Facilitating the Lawful Activities of Foreign NGOs in China

“Facilitating the Lawful Activities of Foreign NGOs in China” is the title of an article that appeared on the second page of the People’s Daily, on 16 October 2016. According to the article, on October 14 the Ministry of Public Security held a meeting where the “Guidelines on the Registration and Temporary Activities of Representative Offices of Foreign NGOs (Draft for Soliciting Opinions)” were presented to a selected audience. Rumors heard through the internet grapevine seem to suggest that some foreign citizens and non-governmental organizations already have access to the non-public draft. In the meantime, various articles from the mainland’s press, such as this one, and this one, are being disseminated through Karla Simon’s China Civil Society Listserv.  An unofficial translation of the People’s Daily article follows.

Shanghai, October 15 , 2016. Staff Writer. (Reporter Zhang Yang).

Journalists have learned from a meeting of the Ministry of Public Security and the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, held in Shanghai on October 14, that the “Guidelischermata-2016-10-16-alle-23-51-25nes on the Registration and Temporary Activities of  Representative Offices of Foreign NGOs (Draft for Soliciting Opinions)” have been formulated, and that they will be published before January 1, 2016, the date when the “Law on the Domestic Activities of Foreign-Funded NGOs” will go into effect.

  Hao Yuhong, the head of the Ministry of Public Security Office on the Management of Foreign NGOs, stated that preparations were made according to relevant laws and regulations to create favorable conditions for foreign NGOs to carry out their activities in China according to the law, and to provide efficient and convenient services to them. At the moment, the relevant departments – led by the Ministry of Public Security – have participated to the creation of a national mechanism to coordinate the work of managing and supervising foreign NGOs. They have been responsible for doing research on, coordinating, and solving the important problem of supervising and managing the activities of foreign-funded NGOs in China, as well as providing services to them.

  Relevant normative documents, including the “Guidelines on the Registration and Temporary Activities of  Representative Offices of Foreign NGOs” and the “Directory of Foreign NGOs Operations in China, Their Activities, and Professional Supervising units”, are being researched and drafted. Relevant information service systems and internet networks are being constructed, to allow to make appointments for registration, requests and the submission of relevant documents online, through a dedicated service platform.

  It is understood that the Ministry of Public Security is working with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce to transfer some of the foreign NGOs that are already registered with these two ministries, to ensure a smooth transition to the new legal framework, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign NGOs. The Reception Desks of the Exit and Entry Administration of Provincial Public Security Bureaus are creating registration desks to facilitate the work, and residence permit applications of foreign NGOs and their foreign personnel, as well as application procedures for other documents.

  The United States-China Business Council Shanghai Office, the Commerce and Industry Office of the Russian Federation, and the Shanghai Office of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, besides representatives of foreign NGOs of 9 other countries took part to the meeting, offering constructive opinions and suggestions.

[Comments and suggestions on improving this translation are welcome. Please visit the Contact page.]

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