We, Laurel Book Club, which was set up on April 30, 2017, is a China-based unofficial NGO. Our purposes are to spread humanistic spirit, to establish independent minds, and to awake internal conscience in China by reading and spreading western classics, especially western philosophical classics, to help China toward democracy at last.
History shows that behind democracy are humanistic spirit and scientific knowledge, but in Chinese culture, the two things are zero. More importantly, even if the Chinese government doesn't oppose scientific knowledge dissemination and individuals studying western philosophy, it forbids the promulgation of humanistic thought based on western philosophy, because this is contrary to both China's official philosophy and traditional philosophy. In China, state-owned or state publishing houses publishs many books of western philosophy by foreign scholars every year. This is a chance for us to take advantage of.
Now, we have a collection of 184 book copies, all of which were donated by the 10 grassroots founding members of the book club. We received slight money in donation too, most of which was offered by founding members-----donation is a requirement for membership in our book club. However, the operation and survival of the book club has mainly depended on its founder, Zhang Ge, an independent scholar, writer, and translator as well as a human loathing thought to be controlled (He has many articles in English published overseas of Chinese society, culture, and history. If interested in these, please leave a note to me).
Our book club is to be set up on a social networking platform which was built up in 2014 by its founder. At that time, as our creator usually posted views of western philosophy on some social networking platforms and helped other users resolve some questions of English, a user recommended our founder to institute a social networking platform of his own to better spread the two kinds of knowledge.
The social networking platform has been run by our book club to date. Meanwhile, many like platforms have been closed by order of the government. A key reason why we luckily survive may be that what we do more is talking about knowledge of democracy and western philosophy, not posting unproven unfair social events.
Now the platform has over 280 users and most of them are young under age 30, many teenagers. This is a force encouraging us to continuously work and keep and develop our book club.
Besides the platform, now we also run another networking platform for publishing, whose main contributorthe book club's founder is now.
In addition to running the two platforms, the tasks we have done according to plan are:
1) Lending books free;
2) Helping our users buy books;
3) Developing membership and fundraising;
4) Buy more book copies.
The tasks are only part of our decided missions, which still include the following:
1) Suggesting a list of books for reading each week;
2) Organizing a study meeting every week and a lecture every two weeks;
3) Issuing, editing, and publishing a monthly magazine and giving out free 200 copies of the magazine;
4) Going to villiages, towns, counties, and cities to develop membership and set up branchs;
5) Officially registering a company offering services of translation and training to keep and develop permanently our book club on our own.
Yet thank to severe lack of funds, the activities haven't been able to be effectively performed and some of them haven't even been carried out at all. This makes us deeply feel our weakness: we couldn't achieve our missions without help from the outside world, more not to mention our objective.
In addition to the fixed missions above, if the stated needed funds here can be successfully raised and arrive at our book club, its founder will plan to write a book on democratic politics, democratic history, and democratic philosophy during two years.
The funds will still be used for the following budget items:
10 workers at two organizations, a combined annual total salary: $120171
2) Benfits, Taxes, and Allowances
Including tax on salaries, health and social insurance, and 13th month payment, total: $14007
3) Space and Utilities
Two offices (including a reading room a library) rent, $7461.5/month, 12 months, total:$89538
4) Books, Supplies, electrical appliances, and Equipment
3000 copies of books, total:$10000
Office furniture,, total: $1200
Office and reading room supplies, total:$100
Six air conditioners, total:$3222
Eight computers and accessories, total:$4249
Two printers and a copier, total:$250
5) Communications and Postage
Telephone, fax, e-mail, postage, website, and broadband, total:$1243
6) Travel and Per diem
International travel, total:$5000
Domestic travel, total:$3000
Local travel, total:$2500
7) Contractual/Consultant Services
Videotaping and symposiums, total:$80
Workshops training consultants, total:$300
Symposium speakers, total:$160
Workshop organizer, total:$150
8)Other Direct Costs
Conference meals(including lunch, coffee breaks, and dinner)and refreshments, total:$2000
Printing and distribution (including 12 issues of a 50-page magazine and brochure, poster, leaflet, guide, and bulletin), total:$4200
Writers' copy payment, $25/1000 Chinese characters, total:$10500
Total budget costs: $274590
All the above-mentioned tasks will immediately be carried out when the funds have been successfully collected and given to our book club.
As for our tasks, there are four indices which can be used to assess whether they are well performed:
1) Whether our book club has developed 1000 or above members;
2) Whether our members can understand and admit simply such facts as a democrat denying that China has been the world's second largest economy resembles in fact in the attitude toward the truth or fact a communist saying that China has beaten the US to be the world's first strongest country now (in reality, many Chinese democrats are being unwilling to frankly agree to the fact);
3) Whether our members can understand that upholding democracy doesn't amount to opposing the communist party and that opposing the party's tyranny doesn't equal to opposing the party (in reality, Chinese democrats are usually found to confuse these concepts);
4) Whether our members have the ability to propagate humanistic thought based on western philosophy on their own.
Index 2 is on the posture on the truth, Index 3 on logic and reason and concepts.
The following is a list of published articles by our book club's founder:
1，《认知与模态》 (Cognition and Modality)
2，《数学与真理》 (Maths and Truth)
3，《科学与唯物主义》( Science and Materialism)
(Review of the Status of Lu Xun in the History of Chinese Thought)
1, Academic fraud only a symptom of the rot
(January 10,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
2, An intrude in Tiananmen
(January 27,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
3, True Republicans
(Fubruary 24,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
4, Rampant fake news the flip side of tight media control
(May 31,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
5, Empty vessel
(November 11,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
6, Politics is corroding Chinese love of learning
(December 2,2011’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
7, More to fear in China’s schools than sex predators
(June 12,2013’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
8, Do not revive
(July 4,2013’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
9, Officials must be more accountable to people
(July 31,2013’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)
10, Patriotism is a poor master of scientific innovation
(August 26,2013’s edition of HongKong’s South China Morning Post)