According to the SCMP, Charities in Hong Kong will have to reveal their financial accounts on the government website to make their fundraising activities and use of donations more transparent.
A public hotline, 3142 2678, has been set up for inquiries or complaints about fundraising activities in public. Furthermore, a 33-page “good practice guide on charitable fundraising” has been created and made available.
Personally, I am rather disappointed in the lackluster attempt by the government to manage charities. My sentiments are shared by Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung who said the new measures would not go far enough.
“The guidelines are too mild and non-binding,” Cheung said. “And it is funny for the government to note that those not adopting the guidelines should not be regarded as being ‘bad’.”
Charities in Hong Kong are vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing without the legislation and therefore regulations to protect them. If Hong Kong was serious about protecting the integrity of the system, they would have heeded a 2011 Law Reform Commission proposal to set up a centralised authority to register charities, as pointed out by Cheung in the article.