What’s going with China’s “museum of philanthropy”?

Paul French in Shanghai reports that:

China has two key objectives: (among many admittedly)

1) To present itself as a country that is developing charity and philanthropy and not to mention the level of government control of NGOs or the rather wild self-promoting excesses of its new philanthropists (see my last column on Chen Guangbao)

2) To build China as a cultural powerhouse through the construction of thousands of new museums dedicated to pretty much any and everything.Charity and culture by executive order from Party Central in Beijing.

And so the city of Nantong in eastern China’s Jiangsu province is to get China’s (and perhaps the world’s) first museum of philanthropy. 30,000square metres at a cost of US$41 million of galleries devoted to philanthropy, according to Yang Zhanli, Nantong’s deputy mayor.

It should be ready to open to the long lines of obviously excited visitors in 2014.

About half the cost will be shouldered by the tax payers of Nantong (who haven’t really been consulted very closely about this) and the rest from donations.

Crucially deputy mayor Yang idetitied these donors to a museum of Chinese philanthropy as coming from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan (i.e. not the PRC itself) – this is code for ‘we’re touching up some local investors for a little tribute to the emperor’.

Dou Yepei, vice minister of civil affairs for Jiangsu (i.e. the we’ll have no jasmine on my watch minister) said the museum ws an important step in ‘promoting Chinese philanthripic culture and a way to raise peole’s awareness of social responsibility.’ Though they could have just built a new school or a hospital…

Our ten page briefing on CR in China from last year is here.

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