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

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...Read more
Per information provided at a meeting between Ministry of Public Security (MPS) representatives and foreign diplomats in 2016, a foreign NGO’s representative office may have activities in multiple locations as long as the geographic scope of its work is consistent with the information it provided in its registration documents. If an NGO has multiple representative offices, the area of operations for these offices should not overlap; one office may not carry out activities in the...Read more
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has not offered clear guidance about this apparently common problem. The China NGO Project has learned from several foreign NGOs that many PSUs are either unprepared to or unwilling to sponsor foreign NGOs, sometimes including past partners. Further, there is no guidance as to how to approach a PSU about sponsoring a foreign NGO’s representative office (whether by phone, fax, letter, email, or in-person). (The MPS has, however, issued...Read more
Though the Ministry of Public Security has provided no specific guidance on this point, it appears that foreign NGOs may file one time for a program that will take place on non-contiguous dates during the year. (According to the Foreign NGO Law, no Temporary Activities may exceed one year in duration.) One foreign NGO told The China NGO Project that, according to its Chinese Partner, it would in theory be permitted to submit one filing...Read more
Though the Ministry of Public Security does not appear to have issued official written guidance on this point, the registrations of multiple foreign NGO representative offices show that groups registered at the provincial level can indeed work throughout all of China if their Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs) agree. As of August 2017, there are approximately 20 groups, registered in Gansu, Shandong, Yunnan, and Shanghai, that have provincial-level PSUs and are authorized to work throughout China.Read more