Promoting the Integrated Development of Charity and Social Work to Jointly Assist the Millennium Great Cause of Common Prosperity
---A keynote speech delivered by President Gong Puguang on 2023 National Social Work Institution Innovation and Development Conference
Distinguished Guests and Friends,
With the support of China Association of Social Workers, we get together in beautiful Suzhou from all over the country today to attend 2023 National Social Work Service Institution Innovation and Development Conference to discuss the development of social work to assist in the innovation of social governance. On behalf of China Charity Federation, Hereby I would like to extend warm congratulations on the convention of the conference and pay high tribute to those in all sectors of society who have long been concerned and supportive of social work and the development of charitable cause.
This year witnesses the establishment of the Ministry of Central Social Work in the new round of organizational reform of the CPC and our country, which is an important milestone in the history of China's social construction and a major strategic measure to comprehensively promote the building of modernization with Chinese characteristics. This reform has further enhanced the role and function of the fields such as social construction work, professional social work in particular, which is bound to usher in a new development. The conference held today is an important meeting for China's social work development to enter a new section. I am delighted to attend this conference at the invitation of President Chen Cungen. I will share with you some experiences on promoting common prosperity through the integration of charity and social work development as follows:
I. It is the historical mission of charity and social work in promoting common prosperity in a down-to-earth manner
It is the fundamental appeal for the CPC to achieve common prosperity for all the people, which is the essential requirement of socialism with Chinese characteristics as well. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at his core assess the situation and have a broad perspective and made profound thinking and scientific judgments on a series of major theoretical and practical issues related to common prosperity, making a solid strategic deployment to promote common prosperity for all people. Especially after winning the battle against poverty and historically settling absolute poverty, the Party Central Committee has placed a more prominent position in leading billions of people to achieve common prosperity for all. This is a significant historical turning point from prioritizing efficiency and balancing fairness to placing greater emphasis on fairness and promoting shared development achievements. At the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, the 10th session of the CPC Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee and the 20th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly emphasized that it has reached the historical stage of solidly promoting common prosperity and it is necessary to promote common prosperity of all people to make more obvious substantive progress in high-quality development.
In contemporary China, under the influence of moral power, charity is the voluntary flow of resources and wealth that all sectors of society voluntarily participate in as well as the most important manifestation of the third distribution, in which various social entities including caring enterprises and caring individuals who provide targeted assistance and services to social and developmental disadvantaged groups through donations, voluntary services and other means. Social work is a professional assistance activity that adheres to professional values, which comprehensively utilizes professional knowledge, skills and methods to help individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in need by integrating social resources, coordinating social relationships, preventing and solving social problems, restoring and developing social functions. As an important institutional arrangement in the field of social construction, China's charity and social work have gradually been recovered and developed in the process of reform and opening up. They were first included in the document of the Central Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee in 2006, titled Decision on Several Major Issues Concerning the Construction of a Socialist Harmonious Society, which not only play an increasingly important role in fulfilling the CPC’s purpose of serving the people, strengthening grassroots social governance and improving the building of the social security system participating in the third distribution, contributing to common prosperity, promoting rural revitalization and other aspects but also become an indispensable force to promote Chinese path to modernization
Promoting common prosperity in a down-to-earth manner is not only an issue in economic development but also a social relationship proposition. On the one hand, in the process of economic development, we should Give full play to the role of the income distribution system, especially the third distribution and handle the relationship between efficiency and fairness well; On the other hand, we need to accelerate the building of a social governance pattern of co-construction, co-governance and sharing to promote innovation in social governance. As socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, the CPC Central Committee has sounded the horn of common prosperity. As the third main channel of distribution as well as an important force in social governance, charity and social work shoulder a sacred and glorious mission in solidly promoting common prosperity, which is also the historical responsibility of all charitable and social workers.
II. It is an inevitable choice for the integrated development of charity and social work in the modernization of China's governance
Both charity and social work are products of the development of human society, especially in the process of modernization. Although rich charity ideas and concepts are included in traditional Chinese culture and there were various forms of ancient charity practices in history, supplemented by official charity, folk clan charity, religious charity and community charity. However, both social work and modern charity with public welfare belong to imported goods in the process of globalization in China, both of which are naturally inseparable but with close interconnection. In the subsequent continuous development, there is greater emphasis on the professionalism of social services, while there is more mobilization for more social forces to participate in donations and volunteer services in charity. They two advance at an equal pace at their own way with little interaction in their respective development track. However, the integrated development of charity and social work is an inevitable choice for China's modernization of governance whether analyzing from historical origins and theoretical logic or considering practical needs and development trends,
First of all, modern charity and social work are of the same origin. After the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the 19th century, the social problems caused by the urbanization of Western cities seriously threatened social stability. Under this background, public charity activities aimed at fundraising to alleviate poverty are gradually emerging and becoming more organized and specialized. With the further development of social productivity and the deepening of the basic contradictions of capitalism, it could no longer meet the objective requirements of social development relying solely on charitable cause. Thus, there is a great demand for professional knowledge and skills to solve the increasing number of social problems and there emerged professional social work as a result. In 1862, London Charity Society established a professional system through professional education, breaking away from the scope of traditional religious charity. In 1893, the Buffalo Charity Organization Association of the United States proposed that professionals with special training should take over the job of "helping others" from pastors with this work as a career, which became the historical beginning of professional social work derived from charity. At the beginning of the 20th century, countries such as the United Kingdoms and the United States established specialized schools for social work on the basis of charitable schools, offering social work courses and promoting the continuous development of professional social work. Subsequently, with the deepening of the Good Neighbor Movement in the United Kingdoms and the United States, the introduction of the Bismarck Social Insurance System in Germany, the promulgation of the Roosevelt New Deal Social Security Act in the United States and the gradual construction and promotion of the Beveridge Social Security Plan in the UK, social work has been gradually developed into a "scientific charity".
Then, modern charity and social work are advancing at an equal pace. From the perspective of social functions, both charity and social work are important components of modernization with Chinese characteristics, an organic component of China's basic economic system, social governance system and social security system, an important practice of the CPC’s purpose for the people, an important manifestation of socialist core values and an important force to participate in the third distribution, help common prosperity and promote rural revitalization. From the perspective of social goals, both charity and social work emphasize respect for human values and dignity, human freedom and development, advocate for social fairness, justice and harmony and regard enhancing people's well-being, solving people's difficulties, improving people's life quality and helping achieve comprehensive human development as their own development value goals and historical missions. From the perspective of value orientation, both charity and social work are altruistic, helping people in need solve social problems, committed to improving their rights, abilities, and status, advocating for a harmonious social environment and improving social welfare levels. From the perspective of work philosophy, both charity and social work adhere to the principles of people-oriented and sharing, showcasing the warmth of human nature in tapping into spiritual strength and adhering to moral principles, helping disadvantaged people strive for and access to social resources and achieving joint promotion of economic and social development.
Besides, modern charity and social work are complementary dialectically. In the historical process of solidly promoting common prosperity, charity and social work each have their own characteristics and advantages, and there is a dialectical interaction and complementary relationship between the two. In China, it mainly achieves the integration of charitable resources, with which delivering to the disadvantaged groups and social welfare undertakings through carrying out social fundraising and implementing public welfare charity projects. Most charitable organizations are both fundraising and project execution entities, whereas funded charitable organizations are underdeveloped and there is lack of professionalism in carrying out charitable projects, charitable service supply in particular, which affects the quality and efficiency of third distribution. The main reason is that separable development between charity and social work as well as their insufficient integration. In the historical process of solidly promoting common prosperity, it is not only necessary for charitable organizations and charitable resource providers to promptly identify service targets, smooth channels for the expression and participation of beneficiaries' needs but also to enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of charitable activities, in order to better play the role of the third allocation, improve the accuracy of charitable activities and the effectiveness of charitable assistance. Social work is a public welfare charity service carried out through professional methods, which can promote the precise connection of charity resources through professional services and maximize the role of public welfare charity resources. Vigorously promoting the integrated development of charity and social work can effectively promote the effective connection between charity needs and charity resources, enhance the professionalism of charity services and promote the precision and efficiency of charity. On the other hand, it may directly change the current situation of social work institutions' excessive reliance on government procurement services for funding sources, integrate social forces and resources from a larger scale and more dimensions to achieve higher quality development of their own so as to enable charity and social work to have complementary advantages, form a resultant force and maximize energy utilization so as to improve the scale, quality and level of the third distribution.
III. There is great potential for charity and social work in promoting common prosperity
As a long-term goal and an overall concept, common prosperity is a gradual development process. In the modernization of social governance in China, especially in the great practice of promoting common prosperity in a down-to-earth manner, there is broad prospect for the integration of charity and social work with great potential for development.
First, charity and social workers have great potential in consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty alleviation and participating in rural revitalization strategies. After comprehensively winning the battle against poverty, the central government made major decisions and deployments on consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty alleviation and implementing the rural revitalization strategy, which are major measures to solidly promote common prosperity as well. In 2020, in response to the call of the central government, China Charity Federation officially launched the "Happy Home" project in collaboration with charitable organizations at all levels across the country. China Charity Federation collaborated with the Internet fundraising information platform designated by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to connect the brand of China Charity Federation with administrative villages and communities and the qualifications for public fundraising nationwide, forming a village and community mutual assistance fund with independent fundraising functions, effectively implementing social governance functions such as community connecting with social charity resources, registering community volunteer teams and counting and exchanging community volunteer points, which can provide financial support and platform support for community social organizations, social workers and volunteers to carry out public welfare charity activities. It is a new era "hope project" that assists in rural revitalization, strengthens grassroots governance and benefits the village community. It is desired that more social work institutions and social workers will join the “Happy Home” project to create a demonstration model of charity and social work to help rural revitalization.
Second, there is great potential for charity and social work in partaking in social assistance and helping basic guarantee for the disadvantaged group. In September 2023, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued the Guiding Opinions on Strengthening the Effective Connection between Government Assistance and Charity Assistance, focusing on the goal of forming a new pattern of coordination and cooperation between government assistance and charity assistance, resource coordination, complementary advantages and efficient integration, making arrangements to strengthen the effective connection between government aid and charity assistance. It is clearly proposed in the Opinions that the establishment and improvement of an effective linkage mechanism between government aid and charitable assistance, and specifically require local departments of civil affaris to give full play to the role of township (street) civil affairs service stations (formerly social work stations), guide social workers to play a positive role in identifying rescue needs, connecting charitable resources and promoting supply and demand coordination, and provide strong support for public welfare charitable forces to participate in social assistance and accurately and efficiently assist disadvantaged groups. It is not only a policy guarantee for charity to participate in social assistance, but also a favorable opportunity for charity and social workers to provide basic support and promote common prosperity.
Third, there is great potential for charity and social work in participating in major emergency response and post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. Both charity and social work have shown great positive social energy and played an irreplaceable role in the Wenchuan earthquake rescue and post disaster reconstruction in 2008 and the fight against COVID-19 infection since 2020. After 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, social workers played a good role as third-party media between the government and the public in the face of social problems arising from disaster relief and reconstruction, who solved many sharp and complex social problems through professional social work methods. It was also from this year that social professional work received high attention from governments at all levels, when government procurement of services became an important source of self-development for social work institutions. In 2020, when the outbreak of COVID-19 infection broke out, many social forces such as enterprises, social organizations, social workers, volunteers and others widely participated in the epidemic response by donating money and materials, providing professional social work services and voluntary services, greatly supporting for the fight against the epidemic, bringing a wide range of social effects and values, highlighting the special role of charity and social work in responding to emergencies and social governance.
Fourth, there is great potential for charity and social work in participating in social governance and leading social trends. Common prosperity is not only about material prosperity but also about spiritual prosperity. It is high unification between promoting common prosperity and all-round human development and modernization of social governance. There exists immeasurable social value and spiritual power in both charity and social work. On the one hand, under the influence of moral force, when people participate in charity activities and make beneficial third distribution, charity practice will inevitably reshape and improve the social moral system and good customs, ensuring people's lives more harmonious and beautiful. On the other hand, social work comprehensively utilizes social resources, mobilizes the power of communities and families and provides professional and humanized high-quality services such as psychological counseling, relationship adjustment and social function repair to the disadvantaged, which may promote effective adaptation of individuals and the social environment, and will inevitably stimulate the participation of diverse social entities in social governance, leading a harmonious and upward social atmosphere. The alliance between charity and social work in the participation of social governance will undoubtedly play a positive role under the guidance of socialist core values in consolidating the broadest social consensus and the spiritual strength of the entire nation, casting a strong sense of Chinese national community and consolidating the ideological foundation of all ethnic groups nationwide to achieve common prosperity.
All in all, it is an inevitable trend and imperative for the integrated development of charity and social work in the process of modernization of social governance. Let us join hands, work hard and bravely move forward to write out a new glorious chapter in the charitable cause and social work in promoting common prosperity! Thank you all!