FAQ

We regularly update this list of questions with information drawn from Chinese law, official statements, and our interviews about NGOs’ on-the-ground experiences

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has released a list of approved Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs), arranged by field of specialization (see below). In addition, most provincial-level MPS foreign NGO offices have posted more specific PSU lists for their provinces. Using these lists as a guide, organizations can reach out to relevant PSUs directly to request their sponsorship. According to one source, MPS representatives have indicated that the MPS will not assist foreign NGOs by...Read more
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is approving new Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs) to sponsor foreign NGOs, in addition to those that were originally included on the 2017 list of eligible PSUs. As of February 9, at least nine unlisted PSUs have sponsored foreign NGOs. As the MPS has previously stated, foreign NGOs may request that the MPS or local public security bureau add a new PSU to the list. If new PSUs are willing...Read more

Are Foreign NGOs Allowed to Generate Income?

Articles 5 and 45 of the Foreign NGO Law suggest that foreign NGOs may not engage in “for-profit activities.” However, according to the NGOs in China blog’s summary of guidance provided by the Ministry of Public Security at a 2016 Q&A session, “Article 21 [of the law] permits foreign NGOs to use ‘other funds legally acquired within China’ for their activities in China. This means income or revenue is allowed as long as the foreign...Read more
In conversation with The China NGO project, multiple NGOs have expressed confusion about the exact documentation required to satisfy the requirement for “proof of funding” (“资金来源证明材料”) when filing for a temporary activity. We are unaware of detailed written guidance on this point, and different foreign NGOs have reported supplying different documentation.Most recently, one NGO said it provided the following as part of its successful filing for a temporary activity:A recent bank statement that showed: a)...Read more

Can a Foreign NGO pay for services from a for-profit Chinese entity?

Though the Foreign NGO Law forbids foreign NGOs from partnering with for-profit organizations for activities, may foreign NGOs contract with for-profit entities for certain services?
The Ministry of Public Security has not issued official written guidance on this point. According to officials with specific knowledge of the law’s implementation, foreign NGOs may purchase “reasonable” services from for-profit Chinese entities. This might include, for example, hiring a company to help make arrangements for an upcoming meeting. However, the foreign NGO may not use this mechanism to make “covert grants.” Whether or not the purchased services are “reasonable” is up to the...Read more