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March 5, 2018

February Foreign NGO Data Now Available—with a Few Changes to Our Categorization Scheme

We’ve updated our monthly tallies of foreign NGO temporary activities and representative offices as well as our graphics showing which Chinese government entities are serving as Professional Supervisory Units (and which are not).

As we do periodically, we recently went back through our data to ensure consistency in labeling and categorizing of fields of work, particularly with a view to certain Chinese keywords found in the Ministry of Public Security Website’s database to describe foreign NGOs’ work in China particularly with a view to to certain keywords in Chinese used to describe foreign NGOs’ work in China. During this latest review, we altered the sector categorization of a number of foreign NGO representative offices and temporary activities in a way that we think better reflects the nature of their work. Though the absolute number of offices and activities in certain sectors has increased or decreased as a result, these changes were all in the most common sectors of work (Education, Poverty Alleviation, and Youth), and therefore did not fundamentally change the overall balance of sectors.

  • Most significantly, we added “Poverty Alleviation” to all educational grants described as 助学 (“financial aid”), as these tend to be based on need rather than just on merit; correspondingly, we made sure that educational grants described only as 奖学金 (“scholarship”) were not categorized in this way, as they may be granted on merit alone. These changes had the effect of increasing the number of offices and activities marked as related to “Poverty Alleviation,” further underscoring the relative predominance of this sector for foreign NGOs working in China.
  • We made sure that all work related to high-school-age children and younger was marked as “Youth,” while work related to college-age individuals was not.
  • We removed the “Education” categorization from foreign NGOs providing training (培训 or 培育) that was not explicitly in the field of education; “Education” in our data now refers only to a sector, not to a method of working in a sector or an activity in that sector.

These updated categorization markings are reflected in the latest data visualizations for February.

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