue and post-crisis construction, but those activities were limited to a handful of state-owned foundations such as the Red Cross Society of China, the China Charity Federation and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, dozens of private charities including the One Foundation and the Amity Foundation joined a variety of state-owned foundations to conduct rescue-focused…


As of March 30th, at least 61 Chinese companies have so far donated PPE, including over 22 million masks to 69 countries (Image source: Unsplash)

This is the first part of a two-part series on Chinese philanthropists and their efforts abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Part 1 focuses on overseas philanthropic actions by Chinese donors and their impact, part 2 examines implications for international philanthropy and development beyond the pandemic period.

Written by Liu He

The Newcomers?

Waiting at Cotonou Airport was Benin’s Minister of Health, Benjamin Hounpatin, greeting not a state visit by foreign leaders but medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation. The shipment contained 20,000 diagnostic kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 sets of protective suits, with additional deliveries scheduled for April. On the same day, Hounpatin’s counterpart in Senegal, Aboudulaye Diouf Sarr, attended a similar ceremony at the Chinese Embassy in Senegal to receive a donation of equal size from the Jack Ma Foundation, witnessed by the Chinese ambassador in the country.

As the pandemic rages on, Chinese philanthropists…


The Red Cross Society of China and Trust in Philanthropy

The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has come under scrutiny for issues like mask distribution (Pictured: A Red Cross hospital Xining, Qinghai, China)

Written by Edward Cunningham and Yunxin Li

The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan has grown to become one of the largest national crises to affect China in recent years. As with the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the philanthropic response to such need has been dramatic, and largely positive. Chinese charity organizations across the country are raising funds, as well as sorely-needed masks and medical supplies both from within China and from around the world. In recent weeks, private charity foundations have made high-profile commitments to short-term and medium-term solutions. The Jack Ma Foundation announced a donation of RMB 100…


Assessing the “New Era” of Chinese Philanthropy

Written by Ben Jacobs, China Policy Analyst

Over the past decade, Chinese society has experienced a massive expansion of both extreme wealth and charitable giving. According to Forbes magazine, China had 66 billionaires (USD) in 2007,[1] a number that nearly quintupled to 319 billionaires in 2017.[2] Over the same period of time, total charitable donations received by Chinese NGOs (officially referred to as “social organizations”) increased by a similar proportion, expanding from 30.9 billion RMB to 149.9 billion RMB.[3]


How the 19th Communist Party Congress Can Influence Chinese Philanthropy

The 18th Chinese Communist Party Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 11, 2012. The 19th Communist Party Congress will begin on October 18, 2017. Photographer: Dong Fang. Image source: Voice of America, via Wikimedia Commons.

Written by: Yifu Dong, Research Assistant, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

As we have shown in our earlier discussion on the newly introduced Charity Law and review of China’s most recent Charity Day, the Chinese state is playing an active role in determining the rules and shaping the direction of philanthropy in China. …


By Yifu Dong, Research Assistant, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation


By Edward Cunningham, Director, Ash Center China Programs

Harvard Ash Center China Philanthropy Project

Strengthening understanding of China’s philanthropic landscape by analyzing the makeup and choices of China’s most generous individuals.

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