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May 30, 2018

What Is the Scope of Work Permitted under the Foreign NGO Law?

What is the scope of work permitted under the Foreign NGO Law?

Articles 3 and 5 of the Foreign NGO Law outline the scope of permitted foreign NGO engagement in China:

  • Foreign NGOs may conduct work in “fields such as economics, education, science, culture, health, sports, and environmental protection, and for areas such as poverty relief and disaster relief.”
  • Foreign NGOs’ work “must not endanger China’s national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China’s national interests, societal public interest and the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.” (A legal person generally refers to a “non-human entity that is treated as a person for limited legal purposes,” such as corporations.)
  • Foreign NGOs must not engage in or fund for-profit activities, political activities, or religious activities.

Translations by China Law Translate.

As of May 1, 2018, The China NGO Project has identified temporary activities or representative offices working in the following fields, categorizing them based on the “scope of work” or activity name as provided on the Ministry of Public Security website:

  • Aging
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Protection
  • Arts and Culture
  • Civil Society Capacity-Building
  • Disabilities
  • Disaster Relief
  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Ethnic Affairs
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Infrastructure
  • International Relations/Exchange
  • Labor and Migrants
  • Law and Governance
  • LGBTQ
  • Media
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Religion
  • Rural Issues/Development
  • Sport
  • Technology
  • Tourism
  • Trade
  • Women’s Issues
  • Youth

As yet, no representative offices are engaged in LGBTQ or Human Rights issues; groups have, however, carried out temporary activities in these fields, albeit in very small numbers.

A full list and map of representative offices, including the fields in which they work, can be found here. A list of temporary activities can be found here.

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