Mainland charities to surpass HK, Taiwanese groups in 10 years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 November, 2010, 12:00am

Charity work by NGOs on the mainland will surpass that by Hong Kong and Taiwanese organisations within 10 years, said one Taiwanese charity's founder and president of the island's Control Yuan.

Wang Chien-shien (pictured) - founder of the Renewal Foundation, which operates in Taiwan, on the mainland and in the United States - was invited by the Hong Kong and Macau Taiwanese Charity Fund to attend an award ceremony earlier in Hong Kong in praise of his contribution to cross-strait charity work.

'One thing I am very happy about is that I found mainland people's awareness of charity has been awakened as their economic condition improves year after year,' Wang said. 'So far the wealthy people on the mainland support nearly 16 per cent of our 'pearl programme', and I believe the proportion will sharply rise in the future.'

That is what prompted his prediction that the role of his and other charity organisations in Taiwan and Hong Kong will eventually disappear.

Wang, 72, founded the Renewal Foundation in 1996 by donating more than NT$10 million, which was the balance of his campaign fund for the legislation. Although he and his wife had no children in nearly a half-century of marriage, they donated their pensions to support the foundation to build more than 300 Hope Schools in mainland rural areas.

'We never complain about childlessness, as we believe God has a plan for us - to make us more able to take care of all the children who are in need in the world,' Wang, a devout Christian, said.

Wang is famous for his squeaky-clean image as Taiwan's financial minister in the early 1990s. He was dubbed the 'best finance minister in Asia' by overseas media because of the decision to open up the banking system on the island.

'As a veteran who served the government for more than three decades, I find that my charity job is my favourite work because it makes me younger and happier,' he said. 'That's why I once hesitated when President Ma Ying-jeou appointed me as the president of the Control Yuan.'

The Control Yuan is one of the five branches of Taiwan's government, whose job is to monitor the ethics of the other branches and conduct investigations into alleged corruption.

Wang said charity work had never hindered his duties in the Control Yuan.

'Quite the contrary, my charity work doesn't only foster the development of cross-strait relations, but also lets us understand each other better,' he said.

Wang once turned a birthday party in the Control Yuan into 'a day to wash mothers' feet' - encouraging civil servants to adopt a servant's attitude from Jesus' example of washing his disciples' feet.