Edward Cunningham, January 2015
The growth of new wealth is one of the most important, far-reaching, and captivating aspects of change in modern China. Traditions of benevolent societies, clan-based giving, temple association support, and voluntarism have long been present in Chinese society, and coexisted alongside state-affiliated social welfare institutions throughout its dynastic, Republican, and Communist periods. Rapid economic expansion over the past 35 years has resulted in a generation of highly concentrated wealth holders who are now grappling with familiar questions of any gilded age: How should I give back to my community? Which causes are the most in need? How can I create meaningful change and have a lasting impact? Chinese philanthropy has also begun to branch into international networks of giving. This project seeks to complement existing studies and sources of data to highlight China’s top 100 donors in 2015, their giving patterns, and perhaps shift the focus away from wealth creation towards generosity in such a rapidly changing social, political, and economic context.