With support from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council, since 2013 I’ve been studying international NGOs that operate programs in China, in particular the ways in which these organizations navigate China’s challenging political terrain.
On Dec. 22, 2014, the Chinese government released a first draft of a proposed law to regulate all overseas NGOs with operations in China (境外非政府组织管理法), including NGOs based in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. In response to requests from several INGOs, in late March I organized a focus group with a number of organizations who were concerned about how the proposed law would affect them. In early May 2015, a second, slightly updated draft was released for public comment. That same week, I convened another focus group of mostly HK-based organizations together with several mainland Chinese scholars and government officials. A Chinese-language summary of comments and views on the proposed law expressed in these focus groups and other one-on-one interviews can be downloaded via the link below. This document is meant to provide Chinese policymakers with points for consideration as they contemplate further revisions to the proposed law.
Click here for the Summary of Comments and Suggestions (in Chinese only).
For reference, the second draft of the proposed law is available in Chinese on the website of the National People’s Congress at: http://www.npc.gov.cn/npc/xinwen/lfgz/flca/2015-05/05/content_1935666.htm A PDF version is also downloadable by clicking here.
An English translation of the proposed law is available on the website of the China Development Brief at: http://chinadevelopmentbrief.cn/articles/cdb-english-translation-of-the-overseas-ngo-management-law-second-draft/
The deadline for public comment on the proposed law is the 4th day of June, 2015. Comments (presumably only in Chinese) can be made via the Chinese State Council’s website at: http://www.npc.gov.cn/COBRS_LFYJNEW/user/UserIndex.jsp?ID=6690583
It is expected that the law will go through a ‘third reading’ in Beijing sometime after the June deadline and (perhaps) be promulgated before the end of 2015.
In due course, I aim to produce a more comprehensive and sociologically informed academic publication on the broader subject of INGOs in China. Given the urgency of the current situation, however, at this point I simply want to offer a reflection of the concerns and questions raised by practitioners who will be impacted by the proposed law. This is not meant to be a consensus document, nor is it informed by any particular political strategy. It is, rather, a reflection the of concerns, questions, and suggestions posed by a diverse group of INGOs that do work in mainland China. In addition to several mainland Chinese scholars and officials, representatives of over a dozen INGOs and a number of philanthropic foundations took part in these discussions.