You are here

June 4, 2019

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 of new representative offices from 2017 to 2018, and to the increase in new temporary activity filings over the same time period, CDB suggests that many foreign NGOs prefer to file for temporary activities because of its simpler administrative process.

CDB notes that even some foreign NGOs that have already established representative offices also use the temporary activity mechanism. This can be because they want to conduct activities outside of their designated area of operations, or because the temporary activity mechanism allows for a greater degree of flexibility (only requiring a filing be made 15 days in advance of the activity, versus activities included in a representative office’s annual work plan, which is submitted at the end of each year to account for all the activities in the coming year).

Professor Jia Xijin of Tsinghua University predicts that temporary activity filings will continue to increase in relation to new representative office registrations, and may "turn into a normalized channel towards legality." However, Professor Jia went on to point out that temporary activities, though easier to file, are not a perfect substitute for a representative office, as they do not resolve the issue of an “organization’s legal identity” in China, and only allow for short-term, project-based activity.

The full report is available on CDB’s website.

Support ChinaFile