China has amended its charity law in a bid to clamp down to people using crowdfunding to pay for large medical bills.
Crowdfunding activities related to health must now seek permission from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Websites up until now have only warned potential donors on whether profiles are unverified.
The law will oblige people to authenticate their claims in crowdfunding posts, such as the stated financial status and health conditions.
Changes will come into effect in September.
Websites such as Shuidichou and Qingsongchou have played “positive roles” in helping low-income families pay their medical bills, said Shi Hong, a senior legislator, speaking to China Daily.
He said crowdfunding is prone to false claims and has damaged credibility in China’s charity sector.
“With the rise of internet technology, the number of crowdfunding projects has soared, and the scope of such projects is no longer restricted to a certain community or at a person’s workplace,” Shi Hong.
“It is widely acknowledged that legal changes are needed to administer such activities,” he added.
China’s charity law was passed through in 2016. The sector has developed in recent years, via family foundations and private giving from high wealth individuals.
Philanthropy and other forms of private social investment are becoming commonly accepted and even expected in China, leading to a positive shift in the way philanthropy is viewed, according to a report published by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society.
Shafi Musaddique is a news editor at Alliance magazine.