China to ease NGO registration policy

Updated: 2011-07-11 15:49


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Independent nonprofit organizations that work in the fields of charity, social welfare and social services can now register directly with civil affairs departments, without first finding a supervisory body, China's Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo said at ministry meeting on July 4, Beijing Times reported on Monday.

According to current regulation, such social organizations must find a government department or agency to be their supervisory body before they legally register as an NGO. But because it is usually difficult for many organizations to find the proper agencies willing to do so, most of them cannot register successfully.

As of the end of 2010, China had a total of 440,000 registered social organizations, while there were about 3 million organizations that remained unregistered, which shows almost 90 percent of the social organizations in China were illegal.

Furthermore, if not registered as an NGO, the organization must pay the same tax as an entrepreneur when receiving public funds or donations from other agencies and persons.

As there had been an increase in independent nonprofit organizations working in communities, some local governments had already drawn-up new regulations to make their registration easier.

In 2008, Shenzhen allowed such social organizations in the fields of business, social welfare and charity to register directly with the civil affairs department.

In February 2010, Beijing released a regulation to allow social organizations in Zhongguancun Science Park to register directly. But today, there still remain many organizations who have not registered successfully. Earlier this year, the new policy was widened to the whole city.

Deng Guosheng, the director of the Centre for Innovation and Social Responsibility (CISR) of Tsinghua University, said that the new policy showed the administration of social organizations had changed from strict approval to strict supervision, but it didn’t mean the government would interfere in the internal affairs of the NGOs but to regulate their acts.