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June 14, 2017

An Article Worth Reading

On June 13, South China Morning Post published a thorough report by Nectar Gan that details the experiences of foreign NGOs since the Foreign NGO Law went into effect this year. A few takeaways from this article:

  • Groups are responding in a number of ways to the new operating environment, with some halting their work, some working under the temporary activities rubric, and some continuing to work without attempting to comply with the law.
  • Groups who do not plan to register a representative office or file for temporary activities are using a number of methods to continue operating, including carrying cash in over the border to fund projects in the mainland. Some are seeking to register as domestic NGOs in the mainland, putting them under the purview of the Charity Law rather than the Foreign NGO Law.
  • Groups working in certain sectors have not yet successfully registered representative offices: “No groups advocating human rights, workers’ rights or the rule of law have successfully registered so far.”
  • Temporary activities will not be a long-term solution for groups hoping to work extensively in China, given the bureaucratic hassle for both foreign NGOs and their Chinese Partners, as well as the uncertainty inherent in the process.
  • Domestic NGOs are feeling the effects: “Although the new law applies to foreign NGOs, its impact has rippled through to their Chinese counterparts, especially those who rely on overseas sources for most of their funding.”
  • Government agencies unwilling to act as Professional Supervisory Units are still the roadblock to registration in many cases.

China Development Brief also has an article rounding up all the Chinese media reports related to registered foreign NGO representative offices.

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