Positive Message on Foreign NGO Registration and Activities
In early November, ECNS.net (the majority of whose shares are owned by Xinhua News Agency) announced that a total of 242 overseas non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including both full-legal entity and representative offices, have been registered in China since the country’s first law regarding overseas NGO activities took effect on 1st January 2017. This latest figure shows a steady increase from the 168 registered NGOs publically announced August.
Under the new NGO law, these foreign NGOs must report to the Chinese government departments in charge of their particular field, including, Chinese Civil Affairs, Commerce, Public Health, Forestry Protection, Poverty Relief, S&T, and Education, as well as have an endorsement from the Public Security Bureau (PSB). According to a Chinese Law firm HYLANDs, there are at least 10 times more “illegal existing foreign NGOs” vs. the “legally registered NGOs” which are active in China. Many foreign NGOs also exist in the form of businesses, which is considered a grey area, but apparently acceptable in practice.
The US has the most NGOs registered in China, followed by Hong Kong, Japan, Germany and Korea. The Rotary Club and the Linda and Bill Gates Foundation were amongst the NGOs registered this year, as well as the Li Kai Sing Foundation, which is heavily involved in education, including funding one of the most prestigious business schools in China, CKGBS, and providing funding to Shantou University.