Rotary has a long and rich history with China. The first Rotary Club in Shanghai was chartered in 1919. By 1947 there were 32 clubs welcoming local businessmen and expatriates, but political changes resulted in the closure of all Rotary clubs on mainland China by 1953.
Rotary leaders met with Chinese officials to reintroduce Rotary as early as 1982. Actively pursing the possibilities of reintroducing Rotary to China, RI presidents have led delegations to China in 1997, 2000 and 2002. The RI Board recognized that the Hong Kong Rotary clubs became part of the People’s Republic of China in 1999.
To demonstrate Rotary’s humanitarian ideals, grants and exchanges have been encouraged. As part of Polio Plus, Rotary has given $22 million to help eliminate polio in China, a milestone that was achieved in 2001. A total of seven Group Study Exchanges have occurred since 1991. In addition, starting in 1997, Rotary clubs and the Rotary Foundation have built credibility by funding $975,000 in humanitarian projects throughout China. In addition, Hong Kong clubs are raising US $1.3 million for Hepatitis B immunization for 1 million babies.
Rotary Club of Chinatown, NY