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April 10, 2019

Recent Increase in Religion-Related Temporary Activities

Data from China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) shows a recent uptick in the number of religion-related temporary activities organized by foreign NGOs that have received government approval. The Hong Kong-based CWM/Nethersole Fund (世界传到会/那打素基金) successfully filed for 11 separate activities, eight of which The China NGO Project has categorized as related to “religion.” (The China NGO Project assigns sector categorizations based on information posted on the MPS website; these categorizations should be taken as our best-fit application of the information available to us.) This doubles the number of “religion”-related activities in The China NGO Project’s database: a total of only 16 activities out of the more than 1,600 temporary activities filed since January 2017.

CWM/Nethersole conducted all 11 activities, including the eight “religious” ones, in conjunction with the Chinese Christian Council (中国基督教协会) as its Chinese Partner Unit (CPU). This marks the first time that the Chinese Christian Council has served as a CPU for a foreign NGO. The activities in question encompassed a diverse range of events, including training activities and capacity building for Church-related social services, “character cultivation” projects for youth, the acquisition of solar equipment for a church, and disease prevention activities in rural Sichuan. The location of the activities was also varied, including several provinces such as Gansu, Hainan, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Inner Mongolia, but all took place in the same general time frame in mid-December 2018.

Established in 1980, the Chinese Christian Council is an executive body which operates under the authority of the National People’s Congress. According to P.R.C. law, all Protestant Churches operating within China must register with the Chinese Christian Council to hold religious services. The CWM/Nethersole Fund is a Hong Kong-based organization, whose mission is “to spread the knowledge of Christ and the spirit of sharing by subsidizing projects or services.”

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