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October 12, 2018

September Data and Some Recommended NGO Articles

  • The China NGO Project has posted representative office and temporary activity data for the month of September (with information available as of October 1). The pace at which representative offices are registered and at which new temporary activities are initiated appears to be settling into a steadier rhythm as implementation becomes more regularized. PSB authorities registered 11 foreign NGO representative offices in September; for seven of nine months this year, new registrations were in the teens each month. 63 temporary activities got underway in September; for the last six months, the number of new temporary activities initiated each month has hovered around 60. We have also updated our list of active Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs); the last several months have not seen any new PSUs emerge from functional hierarchies (xitongs, such as the Justice bureaucracy) that have not already been sponsoring foreign NGOs.
  • The International Center for Non-Profit Law hosted a twitter chat with Dr. Shawn Shieh and The China NGO Project Editor Jessica Batke in late August to answer questions about non-profits and philanthropy in China. The full chat can be accessed here.
  • China Development Brief analysis of the changing environment for foreign NGOs in China, aiming to help groups determine how they can best adapt their work to current conditions. CDB identifies three stages in the development of foreign non-profit work in China: first, from the 1980s to the late 1990s, when foreign NGOs were major players in basic service provision and domestic NGOs were largely absent; second, from the late 1990s to 2016, when domestic NGOs became more prevalent, basic poverty alleviation was no longer the singular focus of so much of the Chinese government, and foreign NGOs began to work more on issues such as capacity building; and third, from 2016 to the present, when both domestic and foreign NGOs have been under new regulation, and international funding is on the wane as China’s economic might increases. The analysis concludes with several questions that foreign NGOs should consider when evaluating their work in China.
  • CDB has also published a useful interview with Plan International’s Country Director for China, Haider W. Yaqub. Plan registered as a foreign NGO in June 2017, operates in nine provinces, and is sponsored by the Shaanxi Women’s Federation. In addition to detailing the nature of Plan’s work in China, the interview covers Plan’s experience operating under the Foreign NGO Law. Yaqub says that the largest change since the law’s implementation is simply knowing “what you can and can’t do. That is always good, compared to having to figure out yourself whether something is possible or not. I believe that proper governance should be in place. It should not be a laissez-faire where everyone gets to do whatever they please . . . On the other hand, the rules should not be made too tight, or too vague that they can be interpreted by different people in different ways. The interpretation should be uniform, and people should be facilitated for building a common understanding.” With regard to differences between working in China and working elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, Yaqub noted that, “In China there is hardly any bilateral funding, multilateral funding is also coming to an end, and these are main sources of funding for Plan’s programs in most countries in Asia . . . So we can’t have the same kind of programming as we do for other Asian countries, the program thinking has to be very different. The biggest players in China that can support our work is the corporate world, therefore working with corporate business is very important . . . The big tech companies want to work to encourage more girls to get into science and technology space. That’s an opportunity for us to get involved, and we have started to work in that particular area with such corporate businesses.” The full interview is available in CDB’s WeChat account.

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