BEIJING, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Yang Yuanqiang, 63, had been suffering pain and discomfort due to the rejection and infection of a lung transplant, but was soon overjoyed by the kindness of strangers.
Over 300,000 yuan (about 44,800 U.S. dollars) was raised for Yang from nearly 5,000 people through an online fundraising platform this March.
The platform, Fun in Funding, has helped over 2.5 million families by raising more than 25 billion yuan (3.7 billion U.S. dollars) for medical treatment, according to its website.
Philanthropy in China is expanding and evolving rapidly, as the total amount of domestic giving in China has quadrupled from 2009 to 2017, reaching 23.4 billion U.S. dollars, according to a recent report published by the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), a Singapore-based social investor network.
Philanthropy has long been embedded in traditional Chinese culture. The "Philanthropy in China" report says philanthropy in China has taken a giant leap since 2008 when an 8-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan Province.
PRIVATE WEALTH BOOSTS GENEROSITY
The accumulation of private wealth, as China shifts its economic structure and accelerates development, has boosted philanthropy across the country.
Giving from the super-rich is vital for the country's philanthropy, as donations from private wealth dominated the growth in China's philanthropy, the report said.
A total of 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in public donations have been made by China's top 100 philanthropists, up 33 percent from the previous year, according to the Hurun Philanthropy List 2018.
The notion of being generous has long been instilled into the mindset of the Chinese. Besides tycoons, ordinary individuals are also vital contributors.
In 2018, over 21,000 pieces of fundraising information were published on 20 registered online fundraising platforms with more than 8.46 billion clicks and reads, according to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs.
China has more than 5,200 registered charitable organizations, according to Charity in China, an official information disclosure platform of Chinese charitable organizations.
PHILANTHROPY AND LAW
With increasing charity, a better ecosystem for philanthropy becomes more important.
China's Charity Law took effect in 2016 and was effective in the formalization and professionalization of philanthropy, according to the report.
The Charity Law provides guidelines for organizations to clarify charitable status, and increases transparency by the requiring information disclosures of charitable organizations.
Tencent, which has a major online fundraising foundation in China, has set up a public fundraising organization to verify and supervise the platform, according to Zhai Hongxin, the secretary-general of the Tencent Foundation. The public even has access to annual reports and financial reports on the platform.
"China has entered a golden era of philanthropy, the environment in China is good for the development of philanthropy as the country has continuously improved relative laws and regulations," said Chen Yidan, the founder of Tencent Foundation.
TECHNOLOGY EXPANDS DONATIONS
China's immense strength in science and technology is also driving an increase in charitable donations.
Cutting-edge technologies, such as mobile payment and artificial intelligence, are making philanthropic donations easier and more diversified than ever before.
On Alipay, a popular online and mobile payment platform, users can join various philanthropic activities, including donating second-hand items, donating blood, and planting trees.
More than 55 million trees were planted by over 400 million people through an online charitable activity initiated by Alipay, according to Ming Hongwei, an expert with the social philanthropy department of Alibaba.
In 2016, the first blockchain philanthropy program was officially launched on the Alipay Philanthropy platform, which made fundraising two times faster than before, Ming said.
However, more professional operation of fundraising platforms, and a stronger system and credit system are still needed, said Yang Fangfang, professor of the School of Public Affairs of Xiamen University.
"Online fundraising platforms should improve the supervising mechanism and the professional operation, and collaborations between platforms should be strengthened to manage and prevent crises in public trust," Yang said.
"With more and more young people paying attention to it, philanthropy has become a lifestyle and culture in China," said Chen with the Tencent Foundation.