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September 23, 2019

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

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, based on information on the Ministry of Public Security website as of September 13, 2019.

The majority of organizations that do not have representative offices in China have filed for only one or two activities. Grace Charity Foundation Limited (慈恩基金会有限公司), however, is an outlier. The Hong Kong-based charitable organization has filed for 148 temporary activities as of September 13. That accounts for 7.2 percent of all the temporary activities filed since 2017.

Grace Charity Foundation has filed for far more temporary activities than any other foreign NGO. Oxfam, the organization that has filed the second highest number of temporary activities (50), has not carried out any activities in mainland China since 2018 (this is likely because the Hong Kong-based group has since established four representative offices and no longer needs to use the temporary activity mechanism to work in the mainland). The other three most active foreign NGOs in terms of temporary activities are the MISEREOR Foundation of Germany (44), Fuhui Charity Foundation of Hong Kong (31), and Greenpeace of the Netherlands (30).

Grace Charity Foundation, according to its website, was founded in 2000 by a group of volunteers. The organization is focused on providing financial aid to disadvantaged students in elementary and high school, and on establishing schools in financially-struggling counties or towns in southern China.

In particular, Grace Charity Foundation has put an emphasis on children’s education in Guizhou province; since 2017, the group has carried out 70 temporary activities in the inland Chinese province. In Yunnan, it filed for 45 temporary activities over the same time period. It has also directed aid and financial assistance to Gansu, Guangxi, Henan, Ningxia, and Sichuan provinces.

In the first few months after the Foreign NGO Law went into effect in 2017, Grace Charity Foundation mainly carried out short-term temporary activities providing financial aid to students, each of which lasted only a few days or weeks. Starting in June 2017, the organization has frequently filed for year-long temporary activities, most of which involve constructing school buildings in rural areas.

For foreign NGOs carrying out temporary activities in China, Chinese Partner Units (CPUs) are critical players whose organizational structure, location, and capacity affect what activities will be possible. Notably, it is CPUs, and not foreign NGOs, that actually submit temporary activity filings to the Public Security Bureaus. The CPUs Grace Charity Foundation has partnered with have primarily been local Party or government entities and offices, as well as with schools directly.

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