Final Chinese Overseas NGO Law Guidelines Released

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 9:30 am
Natalie Ross

In early December 2016, the Chinese government released the official and final version of their new Guidelines on Organizational Registration and Temporary Activities Reporting. These guidelines provide needed information for compliance with the 2016 Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the Mainland of China (Overseas NGO Law). You can find the guidelines in Chinese, including forms and charts, online via the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). 

An official English translation of the implementation guidelines is not yet available, but a trusted translation is available from China Law Translate

Even with these now official implementation guidelines, we await additional information needed for foundations operating in China from the Ministry of Public Security, including promised lists of acceptable fields of activities, projects, and partners (also known as Professional Supervisory Units). 

The official English text of the Overseas NGO Law is available on the Ministry of Public Security website. The Wall Street Journal also published a December 2016 article about the law and it's potential impact on foreign NGOs working in China. 

Below is additional information about the Overseas NGO law, which was passed in April 2016.

Summary of the Overseas NGO Law: 

  • The law “securitizes” registration, reporting, and management of foreign foundations and NGOs by moving that responsibility to the Ministry of Public Security.
  • The law provides for two types of licensing by public security authorities: 1) registration, generally for foreign groups with an office and activities in China and 2) a temporary activities permit, for foreign groups with certain kinds of activities in China but without an office there. The new law prohibits organizations from being unregistered, a common practice at present.
  • The law generally requires that funds for activities in China be made available to Chinese partners and spent by them.
  • The law requires that foreign groups seeking registration in China must have an approved Chinese partner organization (“professional supervisory unit”), which enters into an agreement with the foreign organization and takes responsibility for its activities in China. China will issue list(s) of approved Chinese professional supervisory units.
  • The law requires that organizations provide advance notice of activities to be undertaken during a forthcoming year, then report on activities undertaken after the year is over. 

More information on the law is available via the summary of our May 2016 conference call hosted by ICNL and the Council on Foundations. 


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