Faye Wong, Zhang Jie, TFBOYS… How do Chinese Celebrities Engage in Charity?

Charity Law Center, China Charity Research Institute, Beijing Normal University

中文 English

Editor’s Note

This is our translation of an article originally published by the China Charity Research Institute on the 20th of April 2018. You can find the original here. This translation has been slightly abridged for brevity and clarity. 


From the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to charity dinners, celebrities in various fields are using their influence to participate in charity, bringing positive energy to society and taking on an irreplaceable role in increasing public understanding and support for charitable causes.

Since its first release in 2013, the Chinese Charity Celebrity Ranking has become an annual evaluation of the actions of performers, artists, athletes and hosts in the fields of public welfare and charity. 30 celebrities with outstanding performances in these fields are selected every year, by assessing the annual totals of their personal direct and indirect donations, their charitable activities and their personal influence on public welfare. By summarising the Chinese Charity Celebrity Ranking from 2013 to 2017, collecting and analysing the traits of the celebrities on the lists, the ways that they engage in charity and the particular fields they focus on, we can develop a systematic understanding of how Chinese celebrities engage in charity, and discover what the future trends will be.


The defining features of Chinese celebrities’ engagement in charity


1. The number of people listed has increased year by year, and more and more celebrities donate as couples.

In the five years between 2013 and 2017, a total of 95 celebrities made their way onto the Chinese Charity Celebrity List. In 2013, the 30-place list actually included 36 individual celebrities, since there were five couples, Faye Wong & Li Yapeng, Zhang Guoli & Deng Hao, Zhang Jie & Xie Na, Fan Weiqi & Chen Jianzhou and Ma Yili & Wen Zhang, as well as the Yu Quan group. In 2014, there were 31 celebrities on the list, including one couple, Zhang Jie and Xie Na. In 2015, 35 celebrities appeared on the list, including four couples, Huang Xiaoming & Angelababy, Yang Mi & Liu Kaiwei, and Jia Zhangke & Zhao Tao, and the TFBOYS who were included as a group. In 2016, there were 37 celebrities on the list, the highest number ever, including Huang Xiaoming & Angelababy, Tong Dawei & Guan Yue, Xu Zheng & Tao Hong, and Yuan Hong & Zhang Xinyi, a total of four couples, and the Yu Quan and TFBOYS who were both in the list as groups. In 2017, there were 37 celebrities selected, including Huang Xiaoming & Angelababy, Fan Bingbing & Li Chen, Tan Dawei & Guan Yue, Deng Chao & Sun Li, and Wu Jing & Xie Nan, for a total of five couples, and the TFBOYS who ranked first in the list, appearing as a group.

From the data, we can see that more and more celebrity couples choose to engage in charity as couples, and after getting married many celebrities will follow in the footsteps of their partners and get involved in charity. Through the influence of both sides, the couples can achieve a charitable effect that is bigger than the sum of its parts.


2. Male celebrities take up more than half of the list, and have a bigger presence than women.

Looking at the gender distribution within the rankings, we can see that in the five years from 2013 to 2017, 51 male celebrities and 44 female celebrities have made the ranking. Across the rankings we can see that the lowest proportion for male celebrities was 52% in 2014, the highest was 57% in 2016, and the average was 54%. Overall the male celebrity representation is higher than the female one, and furthermore male representation is on the rise.

There may be two main reasons for this trend: first of all, the income of male celebrities is quite high. Their individual donations, and the desire and demand for them to participate in charity are also correspondingly high. Secondly, male celebrities have a relatively larger female fan base, which has a greater enthusiasm for charity. This gives male celebrities a greater individual influence on charity.


Figure 1: Breakdown by gender of the celebrities on the China Celebrity Charity Ranking from 2013 to 2017


3. The celebrities who make the ranking tend to be young. Celebrities born in the 90s have become a new force in philanthropy.

The age composition shows that, over time, there has been an overall tendency for the celebrities in the ranking to get younger. Celebrities born after 1980 rapidly increased in number from 22% in 2013 to 46% in 2017. Celebrities born before 1970 progressively declined in number year by year, plummeting from 13 (36%) in 2013 to four (11%) in 2017. Celebrities born between 1970 and 1979 were the most in number for every year, accounting for over 40% of the total number of celebrities in the list. With their overall number fundamentally stable, they are the main force behind celebrity participation in charity in China. Celebrities born between 1980 and 1989 were the second highest in number in each year, with their numbers tending to rise year by year. Significantly, celebrities born after 1990, with “EXO Four Sons Returned” and the TFBOYS in the lead, entered the list for the first time in 2015. They quickly took the top spot in 2017, turning into a new force which cannot be ignored.

1674108774Figure 2: Years of birth of the celebrities on the China Celebrity Charity Ranking from 2013 to 2017


4. The popularity of traditional sectors like education and disease relief has not declined, but there is an increased interest in the area of equal rights advocacy.

The researchers used public channels such as media reports and the official websites of foundations to scan through the charity events attended by the celebrities in the ranking. They then organised and summarised the main charity sectors that the celebrities in each year’s ranking focused on. As these may have changed over time, the researchers gathered and summarised the charity events for each year in the case of celebrities who appeared in the ranking multiple times.

The results show that traditional charity sectors such as education and disease relief are popular with celebrities. A series of public welfare projects starring well-known figures, including “Ali’s Heart”, “One Hundred People Aid” and “Smiling Angel”, all belong to this category. Gender equality and related fields increased in popularity in 2016 and 2017, with celebrities focusing mainly on the areas of gender equality and refugees. For example, Hai Qing and Tong Dawei served as UN Women Goodwill Ambassadors, Guan Yue served as a “HeForShe Advocate”*, Yao Chen served as UNHCR China Goodwill Ambassador, etc… Focus on sectors such as poverty alleviation and disaster relief decreased. While the overall popularity of sectors such as culture and sports was fairly low, celebrities involved in such areas generally maintained a focus on them. For example, Yao Ming has held the “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season” through the “Yao Foundation” for many consecutive years. This sports enlightenment project, developed through the Hope Primary School, promotes the popularity of basketball and allows children in impoverished areas to enjoy sports**.


Figure 3: Sectors of focus for celebrities in the China Celebrity Charity Ranking from 2013-2017


5. Fan-based charity has become a new trend in celebrity philanthropy.

The researchers examined the charitable activities of celebrities who made the ranking in each individual year, and roughly summarised the four ways in which they participated in charity: direct funding, support through influence, direct participation, and fan-based charity. Direct funding refers to donations or social activities made or carried out in the name of the celebrity, an affiliated company or work studio, or in the name of a charity foundation or special charity fund established by the celebrity. Support through influence refers to celebrities participating in charity by using their own social influence and brand appeal, serving as ambassadors for public welfare projects and attending charity dinners or charity performances. Direct participation refers to celebrities participating directly in the implementation of charitable projects such as education in undeveloped areas, medical care and poverty alleviation or in volunteer services. Fan-based charity refers to celebrities’ fans who take the initiative and launch charitable actions in the name of the star.

Looking at the ways in which celebrities participated in charitable activities between 2013 and 2017, direct financial contributions was the main form of participation, accounting for 43% of all forms of participation during this period. Coming in second was celebrities providing support through their own influence, which accounted for 33%. Direct participation accounted for 18%. While only making up 6%, fan-based charity represents a growing trend, rising from 2% in 2014 to 8% in 2018, which shows a continuous trend of year-on-year growth.

Charitable appeals launched by fans have already become a major growth point in terms of celebrity participation in charitable activities. Fan-led charitable appeals were first initiated in China by “superwomen” like Li Ningchun and Zhou Bichang, and through many years of quiet influence they have been carried forward among the fans of younger celebrities like EXO and TFBOYS.

As the first case of “fan-based charity” in China, in March 2006 Li Ningchun and her fans (known in Chinese as “yumi”) supported the creation of the “Yumi Compassion Fund”, the first charity named and endorsed by the fans of a celebrity, established by the China Red Cross Foundation. Li Ningchun also assumed the role of the Fund’s spokesperson-for-life. The founding of the Yumi Compassion Fund not only allowed Li’s fans to express their love and support for her by taking part in charitable activities. It also constituted a pioneering case of Chinese celebrities participating in charitable activities.

On TFBOYS member Wang Yuan’s seventeenth birthday, his fans carried out 88 supporting activities, including 39 charitable ones. The content of the 39 charitable activities ranged from signal towers to charity concerts and from physical donation boxes to Zhifubao “red packets”. Huge advancements were made in the sheer number, professionalism and innovativeness of these activities compared with the ones made to mark Wang Yuan’s sixteenth birthday.


Trends in the participation of Chinese celebrities in charitable activities


1. Promoting the development of a professionalized, systematized charitable sector.

With the development of the charitable sector and the accompanying improvement of related laws and regulations, the participation of Chinese celebrities in charitable activities is becoming more professional and systematic. In the past Chinese celebrities’ efforts to take part in charitable activities were quite unprofessional: most activities simply amounted to donations of money or goods, and lacked any comparable organizational development. Information transparency was inadequate, which lead to inefficiencies and internal corruption.

Now when celebrities take part in charitable activities, they not only make donations and advocate on behalf of the cause; they also engage in a deeper analysis of society’s needs and work with other celebrities – each with their own area of expertise – to create specialized funds, establish charitable foundations and invest in innovative social programs. Worthy of particular note and praise are developments in the area of organizational structures, regulatory compliance design, information transparency and charitable innovation. One could say that celebrities are using their own activities to promote the overall advancement of China’s charitable sector.


2. Promoting the popularization of charitable activities.

Through the influence of their individual brands and by acting as role models, celebrities are both spreading the concept of charitable work to the public and personally contributing to China’s charity sector. By following the behaviour of celebrities, both the public and fans learn more about charitable activities and programs and celebrity-launched charitable organizations, and can even directly participate in charitable activities with celebrities. Likewise, the public can gain a fuller understanding and deeper appreciation of these celebrities through these charitable activities. Celebrities using their influence to support charitable programs and their fans participating in charitable appeals has contributed to strengthen the public’s concept of charity and create a contemporary culture of mass participation in charity.


*联合国妇女署官方微博,https://weibo.com/2085248835/Fz3wbjUzt,最后引用 2018 年4 月 12 日。

UN Women Official Weibo Account,  https://weibo.com/2085248835/Fz3wbjUzt, last accessed 12 April 2018
** 姚基金简介,姚基金官方网站, http://www.yaofoundation.cn/About/Info.aspx,最后引用 2018 年 4 月 12 日。

Yao Foundation About, Yao Foundation Official Webpage,  http://www.yaofoundation.cn/About/Info.aspx, last accessed 12 April 2018.


*** 玉米爱心基金背景,中国红十字基金会官网,https://new.crcf.org.cn/sys/html/lm_57/2007‐08‐17/175209.htm,最后引用 2018 年 4 月12 日。

Yumi Compassion Fund, China Red Cross Foundation Official Website,  https://new.crcf.org.cn/sys/html/lm_57/2007‐08‐17/175209.htm, last accessed 12 April 2018.


**** 王源 17 岁生日被粉丝当春晚过: 88 项应援建信号塔定制主题飞机, AI 财经社,

https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404172103401264738,组后引用 2018 年4月 12 日。


**** Wang Yuan’s 17th Birthday Celebrated Like Spring Festival By Fans: 88 Appeals Made, Signal Tower and Customized Themed Airplane Built, AI Finance Group, https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404172103401264738, last accessed 12 April 2018

石晓燕. (2017). 中国明星参与公益慈善的困境分析及政策建议. 现代交际(16), 68‐70。


***** Shi Xiaoyan (2017) Problem analysis and policy recommendations regarding Chinese celebrities participation in charitable activities. Social Exchange (16), 68-70.


Source: Beijing Normal University, China Charity Research Institute, Charity Law Center

慈善 | 王菲、张杰、TFBOYS…中国名人怎么做慈善?

中国公益研究院 2018-04-20
从“冰桶挑战”到慈善晚宴,各个领域的名人纷纷通过利用自身的影响力参与慈善,给社会带来正能量,在增加公众对公益慈善事业的了解与支持方面有着不可替代的作用。 中国慈善名人榜自 2013 年首次发布以来,已经连续五年对演艺明星、艺术家、运动员、主持人在公益慈善领域的表现进行年度评价。通过年度个人捐赠额、年度个人间接捐赠额、个人公益行动和个人公益影响力四个维度的评估,选拔出 30 位在慈善、公益领域有出色表现的年度名人。通过总结 2013 至 2017 年度中国慈善名人榜,收集并分析历届上榜名人的特点、慈善参与方式、慈善关注领域,系统的了解我国名人参与慈善的现状,并从中发现名人公益慈善的未来发展趋势。
1. 上榜人数逐年增加,夫妻名义参与慈善成新趋势
2013 至 2017 年 5 年间累计 95 位名人登上中国慈善名人榜。2013 年有30 组共 36 位名人上榜,其中包括王菲&李亚鹏、张国立&邓婕、张杰&谢娜、范玮琪&陈建州、马伊琍&文章 5 对夫妻,以及羽泉组合以组合名义上榜,其他均为个人名义上榜; 2014 年有 30 组共 31 位名人上榜,除张杰&谢娜以夫妻名义外,其余均为个人名义; 2015 年有 30 组共 35 名名人上榜, 其中包括黄晓&Angelababy、 杨幂&刘恺威、 贾樟柯&赵涛 3 对夫妻,以及 TFBOYS 以组合名义上榜; 2016 年有 30 组共 37 位名人入选,上榜人数创历史新高,其中包括黄晓明&Angelababy、佟大为&关悦、徐峥&陶虹、袁弘&张歆艺在内的 4 对夫妻,以及羽泉组合和 TFBOYS 组合名义双双入榜; 2017 年有 30 组共 37 名名人入选,有黄晓明&Angelababy、范冰冰&李晨、佟大为&关悦、邓超&孙俪、吴京&谢楠 5 对夫妻, TFBOYS 以组合名义名列榜首。从数据中我们可以看出,越来越多的名人夫妇选择以夫妻的名义参与慈善,而许多名人在婚后也会跟随伴侣的脚步加入慈善的队伍,通过双方的影响力加成,达到 1+1>2 的慈善效果。
图1 2013 至 2017 年中国名人慈善榜上榜名人构成情况
2. 男性名人占榜上过半,且总体排名高于女性
从上榜名人性别来看, 2013-2017 年 5 年间共有 51 名男性和 44 名女性名人上榜。从比例来看,男性名人占比最低的 2014 年为 52%,最高的2016 年为 57%各年平均占比为 54%,总体高于上榜女性名人,并呈波动上涨态势。从平均排名来看,男性名人的平均排名从最低的 2013 年的 16.4波动升至最高的 2017 年的 13.4, 5 年平均排名为 14.8,而女性名人的平均排名最低的 2014 年为 17.5, 最高的 2015 年为 13.5, 5 年平均排名为 15.8,总体趋势平缓且波动较大。总体来说,男性名人在榜上的平均排名略高于女性,并呈波动上升态势。产生这种趋势的主要原因可能有两个:其一,男性名人整体收入较高,个人捐赠的金额相应较高,对慈善参与的需求及意愿也相应较大;其二,男性名人的粉丝中女性粉丝基数较大,对慈善参与的热情更高,从而让男性名人有更高的个人公益影响力。
图2 2013 至 2017 年中国名人慈善榜上榜名人性别情况
3. 上榜名人呈年轻化态势,“90 后”名人成为慈善新生力量
从上榜名人的年龄结构来看,随着时间的推移,上榜名人整体呈年轻化态势。 1980 年以后出生的“80 后”名人从 2013 年的 22%迅速升至 2017年的 46%。 1970 年以前出生的名人数量明显逐年递减,从 2013 年的 13 位(36%)骤减到 2017 年的 4 位(11%); 1970-1979 年间出生的名人数量在各年度均为最多,占上榜总人数的 4 成以上,且整体数量基本稳定,是我国名人参与慈善的中坚力量; 1980-1989 年间出生的名人在各年度均为第二多, 且随时间推移呈逐年上升态势; 值得注意的是, 以“EXO 归国四子”和TFBOYS为首的 1990 年以后出生的年轻名人, 在 2015 年初进入榜单便异军突起,并在2017年迅速占领榜首,成为榜单上不可忽视的一股新生力量。
图3 2013 至 2017 年中国名人慈善榜上榜名人年龄情况
4. 教育、疾病救助等传统领域热度不减,平权倡导领域关注度提升
研究人员通过媒体报道、基金会官方网站等公开渠道,对各年度上榜名人在的慈善活动进行扫描,梳理并总结出各年度上榜名人主要关注的慈善领域。由于关注的领域可能随时间产生变化,研究人员对多次上榜的名人,仅收集并总结其该年度的慈善活动。从结果来看,教育、疾病救助等传统慈善领域为名人参与的热门领域,如“爱里的心”、“百人援助”、“嫣然天使”等一系列社会知名度较高的名人公益项目均属此类;性别平等相关领域在 2016, 2017 年热度有所增加,名人的关注点主要集中在性别平权、难民等领域,如海清、佟大为担任联合国妇女署亲善大使,关悦担任“他为她倡导者” *,姚晨担任联合国难民署中国亲善大使等等;扶贫、救灾领域关注度有所下降;文化、体育等领域总体热度较低,但相应领域的名人通常对此有较持续的关注,例如姚明通过“姚基金”连续多年持续举办“姚基金希望小学篮球季”,通过在希望小学中开展该体育启蒙项目,推动篮球运动的普及,让贫困地区的孩子享受体育运动的快乐**。
图4 2013 至 2017 年中国名人慈善榜上榜名人关注领域
5. 粉丝公益应援已成为名人公益新趋势
研究人员通过对各年度上榜名人在的慈善活动进行扫描,大致总结出名人参与公益的四种方式:直接资助,影响力支持,直接执行,以及公益应援。直接捐赠是指以名人个人名义、以所属公司或工作室名义、或以名人本人所成立的慈善基金会或专项慈善基金名义进行的捐赠或资助慈善事业的社会活动。影响力支持是指名人通过自身的社会影响力和品牌号召力,通过担任公益项目形象大使、参与慈善晚宴和慈善义演等方式来参与慈善。直接执行是指名人自身以直接参与支教、义诊、扶贫等慈善项目执行或志愿服务的方式进行慈善参与。公益应援是指名人的粉丝主动以明星之名发起的公益行动。从 2013-2017 年名人参与公益的方式可以看出,直接资助是名人参与慈善最主要的方式,平均占比约为 43%;次之是影响力支持,平均占比约为 33%;直接执行约占 18%,公益应援平均占比虽然仅为 6%,但呈持续增长趋势,从 2014 年的 2%迅速增长到 2017 年的 8%,并有继续逐年上升的趋势。
图5 2013 至 2017 年中国名人慈善榜上榜名人参与方式
由粉丝发起的公益应援已成为当今名人参与公益的重要增长点。粉丝公益应援在国内由李宇春、 周笔畅等“超女”开启,经过多年潜移默化,在“EXO归国四子”和 TFBOYS 等 90 后、 00 后明星的粉丝中被发扬光大。作为我国“粉丝公益应援”的伊始, 2006 年 3 月,在李宇春的支持和众多“玉米”(李宇春歌迷昵称)的建议下,“玉米爱心基金”作为首个由明星粉丝捐设和命名的专项基金在中国红十字基金会设立,并由李宇春担任该基金的终身代言人***。“玉米爱心基金”的设立满足了广大粉丝通过参与公益活动的方式表达对明星的喜爱与支持的需求,使其成为中国明星参与公益的一个创举。在 TFBOYS 成员王源的 17 岁生日时,粉丝为他做了 88 项应援,包括39 项公益应援、 38 项传统应援、 8 项媒体应援以及 3 项特殊应援****。这 39项公益应援的内容从捐建信号塔到公益音乐会,从主题公益纸箱到支付宝公益红包,与王源 16 岁生日时的 15 项公益应援相比,不论是公益应援的数量、专业度或创新度上都有了长足的进步。
1. 促进公益慈善行业专业化、系统化发展
2. 促进慈善全民化发展
* 联合国妇女署官方微博,https://weibo.com/2085248835/Fz3wbjUzt,最后引用 2018 年4 月 12 日。 ** 姚基金简介,姚基金官方网站, http://www.yaofoundation.cn/About/Info.aspx,最后引用 2018 年 4 月 12 日。*** 玉米爱心基金背景,中国红十字基金会官网,https://new.crcf.org.cn/sys/html/lm_57/2007‐08‐17/175209.htm,最后引用 2018 年 4 月12 日。**** 王源 17 岁生日被粉丝当春晚过: 88 项应援建信号塔定制主题飞机, AI 财经社,https://weibo.com/ttarticle/p/show?id=2309404172103401264738,组后引用 2018 年4月 12 日。***** 石晓燕. (2017). 中国明星参与公益慈善的困境分析及政策建议. 现代交际(16), 68‐70。
统筹: 江涛  王阳责编: 陈科名编辑: 魏宇珺本文源自: 北京师范大学中国公益研究院 慈善法律中心

Translated by Emile Dirks, Peta Heinrich, Shuhan Zhang

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