Dr. Zhang Lingxiao’s Presentation on the ONGO Law

China Development Brief

中文 English

Editor’s Note

On the 28th of July, at the “Registration of Overseas NGOs in China” Workshop held in Beijing by China Development Brief, the Director of Jingshi Law Firm Dr. Zhang Lingxiao gave a presentation on the Overseas NGO Management Law, providing detailed answers to questions regarding the preparation of documents required for registration, the application procedures and examples of violations of the rules, among other topics. Below is a transcription of the PowerPoint from Dr. Zhang’s presentation.

 

Untitled

 

Q1. How does an organisation prove that it is an Overseas NGO?

  • Proof of legal establishment– issued by the official body of the relevant overseas registration department.
  • Proof of Non-profit status – submitting the relevant certification as required under the specific circumstances of individual countries, such as registration with the Charity Commission in the United Kingdom.

 

Q2. In a situation where there there are multiple units responsible for supervising the same field of work, how is the specific supervisory unit determined?

According to the reply given by the Overseas NGO Office of the Ministry of Public Security, such a situation is to be negotiated by multiple operational units. Ultimately, the responsible unit is to be decided based on the nature of the main field of concern.

 

Q3. What documents are required for proof of legal establishment? Are original documents needed or are photocopies accepted?

Documents for proof of legal establishment are issued by the official registering body at the time of registration and include items such as a business license and other documents. Generally speaking, original copies of important documents are not needed; official documents or photocopies will be sufficient.

 

Q4. What are the requirements for the submission of the constitution?

The purpose of submitting the constitution is to assess whether the operations of the overseas NGO are related to the public good. The constitution must be submitted in full, and cannot be taken out of context.

 

Q5. What should the “Establishment of Overseas NGO Representative Office Registration Authorisation” contain?

To take the requirements of the Beijing Public Security Bureau as an example, the Registration Authorisation should be issued by the Head Office of the Overseas NGO, and must include two parts:

Firstly, the authorisation from the Head Office to set up a Beijing Representative Office. It must show that the Head Office agrees to set up a Beijing Representative Office and authorises the Beijing office to exercise some of the authority of the Head Office. State as clearly as possibly the location of the office, do not simply write ‘In China’ or ‘nation-wide’.

Secondly, the names of the proposed Chief Representative and of the representative staff. There is no need to write the names of all the employees. The Authorisation must be signed or stamped by the person in charge at the Head Office. The Authorisation does not need to be notarised, but if it is in a foreign language it must be translated by a qualified translation organisation.

The two parts of the Authorisation can be put in two separate documents, but when submitting on the relevant website they should be combined into a single PDF document.

 

Q6. How can an organisation prove that it has existed for more than two years abroad and conducted substantive activities?

  • Financial audit reports from the last two years issued by a third party, in accordance with the requirements of the host country.
  • Annual reports from the last two years signed by the person in charge.

 

Q7. What is accepted as proof of identity for the Chief Representative? What form should the proof of a lack of criminal record take?

  • Accepted identity documents include mainland China ID cards, foreign ID cards, passports, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwanese corresponding documents, etc. Overseas documentation must be notarised.

 

  • Regarding the proof of a lack of criminal record, the Chief Representative can sign a fixed-format certificate of a lack of criminal record.

 

Q8. What must be included in the “Proof of residence” materials for the proposed Representative Office?

  • Property rights certificate – to prove existence of the house.
  • Leasing contract – to prove a leasing relationship.

 

Q9. What are the specific requirements for the “Agreement documents of the professional supervisory unit”?

  • Official documents.
  • A statement to “agree to be the professional supervisory unit of the Beijing Representative Office of XXX Organisation”, or a similar wording.
  • The contact person and contact phone number for the professional supervisory unit; must also be stamped with the official seal of the ministerial unit or bureau-level unit with the right to examine and approve foreign affairs.

 

Q10. Which of the documents required for the application of a Representative Office must be notarised?

The documents required to be notarised are the “three certificates, one constitution”: supporting documents and materials for the legal establishment of the Overseas NGO, certification materials to prove that the Overseas NGO has existed for more than two years and conducted substantial activities, the identification of the foreign Chief Representative and the constitution of the Overseas NGO.

The specific procedure of notarisation varies from place to place, but all must be certified by the PRC embassy or consulate in the host country.

 

Q11. Is it necessary to translate all foreign documents?

Depending on whether the host country’s embassy or consulate requires the submission of translated documents at the time of authentication, we can distinguish two categories of situations:

The first category includes host countries such as the USA, where the embassy does not require the provision of Chinese translations to certify documents. After obtaining the certification, the Overseas NGO is required to find a qualified translation organisation in Mainland China in order to translate all the documents (including the Notarisation). A qualified translation organisation is one that can stamp the material with the file number.

In the second category, if the host embassy does require Chinese translations at the time of certification and has approved the translations in order to certify, then the registration authority will also approve them.

In both situations, the notarisation must be translated. Material written in Traditional Chinese must be accompanied by Simplified Chinese and signed by the person in charge; these need not be notarised. Material in Hokkien or Cantonese must be accompanied by the Mandarin version of the materials, which must be notarised.

 

Q12. Is there a way to remedy the situation if the registration authority makes a decision not to grant registration?

There are no provisions in the Overseas NGO Management Law for this issue, but we believe an organisation has the right to try to remedy the situation. Therefore, the Overseas NGO can apply for reconsideration by the administration. Alternatively, according to the rules of “Administrative Procedure Law”, the Overseas NGO can refuse to accept the decision made by the registration authority and file an administrative lawsuit; however, the principles of equality and reciprocity must be applied.

 

Q13. Is the Overseas NGO required to submit the original proof of establishment every time it carries out a temporary activity?

The first time that the notarised proof of establishment is submitted shall continue to count, and it need not be resubmitted for other activities carried out within a year’s time. Upon first submission to a foreign province or city, the authenticity and timeframe of the submitted materials should be verified by means of a contact mechanism. A photocopy can be collected to show eligibility.

 

Q14. Which agency provides the material to prove the source of funding for a Temporary Activity project?

Regarding proof material for the source of funding for a Temporary Activity, it is up to each donor to explain the circumstances under which donations have been made and to provide certifications. The donor needs to sign the documents, and all foreign language material must be translated.

If the Overseas NGO is fully funded, the organisation must issue a statement along the lines of “all funding is financed by our organisation”. If the Overseas NGO and the Chinese partner each contribute 50% of the funding, they must each make a statement on the contribution. In both cases, the Chinese partner is required to provide a bank account number and the name of the bank of deposit. They must also issue a statement explaining that “this account will be used for all of this activity”, the account is for “special funds” etc… This statement may be issued separately or attached to the Chinese partner’s funding certification. Even if the source of funds is already stated in a written agreement between the Overseas NGO and the Chinese partner, the material proving the source of funding for a Temporary Activity project will still need to be submitted for filing.

 

Q15. If there is more than one Overseas NGO or Chinese partner involved in the same activity, which organisation should issue the proof of funding?

It is up to the organisation with the most funding to issue proof of the unified source of funds, and state the funding situation of the other organisations. For example, if there are three Overseas NGOs contributing 1,000,000, 300,000 and 200,000 respectively, then the Overseas NGO contributing 1,000,000 shall issue the certificate, and state the funding situation of the other two organisations.

 

Q16. Which agency examines and approves social organisations without a competent PSU, comprised of a cooperating Chinese partner unit and Overseas NGO, registered in the Ministry of Civil Affairs?

Social organisation without a competent PSU registered in the Ministry of Civil Affairs shall be approved and issued with the relevant documents by the department with the right to approve foreign affairs.

 

Q17. Can regional Representative Offices operate across regions?

In accordance with the provisions of the “Guidelines on Registering a Representative Office and Filing to Conduct Temporary Activities for Overseas NGOs”, when an Overseas NGO establishes a registered Representative Office, they can opt for an area of activity within the provincial administrative district, or at a higher division, but the chosen area of activity must correspond with the actual situation of the Representative Office’s business scope and activities.

 

Q18. Why can branches not be set up in Mainland China? What are the exceptions?

  • According to the explanation of the relevant personnel in the National People’s Congress Law Committee, since there are no restrictions on the number of Representative Offices to be established by Overseas NGOs, it is of little significance to set up branch offices.

 

  • An exception will be made for foreign natural science academic institutions where the academic department has already set up a branch in China. These established branches will be approved.

 

Q19. Why can an Overseas NGO not fundraise in China? Can they passively accept donations?

  • According to the provisions of the Charity Law, only charitable organisations that have been qualified for public fundraising can fundraise. Overseas NGOs and their Representative Offices do not conform to the relevant provisions of the Charity Law and cannot engage in fundraising.

 

  • There is no clear provision in the law for the passive acceptance of donations. Some people believe you cannot accept donations but citizens, corporations and others in ownership of property have the right to free disposal of property; thus, if the law forcibly stipulates that Overseas NGOs cannot accept funds there arises a legal controversy.

 

Q20. Why can an Overseas NGO not develop a membership? What are the exceptions?

  • According to the explanation of the relevant personnel in the National People’s Congress Law Committee, Overseas NGOs in China do not qualify as legal entities and their temporary activities are short-term activities; therefore, developing membership is not in keeping with the rules of Chinese law.

 

  • However some Overseas NGOs have developed a membership in China, mainly the Foreign Society of Natural Sciences whose membership consisted of Chinese experts, scholars and scientists. This is an existing state of affairs. Additionally, the Chinese government supports scientists and scholars to join foreign science institutions, so these are exceptions to the State Council’s rule.

 

Case Studies

 

1. Minor violation – qualified but not within the rules

Example: Overseas NGO A has successfully established a Representative Office in Chinese province B, to run competitive activities and increase the innovative capabilities of students in province B.

Scenario 1: Now, a university in province C partners with the Representative Office of NGO A to develop an activity on universal copyright and related legal knowledge.

Scenario 2: Whilst conducting activities in province B, the Representative Office of NGO A asks each participating student to pay a contestant fee, generating high profits.

Scenario 3: A month after the establishment of the Representative Office of NGO A, the registration authority discovers that documents were counterfeit at the time of registration.

 

In light of the three cases mentioned above, NGO A must assume what kind of legal liability?

Legal liability 1: The public security organ of the municipality shall issue a warning or give orders to cease activities for a stated period of time.

Legal liability 2: The unlawful effects and illegal gains shall be confiscated.

Legal liability 3: In serious circumstances, the registration certificate shall be revoked and a ban imposed on the Temporary Activity.

Legal liability 4: Within 5 years of the date of revocation and ban, no further Representative Offices or Temporary Activities shall be established in China.

 

2. Relatively serious violation – unqualified but still carrying out activities

Example: Overseas NGO D has appointed Chinese citizen E to act as its agent in China, funding E to recruit staff in China to launch a campaign for the protection of small animals and to develop substantive activities.

Question 1: Overseas NGO D has not registered a Representative Office or filed a Temporary Activity. What kind of sanction will it face for funding the actions of Chinese citizen E?

Question 2: Can Chinese citizen E accept the appointment and funding of NGO D? What legal liabilities must they assume?

 

Legal liability 1: The public security organ of the municipality shall issue a ban on or give an order to cease the illegal activity.

Legal liability 2: The unlawful effects and illegal gains shall be confiscated.

Legal liability 3: The directly liable personnel shall be issued with a warning; in serious circumstances, they shall be detained for a maximum of 10 days.

Legal liability 4: Within 5 years of the date of repeal, revocation and ban, no further Representative Offices or Temporary Activities shall be established in China.

 

3. Serious violation – endangering national security and interests

Example: Overseas NGO F establishes a Representative Office in China and develops a programme in Chinese universities to promote the mutual exchange of learning between talented individuals at universities in China and abroad.

Scenario 1: Over a sustained period of time, the Representative Office of NGO F disseminates false statements from the foreign media about the Chinese government in their activities, leading the university students astray and causing an adverse social impact.

Scenario 2: NGO F is involved in economic exchange with Chinese university professors, steals Chinese national secrets and incites the professors to organize students to carry out political activities that undermine national unity.

 

In the above situations, what kind of sanctions will NGO F face?

Legal liability 1: The registration certificate shall be revoked or a ban imposed on the Temporary Activity.

Legal liability 2: If it does not constitute a crime, the public security organ of the municipality shall detain the directly liable personnel for a maximum of 15 days.

Legal liability 3: If it does constitute a crime, in addition to the punishments mentioned above, the directly liable personnel shall be held criminally responsible.

Legal liability 4: The organisation may be included in the ‘unwelcome list’; no further Representative Offices or Temporary Activities shall be established in China.

《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》法律实务分享

2017-08-08 11:54:39  来源:中国发展简报  作者:中国发展简报    点击数量:298

        7 月 28 日,由北京益行公益信息交流服务中心“中国发展简报 (China Development Brief)”在京举办的“境外 NGO 在华注册工作坊”上,京师律师事务所主任张凌霄博士向与会者作了《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》法律实务分享,针对注册需提交的文件准备、申请的流程、违法的示例等做了详细解答。以下为当日分享中摘录的部分重要问题。

 

1、如何证明是“境外非政府组织” 

答:1)合法成立证明——由境外相关注册登记部门官方机构出具。

2)非营利性证明——根据各国具体情况提交相关证明,如英国有相关慈善组织登记机构。

 

2、针对一项领域由多个单位主管的情况,如何确定具体的主管单位?

答:根据公安部境外非政府组织办公室的答复,针对这种情况,是由这多个业务主管单位进行协        商,最终根据主要涉及领域的性质,协商确定业务主管单位。

 

3、合法成立的证明文件包括哪些?原件还是复印件即可?

答:合法成立的证明文件是由境外非政府组织在其注册登记时的注册登记官方机构出具,如营业       执照的证明文件等。一般来讲,重要性的文件不需要原件,能够有官方证明文件或者复印件         即可。

 

4、对提交的章程有何要求?

答:提交章程的目的在于审查境外非政府组织的业务是否与公益有关,章程需要提交完整版,不        能断章取义。

 

5、“境外非政府组织办理设立代表机构登记授权书”应当包括哪些内容?

答:以北京市公安局的要求为例,登记授权书由境外非政府组织总部出具,包括两部分内容。

第一,总部授权成立北京代表处。表明总部同意设立北京代表处,给北京代表处授权行使总         部的部分权力。尽量写清楚代表处所在地,而不要写“In China ”或者“全国”。

第二,拟任首席代表以及代表人员姓名。不需要写雇员名单。授权书需要总部负责人签字或         者盖章。授权书无需公证认证,如果是外文,需要由有资质的翻译机构进行翻译。

授权书的这两部分内容可以做成两份文件;但在相关网站提交时要合并成一个PDF文档。

 

6、如何证明“在境外存续二年以上并实质性开展活动”?

答:1)符合其所在国要求的、由第三方出具的近两年的财务审计报告。

2)其负责人签字的近两年的活动年报。

 

7、首席代表身份证明包括哪些?无犯罪记录证明的形式是什么?

答:1、身份证明证件包括中国大陆身份证、外国身份证、护照和港澳台往来大陆相关证件等,境        外证件需要公证认证。

2、对于无犯罪记录证明,首席代表可以签署固定格式的无犯罪记录证明。

 

8、“拟设代表机构的住所证明材料”包含哪些?

答:1)产权证—— 房屋存在

2)租赁合同—— 租赁关系

 

9、对于“业务主管单位的同意文件”具体有哪些要求?

答:1)官方红头文件;

2)有“同意作为某某组织北京代表处的业务主管单位”内容或类似表述。

3)业务主管单位的联系人和联系电话;还需加盖部委级单位或者具有涉外审批权的司局级单位的公章

 

10、申请代表机构所需提交的材料中,有哪些需要办理公证认证?

答:需要公证认证的材料包括“三份证明、一个章程”:境外非政府组织在境外合法成立的证明文         件和材料、境外非政府组织在境外存续二年以上并实质性开展活动的证明材料、外籍首席代         表的身份证明以及境外非政府组织章程。

公证认证的具体程序因地而异,但都必须有中华人民共和国驻各国使领馆的认证。

 

11、所有外文材料均需要翻译吗?

答:按照驻各国使领馆认证时是否要求提交翻译件可以分成两类情况。

第一种,对于驻美国等国家的使领馆认证材料时不要求提供中文翻译件的情形,境外非政府        组织获得使领馆认证后,需要在中国境内找一家具有翻译资质的机构对所有材料(包括公证        书)进行翻译。具有翻译资质的机构指能加盖备案号方章的翻译机构。

第二种情况,如果驻外使领馆认证材料时要求提交中文翻译件,使领馆认可翻译件并进行了        认证,那么登记管理机关同样认可。

无论哪种情况,公证书必须翻译。繁体中文材料需要附简体中文,由负责人签字,无需公证         认证。闽南语、粤语材料需要附普通话版本材料,并进行公证认证。

 

12、对于登记管理机关做出的“不予登记”的决定,是否有救济的途径?

答:《境外非政府组织境内活动管理法》中没有对该问题作出规定,我们认为有权利就当有救          济。所以,可以申请行政复议,也可以根据《行政诉讼法》的规定境外非政府组织不服登记管      理机关决定的,提起行政诉讼,但要适用同等原则和对等原则。

 

13、开展多个临时活动,境外非政府组织是否每次都要提交成立证明原件?

答:需要公证认证的成立证明原件以第一次提交时间为准,一年内有其他活动的可不用重复提           交。涉及第一次在外省市提交,通过联系机制核实提交材料真实性和时效。对于符合条件           的,收取复印件即可。

 

14、临时活动项目经费、资金来源证明材料由哪个机构提供?

答:临时活动项目经费、资金来源证明材料,由各出资方对自己出资情况进行说明并出具证明。       需要签字,外文材料还需要翻译。如果境外非政府组织全额出资,那么该组织出具含有“全部       资金由我方资助”或其他类似表述的说明。如果境外非政府组织和中方合作单位各出资50%,       各自就出资情况作出说明。无论哪种情况,中方合作单位都需要提供银行账号、开户行,并         说明“此次活动全部使用此账号”“专款专用”等内容,可以单独出具此项说明或者附在中方合作       单位出资证明之后。即使资金来源已经在境外非政府组织与中方合作单位的书面协议里写           明,备案时仍然需要提交临时活动项目经费、资金来源证明材料。

 

15、如果一项活动有多个境外非政府组织或多个中方合作单位参与,由哪个机构出具出资证明?

答:由出资最多的机构统一出具资金来源证明,并写明其他机构出资情况。比如有三个境外非政       府组织分别出资100万、30万和20万,那么由出资100万的境外非政府组织出具证明,并写明       其他组织出资情况。

 

16、在民政部门注册的无业务主管单位的社会组织作为中方合作单位和境外非政府组织合作,由哪个单位审批

答:在民政部门注册的无业务主管单位的社会组织由民政局具有外事审批权的部门审批并出具有       关文件。

 

17、对于地域性的代表机构是否可以跨区域开展活动?

答:根据《境外非政府组织代表机构登记和临时活动备案办事指南》的规定,境外非政府组织设       立登记代表机构时,活动地域可以选择在本省级行政区内,也可以选择在一个省级行政区划         以上,但选择活动地域要与代表机构业务范围和开展活动的实际情况相符。

 

18、境内不得设分支机构的原因是什么? 除外情况有哪些?

答: 1)根据全国人大法工委相关人员的解释,对于境外非政府组织设立代表机构的数量已经不          设限制,设立分支机构的意义不大。

2)而除外情况是指,有一些国外的自然科学的学术机构、学术单位曾经在中国设立分会,         对这些已经设立的分会予以认可。

 

19、为什么不能募捐? 能不能被动接受捐赠?

答: 1)根据《慈善法》的规定,只有取得公开募捐资格的慈善组织才能募捐,境外非政府组织          及其代表机构不符合《慈善法》的相关规定,不得进行募捐。

2)对于是否能够被动接受捐赠,本法没有明确规定,有人认为不能接受捐赠,但公民、法          人等,对于拥有所有权的财产,有自由处分的权利,如果法律强行规定境外非政府组织不能        接受捐赠,在法理上存在争议。

 

20、规定不得发展会员的原因是什么? 除外情况有哪些?

答: 1)根据全国人大法工委相关人员的解释,境外非政府组织在中国不具备法人资格,开展临         时活动的也是短期活动,发展会员不符合中国的法律规定。

2)但原来一些境外非政府组织在中国发展过会员,这些会员主要指国外自然科学的学会,          中国的专家、学者、科学家加入了这个学会,这是一个现状。另外,中国政府也支持科学            家、学者加入国外的科学机构,所以国务院规定的除外。

 

案例

1、轻微违法——有资格,不规范

例:境外非政府组织A组织在我国B省成功设立了代表机构,开展竞赛类活动,提高B省在校学生创新能力

情景一:现C省某高校与A组织代表机构合作,开展普及著作权相关法律知识活动。

情景二:A组织代表机构在B省的活动中,要求每位参加活动的学生缴纳参赛费,从中获得高额收益。

情景三:A组织代表机构设立一个月后,被登记管理机关发现设立登记时的材料造假。

针对上述三种情形,A组织需要承担怎样的法律责任呢?

法律责任1由设区的市以上公安机关给予警告或者责令限期停止活动

法律责任2没收非法财物和违法所得

法律责任3情节严重的,吊销登记证书、取缔临时活动

法律责任4自被吊销、取缔之日起五年内,不得在中国境内再设立代表机构或者开展临时活动

 

2、较重违法——没资格,仍开展活动

例:境外非政府组织D组织任命我国公民E为其在华代理,资助E在华招募人员开展保护小动物的宣传,并开展实质活动。

问题一:境外非政府组织D组织未登记代表机构、临时活动未备案,资助我国公民E的行为会面临怎样的处罚?

问题二:我国公民E可以接受D组织的任命和资助吗? 需要承担怎样的法律责任?

法律责任1设区的市级以上公安机关予以取缔或者责令停止违法行为

法律责任2没收非法财物和违法所得

法律责任3对直接责任人员给予警告,情节严重的,处十日以下拘留

法律责任4自被撤销、吊销、取缔之日起五年内,不得在中国境内再设立代表机构或者开展临时活动

 

3、严重违法——危害国家安全、利益

例:境外非政府组织F组织在我国境内设立代表机构,在我国高校开展活动,促进国内外高校人才相互交流学习。

情境一:F组织的境内代表机构长期将境外媒体有关我国政府的不实言论在活动中传播,错误引导高校学生,造成恶劣的社会影响。

情景二:F组织与我国高校多名教授有经济往来,窃取我国的国家秘密,并授意这些教授组织学生开展破坏国家统一的政治活动。

上述情形中,F组织会面临怎样的处罚呢?

法律责任1吊销登记证书或者取缔临时活动

法律责任2尚不构成犯罪的,由设区的市级以上公安机关对直接责任人员处十五日以下拘留

法律责任3构成犯罪的,除上述处罚外,对直接责任人员追究刑事责任

法律责任4可能被列入不受欢迎名单,不得再在中国境内设立代表机构或开展临时活动

Translated by Hannah Tan

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