Overseas NGO rules clar­i­fied

Guide­line ex­plains cri­te­ria for reg­is­ter­ing an of­fice and op­er­at­ing on the main­land

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YI in Bei­jing zhang_yi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top se­cu­rity au­thor­ity has is­sued a guide­line for overseas NGOs to op­er­ate on the main­land, pro­vid­ing de­tailed rules for them to regis­ter a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice and or­ga­nize events.

The Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity pub­lished the guide­line on Mon­day on its web­site, say­ing the doc­u­ment was rolled out in ac­cor­dance with a law on the man­age­ment of overseas NGOs that was passed by the top leg­is­la­ture in April.

The law, which will take ef­fect on Jan 1, des­ig­nates the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity and pro­vin­cial po­lice au­thor­i­ties to be in charge of the reg­is­tra­tion and man­age­ment of overseas NGOs on the Chi­nese main­land.

In the guide­line, the min­istry lists the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and pro­ce­dures for NGOs to regis­ter or to close their of­fices as well as the doc­u­ments needed for an an­nual re­view of their op­er­a­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­vi­sions, overseas NGOs must be le­git­i­mately es­tab­lished out­side the Chi­nese main­land and be able to bear civil li­a­bil­ity in­de­pen­dently, and they must have op­er­ated for at least two years be­fore ap­ply­ing to set up an of­fice on the main­land.

Also re­quired for reg­is­tra­tion are the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s char­ter, the source of its fund­ing and its planned lo­ca­tion on the main­land. Ad­di­tion­ally, the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s chief rep­re­sen­ta­tive in China must not have a crim­i­nal record.

While reg­is­ter­ing, an overseas NGO should spec­ify the re­gion where it plans to con­duct ac­tiv­i­ties in China, ei­ther within a sin­gle pro­vin­cial-level re­gion or across more than one such re­gion. The area should be in line with its scope of business and ac­tual needs, the guide­line says.

It is more con­ve­nient for par­ties con­cerned to get ac­cess to the de­tailed in­for­ma­tion.” Liu Taigang, pro­fes­sor at Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China

Liu Taigang, a pro­fes­sor of gov­er­nance at Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China, said clearer, more trans­par­ent rules for the per­for­mance of NGOs have been in­tro­duced, which is an im­por­tant step in ad­vanc­ing the rule of law.

“Since the guide­line was made pub­lic, it is more con­ve­nient for par­ties con­cerned to get ac­cess to the de­tailed in­for­ma­tion. It clearly ex­plains the cri­te­ria for set­ting up a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice, lists all the doc­u­ments needed for reg­is­tra­tion and pro­vides even the tele­phone num­ber of the man­age­ment of­fice for NGOs un­der the Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­istry,” he said.

On Nov 8, the min­istry and the Shang­hai Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Bureau jointly or­ga­nized a meet­ing to brief con­sulates in Shang­hai about the de­tailed rules.

The law caused some con­cern among overseas NGOs dur­ing its draft­ing, since they wor­ried that their operations and ac­tiv­i­ties would be re­stricted.

Zhang Yong, deputy direc­tor of the Leg­isla­tive Af­fairs Com­mis­sion of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Con­gress, said such wor­ries were “to­tally un­nec­es­sary if (the overseas NGOs) fol­low Chi­nese laws”.

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