Clarifying China's Overseas NGO Law

Fotolia_67881238_M (1) Chinese government Beijing.jpg

Twelve months ago, China’s civil society was packed with more than 7,000 international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), according to some estimates. These organizations operated in a number of often-neglected issue areas, such as HIV/AIDS education, disability rights, and the environment.

From those thousands of organizations previously operating in China, only 32 have managed to navigate the murky waters of the “Overseas NGOs Activities Management Law,” which went into effect Jan. 1.

The law’s burdensome requirements and piecemeal implementation have been an enormous headache, and also directly impacted the partnerships that many AmCham China members established to give back to the people of China. 

Caption: Last year’s Business Climate Survey demonstrated huge concern among AmCham China members about the NGO law. After its passage, most foreign NGOs were forced to stop operating in China.

Many of these organizations have simply been waiting for the legal dust to settle, with the full intention of re-establishing once the procedures were more defined. Fortunately, many of the details regarding how to register have since been sorted out.

The Center for Charity Law under the Beijing Normal University China Philanthropy Research Institute (CPRI) has been working to answer common questions about registration under the new law, and are preparing a workshop to help foreign NGOs legally register.

For their answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, read their post. More information about their registration support program is also available from China Development Brief.