Friday, October 05, 2012

State launches religious charity campaign

China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) launched the first nationwide Week of Religious Charity in Mid-September. This follows a document released by the government in February that encourages religious groups to perform charitable activities.

The weeklong campaign from September 17-23 began with an opening ceremony and conference in Wuhan city, capital of central Hubei province. About 200 representatives from government-recognized Buddhist, Catholic, Islamic, Protestant and Taoist groups, officials and scholars were present. A SARA press release  said there are nearly 5,500 religious groups, about 130,000 sites for religious activities, 360,000 clergy and more than 100 million religious believers in China.

It cited incomplete statistics that money donations for charitable purposes from the religious sector amounted to three billion yuan (US$475 million) in the last five years, of which 250 million yuan were from Catholics.

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