China Introduces New NGO Laws

The People’s Republic of China’s Law on the Management of the Activities of Overseas NGO within Mainland China has just been passed by the National People’s Congress. The law is supposed to “regulate the activities of overseas NGOs in China and protect their rights and interests”, but it has understandably caused much trepidation within the NGO community. This law shall come into force on January 1, 2017.

At a Glance:

Who will be affected?

The new law is aimed at all “non-profit, non-governmental social organizations established abroad”. Under current regulations “social organisations” refer to social groups, private non -enterprise units (e.g. schools), and foundations.

So, what’s new?

Many NGOs in China currently operate as a private company, under this new legislation all overseas NGOs must register with the Public Security Bureau (PSB), and establish a representative office. An overseas NGO may be allowed to conduct temporary activities with Chinese partner organisations, who must file documents for approval on behalf of the NGO. Every aspect of NGO operations will be scrutinized by relevant governmental departments, including finances.

What does this mean for the future of NGOs in China?

This law has come under heavy scrutiny amidst worries that the new controls will make it difficult to conduct any operation which is seen as unfavorable to the one party government. The complex registration process may result in low approval rates. For those who do receive approval, the entire procedure may take months, or even years to complete.

Read more here.