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November 13, 2017

Does a Foreign NGO Need to Have an Office in China Before It Can Formally Register a Representative Office?

What if a foreign NGO that wants to open a representative office does not yet have a physical presence in China?

According to Article 12 of the Foreign NGO Law, a foreign NGO must provide “proof of premises of the proposed representative office” (“拟设代表机构的住所证明材料”), though the law is not explicit on what constitutes “proof” if an NGO does not yet have an established presence in China. This requirement may not present any problems for foreign NGOs that already had a presence in China and are now seeking to register under the new legal regime, but it may present difficulties for groups in the future who have no prior presence in China. Must groups who have not yet been assured of their successful registration sign a lease in China? The China NGO Project will update this FAQ when new information becomes available.

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