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New rules for NGOs to improve operations

By He Dan | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-17 00:22

Liu Zhouhong, secretary-general of the Narada Foundation, a private charity in Beijing, said the real effect of the national reform on registration should be measured over time.

"There are many other barriers in terms of registration for NGOs. Some local registration authorities may feel reluctant to grant too many NGOs legal identities, worrying that they will be blamed for overseeing malpractice by registered organizations," he said.

In addition, some registration requirements, such as benchmarks for seed capital, facilities and personnel, seem difficult to meet for many small grassroots NGOs, he said.

"Plus, registration is one, but not the only, factor for the thriving of NGOs in China. We are concerned about whether the government will abolish the tax for donations and whether NGOs can enjoy a looser policy for fundraising," he added.

Wang pointed out that pre-examination and approval by other regulators will still apply to religious, political, legal and foreign NGOs' representative offices.

The revised regulations will also make it easier for the establishment of charitable foundations and chambers of commerce by allowing applicants to register at all levels of civil affairs authorities, Wang said. Now, to launch such organizations, the applicants can only register with the civil affairs departments of the central government or provincial government, he explained.

Given China's increasing connection with the outside world, Wang promised clear rules to guide foreign-funded NGOs and expats' activities in the nonprofit field.

To encourage NGOs to play a bigger role in the management of social affairs, Wang said the government will design an index to show what government functions can be transferred to NGOs. The index will be made public and will be adjusted over time.

He added that the government will expand NGO participation in politics by increasing representatives from the NGO sector in the Party congress, legislature and political advisory body.

"Meanwhile, we will work hard to change the status quo of 'strict registration, loose supervision', but keep a closer eye on NGOs after simplifying the registration procedures," he said.

Civil affairs authorities are building an online platform to make information about NGOs public, including their financial reports, results of annual reviews and their donations to ensure NGOs operate openly and to facilitate supervision from the public and media, he said.

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