The Major Questions About China’s Foreign NGO Law Are Now Settled

Five years after its first post, The China NGO Project is closing up shop. When we began in 2017, we hoped to help international nonprofits working in China make sense of the new legal regime they found themselves under after the passage of China’s...

Nevertheless, Chinese Civil Society Persisted

Alison Sile Chen
In an autocracy, atomized individuals, without power or influence, seem to have only two options: willingly serve as “social livestock,” or accept their fate and lie flat. But in a society as large as China’s, with 1.4 billion people, can that...

Visually Understanding the Data on Foreign NGO Representative Offices and Temporary Activities

Jessica Batke
The China NGO Project has created the following visualizations based on data available on the Ministry of Public Security website, as well as on our own research. To analyze foreign NGO representative offices, we looked at organizations’ countries/...

List of De-Registered Representative Offices

This is a list of foreign NGOs which have de-registered a representative office in China after successfully registering under the 2017 Foreign NGO Law. The list, based on information available on the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) website,...

Hong Kong’s National Security Law Made Amnesty International’s Departure All But Inevitable

William Nee
The human rights violations being committed now under the National Security Law only demonstrate China’s decision to drift further away from compliance with international human rights law. Rather, the NSL’s claim to global jurisdiction signals an...



What Future for International NGOs in China?

Katherine Wilhelm, Shawn Shieh & more
Nearly five years have passed since China implemented its Foreign NGO Law, imposing a host of new restrictions on the activities of international non-profit groups. What kind of responsibility do non-government organizations bear for sustaining...

Overseas NGOs and Foundations and COVID in China

Mark Sidel from The European Institute for Chinese Studies (EURICS)
The COVID crisis that enveloped Wuhan, Hubei province, and some other parts of China in late 2019 and early 2020 might, in another era, have encouraged China to temporarily relax constraints on international aid and engagement. In the current...

Police Issue Administrative Warning to Australian NGO, Global Times Reports

According to the Global Times, local public security officials in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province issued an administrative warning to Australia-based non-profit Nying-Jey Projects in April for operating in the area without...

A Look Back at Foreign NGOs in China in 2020

2020 saw something of a lull in foreign NGO activity in China. According to Ministry of Public Security data, fewer foreign NGOs registered new representative offices or initiated temporary activities than they had in the previous two years. Of...

International NGOs Increasingly Working with Chinese Partners . . . outside China

Over on the Fairbank Center blog, authors Wendy Leutert, Elizabeth Plantan, and Austin Strange explain how foreign NGOs are increasingly working with Chinese state-owned enterprises on projects all over the world. Noting that “many international...

Hong Kong’s Forthcoming Security Law and Its Potential Effect on International Non-Profits

Is Hong Kong about to get its own Foreign NGO Law in the name of ‘national security’? In our Analysis section, Thomas Kellogg and Alison Sile Chen ask how a planned national security law, as announced by the National People’s Congress in Beijing on...

No Foreign NGO Representative Offices Registered in May

Public security officials did not register any new foreign NGO representative offices in the month of May, marking the first time since the the Foreign NGO Law first took effect in January 2017 that an entire month elapsed without any registrations...

‘I Feel Like I Am Committing Crimes’

Elaine Lu
On July 22 last year, three activists from the public interest NGO Changsha Funeng were detained and later formally arrested for “subversion of state power.” Cheng Yuan, Liu Dazhi, and Wu Gejianxiong, known as the “Changsha Three,” have been...

Civil Society’s Shifting Role in the Response to Coronavirus

In our Analysis section, contributor Holly Snape explains how local and central policies at first hobbled domestic civil society organizations’ ability to respond to the coronavirus, limiting who could receive donations, and, critically, who could...

China Alters Civil Society Rules, Allowing More Groups to Respond to Coronavirus

Holly Snape
As the COVID-19 epidemic continues in China, so do the efforts of civil society organizations and concerned citizens to mitigate the harm. In the official approach to managing their involvement, there have been clumsy force-of-habit measures from...

‘Address China’s Global Role in a More Strategic and Holistic Way’

Bertram Lang discusses the need for internationally-active civil society organizations—even those without an official presence in the Chinese mainland—to develop a “specific, organization-wide, global China strategy.” Lang emphasizes the importance...

A Better China Strategy for International Civil Society

Bertram Lang
Much of the European and American debate about China’s Foreign NGO Law has revolved around the trade-offs and opportunities associated with continuing activities in mainland China. However, the issues internationally operating NGOs face are far...

‘The New Normal’ for Foreign NGOs in 2020

Jessica Batke
The China NGO Project has, since its inception, been heavily focused on Chinese government-provided data as a means to understand the environment for foreign NGOs there. However, taking stock of the three years that the Foreign NGO Law has been in...

What’s in Store for Foreign NGOs This Year?

In our Analysis section, ChinaFile Senior Editor Jessica Batke looks back at the past three years of the Foreign NGO Law. Find out why our data can’t tell us as much as we’d like to know—and why Batke is not optimistic for the year ahead.

Four Additional Foreign NGOs De-Register in 2019

According to information on the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) website, Colleges and Institutes Canada, South Korea Shipbuilders’ Equipment Association, Miyazaki Local Products and Trade Promotion Center (Japan), and the Beijing office of...

First Group from Pakistan Registers Representative Office

On December 4, an NGO from Pakistan registered a representative office in China, making it the first Pakistan-based organization to either register an office or file for a temporary activity since the Foreign NGO Law went into effect in 2017.

Modification to Our ‘Field of Work’ Categorization Scheme

As we do periodically, we recently updated our categorization scheme for foreign NGOs’ fields of work in China. We added “Science” to the “Technology” category to yield the new label “Science and Technology.”

Chinese Government Says it Will Sanction U.S. NGOs in Hong Kong

The Chinese government plans to sanction at least five U.S. NGOs for alleged misdeeds in Hong Kong, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson told reporters at a press conference on December 2. Hua Chunying described the move as a response to...

Chinese Government Says it Has ‘Punished’ U.S. NGO under the Foreign NGO Law

According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Beijing police recently took disciplinary action against the U.S.-based NGO Asia Catalyst, for what a Chinese government spokesperson described as a violation of China’s Foreign NGO Law. While...

China NGO Project’s Yearly Data Check Yields No Irregularities

As we have done for the past two years, The China NGO Project reconciled all the temporary activity information in our databases with that provided on the MPS website. Last year, this process allowed us to see that two temporary activities...



Scanning the Horizon

Bertram Lang
Bertram Lang
International Civil Society Centre
China’s growing influence in the world has been identified as one of the top global trends influencing the trajectory and development of other major trends relating to sustainable development. China’s relevance for civil society organisations (CSOs...

How the Foreign NGO Law Is Affecting European NGOs

The Asia Research Institute at the University of Nottingham recently published 17 case studies that help document the “intended and unintended consequences” of the Foreign NGO Law. These anonymized case studies are based on interviews conducted with...

Two More Foreign NGOs De-Register Their China Representative Offices

Two South Korean NGOs shuttered their representative offices in China in recent months, according to information on the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) website. This makes for a total of nine foreign NGOs that registered a representative office in...

Updated Monthly Registration and Filing Figures Available through September

The China NGO Project recently published the latest figures for Foreign NGO representative office registrations and temporary activity filings, including information through the end of September 2019. The pace of new registrations continues to hover...

This Foundation Has Carried Out More Activities Than Any Other Foreign NGO in China

Grace Charity Foundation has filed for far more temporary activities than any other foreign NGO. Since the Foreign NGO Law went into effect in January 2017, more than 600 foreign NGOs have carried out 2,056 temporary activities in China as of...

Training in Xinjiang, NGO Assistance in Hubei

August 22, 2019:The Public Security Bureau of Xinjiang Autonomous Region recently held a training course on the management of foreign NGOs in the region. Police from Foreign NGO Management Offices at various local-level PSBs took part in the...

Chongqing PSB Meets Hungarian Officials, Japanese NGO Opens Its Doors in Hunan, Tianjin PSB Tested on Foreign NGO Knowledge

August 8, 2019:Representatives of the Chongqing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) Foreign NGO Management Office recently met with the consul general, consul, and the director of the secretariat of the Hungarian Consulate in Hong Kong. They...

How China Regulates Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations

Siodhbhra Parkin
Nearly three years into implementation of the ONGO Law, it is difficult to make a strong case for this latter argument. According to data taken directly from the MPS, foreign NGOs’ efforts to register representative offices have slowed to a trickle...

PSB Gives Foreign NGO Law Lectures, Including on the Education Sector

July 29, 2019:At the invitation of the region’s Foreign Affairs Office, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Public Security Bureau (PSB) Foreign NGO Management Office recently gave a lecture on the Foreign NGO Law, including relevant procedures for...

Updated FAQ Section

We’ve recently updated and re-organized our FAQ section based on user feedback. In particular, we’ve gathered key questions related to representative offices and temporary activities onto their own separate pages, to allow for easier browsing and...

Yunnan PSB Lectures on Foreign NGO Religious Activities, Hunan PSB Gives out Three New Registration Certificates

July 19, 2019:Police from the Jiangxi Province Public Security Bureau (PSB) Foreign NGO Management Office recently met with representatives of Casa Ricci Social Services (Macau)’s Kunming office. The NGO's staff discussed the group’s leprosy...

New Foreign NGO Offices in Tianjin, Guangdong, Shandong; Raising Legal Awareness in Tibet

June 6, 2019:The Tianjin Public Security Bureau (PSB) recent held an ceremony recognizing the establishment of 16 local sub-bureaus of the Foreign NGO Management Office.At the ceremony, the Tianjin PSB Foreign NGO Management Office explained that...

PSB Conducts Educational Sessions in Shanghai and Guizhou

June 24, 2019:The Hainan Province Public Security Bureau (PSB) Foreign NGO Management Office issued a registration certificate to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Representatives from the Hainan Health Commission also attended the...

Analysis: What New Civil Service Rules Might Mean for NGOs in China

Contributor Holly Snape writes about two trends that have the potential to significantly reshape and further restrict space for civil society activity in mainland China: first, changing incentive structures for government officials, including those...

Shanghai Newspaper Accuses American NGOs of Supporting Hong Kong Protests

Xinmin Evening News, a Shanghai metro paper put out by the Chinese Communist Party Shanghai Municipal Committee, published an article on July 13 asserting that American NGOs plotted recent demonstrations in Hong Kong against a controversial...

Provincial PSBs Emphasize Health and Education Work for Foreign NGOs

In light of the third anniversary of the adoption of the Foreign NGO Law, the Tianjin Municipality PSB Foreign NGO Management Office paid visits to local government agencies, universities, and foreign NGOs that are based in China as part of a week-...

Where Can My NGO Find Contact Information for Public Security NGO Offices to Register or Report a Temporary Activity?

Foreign NGO registration occurs at the level of the province, which includes five autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia, and Xinjiang) and four municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing). Each province has...

What Constitutes “Proof of Funding” When Filing for a Temporary Activity?

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” when filing for a temporary activity. We are unaware of detailed written...

How Does My Organization Contact a National-Level Professional Supervisory Unit?

Contact information for some of the Ministry of Public Security-approved Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs), as provided by the Ministry of Public Security.

What Happens if a Foreign NGO Violates the Law?

Articles 45 and 46 of the Foreign NGO Law list the sanctions that can be applied to foreign NGOs that are not compliant with the Law. These include the suspension of activities, the confiscation of illegal assets, and the withdrawal of registration...

How Can My NGO Operate Before It Finds a Professional Supervisory Unit?

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has not offered formal guidance on this point, though it is becoming more pressing for NGOs who have been unable to obtain sponsorship from unresponsive Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs). Several NGOs have...

New Temporary Activity Analysis from China Development Brief

A recent report from China Development Brief (CDB) discusses how some foreign NGOs are choosing to carry out multiple, long-term temporary activities as an alternative to registering for a representative office. Pointing to a decline in the number...

Thanks to the PSB in Tianjin, a New Registration in Zhejiang, and Youth Exchanges in the Greater Bay Area

Recently, the Zhejiang PSB Foreign NGO Management Office issued a registration certificate to the China-Africa Chamber of Commerce representative office in Huzhou. The PSB congratulated the China-Africa Chamber of Commerce and pledged to continue...

New Report on Youth Activists in China

The China Youth Activists Development Concern Group (中国青年行动者发展关注组) recently released a report detailing the obstacles facing young Chinese who are involved in socially progressive, non-governmental organizations. The report, “Report on Current...

How Does My NGO File for a Temporary Activity in Multiple Provinces?

There does not appear to be one set answer to this question, despite the fact that a large number of successful temporary activity filings have taken place in multiple provinces. Different provincial Public Security Bureaus (PSBs) have offered...

Have Any Foreign NGOs Been Denied Registration or Had Their Temporary Activities Shut Down?

The China NGO Project is not aware of any groups who have been explicitly denied registration by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or by a provincial Public Security Bureau (PSB). Similarly, we are not aware of any groups who have had their...

New Analysis on Foreign NGOs and Hong Kong’s Extradition Law

Will proposed changes to Hong Kong’s extradition law have any effect on the international non-profit community working there? Are NGO employees working on issues considered “sensitive” in mainland China at risk of extradition? The answer may well be...