The Ministry of Civil Affairs published its own top ten list for the social organization sector in 2013, with most items focused on policy developments. The top ten were:
(1) The central government’s major policy change of the social organization management system at the 18th Party Congress and the National People’s Congress
The 2nd Plenum of the 18th Party Congress and 12th session of the National People’s Congress committed to major policy reforms in the management of social organizations (SOs). Reforms were set out within the “Blueprint on the Reform of Agencies under the State Council and Transformation of their Functions” which lists key tasks that include: (i) the separation of professional associations and chambers of commerce from government, (ii) the provision of a direct registration mechanism for SOs in the following categories – professional associations, chambers of commerce, scientific and technological organizations, charitable (or public benefit) organizations and urban-rural community service organizations, (iii) the improvement of related laws and regulations; (iv) the strengthening of the management system for SOs and (v) encouraging SOs to improve their internal governance structures. Current work has gone forward smoothly, such as the drafting of comprehensive plans for the reform of SOs, the separation of professional associations (such as chambers of commerce) from government, and the revision of related laws and regulations. The new system of direct registration has in its early stages already helped more than 19,000 SOs to register with the Civil Affairs authorities at all levels.
(2) The 18th Central Committee’s Third Plenum Decision about invigorating social forces and the role of social organizations in 12 areas including economics, politics, culture, education, etc.
The Central Committee’s “Decision on Important Issues Regarding the Comprehensive Deepening of Reform” dedicates an entire chapter to the topic of “Stimulating the Vitality of SOs”, and also set out clear requests on how to fully realize the potential of SOs in 12 areas, including economics, politics, culture, education, public health and party-building etc. In 2013, the State Council issued guidance that emphasized the participation of SOs in the development of the elder care and health care industries. Stimulating the vitality of SOs and reorganizing the system of social governance have already become important drivers for the modernization of governance at the national level.
(3）The State Council Decision on government procurement
At the end of September, the State Council issued “Guiding Opinions Regarding Government Procurement of Services from Non-state Actors.” This document fills a void in the government’s current procurement policy by setting out both systematic arrangements and a comprehensive blueprint for the procurement of services from non-state actors such as SOs, enterprises and institutions. SOs that are legally registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA), or who have been exempted from registration by the State Council, will play an important role in the delivery of procurement services. In the current period, this represents an important step in the strategy to transform government functions by enhancing the environment in which SOs develop and helping to realize the positive role they play in the improvement of public services.
(4）The State Council Decision about social organization registration, streamlining, and decentralization in November of 2013
In November and December 2013, the State Council respectively issued “Decision on Cancelling and Delegating Certain Administratively-approved Projects” and “Decision on Revising Certain Administrative Laws.” These Decisions cancel: (i) filing requirements (bei’an) for social associations (shetuan) and their branches and representative bodies; (ii) registration, modification of registration, and cancellation of registration for branch organizations of national-level social associations (shehui tuanti) and their representative bodies; (iii) pre-approvals for foreign chambers of commerce issued the Ministry of Commerce. They also made related revisions to the “Provisional Regulations Concerning the Management of Chambers of Commerce”. Concurrently, several provinces have delegated management authority over the registration of non-public fundraising foundations [feigongmu jijinhui] and chambers of commerce to lower levels. The reform of the SO registration management system, which takes government streamlining and decentralization as its guiding principal, will be proceed steadily from the central government to local governments.
(5) State Council leaders travel to Shenzhen and Shanghai to investigate the work of social organizations in July of 2013
From the 8th to the 11th of July, State Councilor Wang Yong made a special tour of Shenzhen and Shanghai to inspect the work of SOs. In recent years, members of the State Council have viewed this type of work as being of great importance. State Councilor Wang emphasized that SOs have already made an important contribution to the construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics, while also stressing the need to conscientiously implement the spirit of the 18th Party Congress to promote the development and reform of SOs by strengthening top-level design, deepening system reform, improving the development environment, strengthening supervision and management, and strengthening party building. In addition, he emphasized the need to speed up the creation of a modern social organization system which has a clear separation between government and society, clear rights and obligations, and adheres to the law and is self-regulating, in order to promote the healthy and orderly development of social organizations.
(6）Social organizations are gradually incorporated into the state’s social trustworthiness rating system
A separate category for SOs was incorporated into the state’s social trustworthiness rating system in 2013. Local areas took the lead in launching the updated system with Zhejiang and Shanghai respectively issuing notices towards the end of September on “Strengthening the Construction of a Social Trustworthiness Rating System” and “Temporary Measures for Managing the Recording, Sharing and Using Trustworthiness Information from Social Organizations.” Henceforth, information on a given organization’s status in relation to its registration, annual compliance with statutory requirements, performance assessment and compliance with law, will become the basis on which to evaluate trustworthiness. At the same time, social organizations establishing innovative models, trade associations establishing codes of self-discipline and integrity, and civil, non-enterprise units (minban feiqiye) branding and serving society, will be deepened across the whole country. Furthermore, work to assess the performance level of SOs will be comprehensively promoted, with the proportion of national-level CSOs that are compliant with the performance assessment threshold expected to reach 70%, thereby strengthening the integrity of SOs and further improving the trustworthiness environment.
(7）Yunnan and other localities (Anhui, Fujian, Dalian, Ningbo, Xiamen) promote innovative reforms of social organization
On 23rd August, the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee and Yunnan Provincial Government published a paper setting out their “Opinions on Fostering the Development of Social Organizations and Accelerating the Emergence of a Modern Social Organization System” together with a series of other supporting policies. Prior to this, in mid-July, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Yunnan Provincial Government jointly hosted a forum on “Promoting Society to Build Innovative Social Organizations” attended by the Minister of Civil Affairs, Li Liguo, and Yunnan Provincial Party Committee Party Secretary, Qin Guangrong, who both delivered speeches. The Yunnan government has been innovative in adopting a variety of progressive policies including, withdrawing government from public fundraising for charities, local tax breaks and government procurement services. At the same time party committees and governments in Anhui, Fujian, Dalian, Ningbo and Xiamen have all published comprehensive policy documents that promote SO reform innovations, carry out the spirit of the central government, and comprehensively deepen the reform of SOs.
(8) New regulations issued after the Lushan Earthquake relief promote the development of social organizations
On 20th April, in the immediate aftermath of the Lushan earthquake (in Sichuan), MOCA issued a “Circular on Fundraising for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Activities following the Lushan Earthquake.” In order to facilitate the smooth implementation of relief and reconstruction efforts by SOs, the circular urges: (i) that the beneficiaries of donations should not be specified; (ii) that fundraising activities be carried out through SOs that are legally registered and work on disaster relief, and Civil Affairs departments in the affected area; (iiii) to provide open channels for SOs to participate in disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction; (iv) better information disclosure, stronger management supervision and greater transparency in the use of disaster relief funds. Ya’an became the first city to establish a community organization to help manage disaster relief efforts and volunteers which coordinated 493 NGO projects worth RMB 1.146 billion. This helped put SOs at the forefront of relief and reconstruction efforts and represents a new development in collaboration between government and civil society. Moreover, the integration of resources and broadening of channels to deliver disaster relief efforts represents a new model for interaction between state and society in disaster relief work.
(9) Human resource training for social organizations is included for the first time in the state project to ‘update the knowledge of professional and technical personnel’
On May 17, the General Office of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) issued the “Plan on Advanced Training to Update the Knowledge of Professional and Technical Personnel.” According to this plan, MoCA and MHRSS will co-host China’s first training class targeted at leading personnel from trade associations and chambers of commerce. This will be the first time that SO staff have been involved in such a training program and represents an important step that will strengthen the development of personnel in the SO sector. Subsequently, on July 15, MHRSS and MoCA jointly issued the “Circular on Issues about Efforts to Encourage Social Associations, Civil Non-Enterprise Units and Foundations to Set Up a Pension Fund.” Since the policy was unveiled it has had a significant impact on stabilizing staffing and improving social security benefits in social organizations.
(10) “China Social Organizations” magazine 《中国社会组织》starts publication
January 2013 marked the publication of “China Social Organization Magazine.” The magazine, which is under the auspices of MOCA and is sponsored by the Association for the Promotion of CSOs, is the only professional publication targeted at SOs of all kinds. The publication uses a “two websites, one magazine” distribution system, using the China Social Organizations and China Foundation websites and the China Social Organization Magazine, as its main dissemination channels. It also supplements content with selections from theoretical and policy writings on SOs and special reports on public attitudes toward SOs. In so doing, it has managed to bring together print and online media to establish an information platform that acts as a complement to mainstream media, and as a mechanism for mutual information exchange both with and between SOs, the public, related sectors, the media, professional academics and government departments. This will help increase awareness of the positive work carried out by SOs and enhance the environment which shapes public opinion about the SO sector.
三、国务院出台政府向社会力量购买服务指导意见 9月26日， 国务院办公厅下发《关于政府向社会力量购买服务的指导意见》，对政府向社会组织，以及企业、机构等社会力量购买服务做出系统安排和全面部署，填补了我国政府购买服务政策领域的空白。依法在民政部门登记成立或经国务院批准免于登记的社会组织成为购买服务重要承接主体。这是新一届政府对进一步转变政府职能、改善公共服务作出的重大部署，对于优化社会组织发展环境、更好发挥社会组织积极作用具有重要意义。
四、社会组织登记管理简政放权 11月8日，国务院下发《关于取消和下放一批行政审批项目的决定》，12月7日， 下发《关于修改部分行政法规的决定》，取消了法律规定自批准之日起即具有法人资格的社会团体及其设立分支机构、代表机构备案，取消了全国性社会团体分支机 构、代表机构的设立登记、变更登记和注销登记，取消了商务部对在华外国商会的前置审批，并对《外国商会管理暂行规定》做了相应修改。与此同时，全国多个省份下延了非公募基金会和异地商会的登记管理权限。以简政放权为核心的社会组织登记管理改革在中央和地方次第展开、稳步推进。
五、国务院领导专题调研社会组织工作 7月8日至11日， 国务委员王勇一行赴广东省深圳市和上海市专题调研社会组织工作。这是近年来，国务院领导同志就社会组织工作进行的一次重要专题调研。他强调，社会组织已经成为中国特色社会主义事业的重要建设者，要认真贯彻落实党的十八大精神，从加强顶层设计、深化体制改革、优化发展环境、强化监督管理、加强党的建设等方面积极推进社会组织改革发展，加快形成政社分开、权责明确、依法自治的现代社会组织体制，引导社会组织健康有序发展。
六、社会组织逐步纳入国家社会信用体系建设 2013年，社会组织纳入国家社会信用体系建设范畴，地方率先启动，9月20日，浙江省下发了《关于加强社会组织信用体系建设的通知》，9月26日， 上海市下发了《社会组织信用信息记录、共享和使用管理暂行办法》，登记、年检、评估、执法等情况成为评价社会组织信用状况的重要信息。同时，社会组织建设创新示范、行业协会自律与诚信创建、民办非企业单位塑造品牌与服务社会等活动在全国深入开展，社会组织评估工作全面推进，符合条件的全国性社会组织累计评估率达到70%，社会组织诚信建设得到加强，信用环境进一步优化。
七、云南等地积极推进社会组织改革创新 8月23日，云南省委、省政府出台了《关于大力培育发展社会组织加快推进现代社会组织体制建设的意见》，同时出台一系列配套政策，在此之前，民政部、云南省政府于7月18日 共同举办了“推进社会建设创新社会组织”座谈会，民政部部长李立国，云南省委书记秦光荣出席会议并讲话。云南省在政府退出公益慈善募捐市场、地方性税收减免、政府购买服务等方面的政策具有创新性。与此同时，安徽、福建、大连、宁波、厦门等地党委政府也纷纷出台推进社会组织改革创新的综合性文件，落实中央精神、全面深化社会组织改革的氛围日趋浓厚。
八、芦山震灾捐赠新规推动社会组织发挥积极作用 4月20日，四川雅安芦山地震发生后，民政部及时发布《关于四川芦山7.0级 强烈地震抗震救灾捐赠活动的公告》，不指定救灾捐赠接收主体，提倡通过依法登记、有救灾宗旨的公益慈善组织和灾区民政部门进行捐赠，为社会组织参与救灾和灾后重建服务畅通了渠道，同时强化信息公开，加强监督管理，提高捐赠使用的透明度。四川省雅安市成立了全国首个抗震救灾社会组织和志愿者服务中心，对接社会组织公益项目493个，涉及资金11.46亿元，社会组织成为抗震救灾的重要力量。此举是构建政府与社会组织联合救灾机制的新探索，整合救灾资源、拓宽救灾渠道，在救灾领域建立了政社互动互补的新格局。
十、《中国社会组织》杂志创刊 2013年1月， 《中国社会组织》杂志正式创刊。该杂志是民政部主管、中国社会组织促进会主办、面向全国各类社会组织的唯一专业性杂志。至此，以中国社会组织网、中国基金会网、《中国社会组织》杂志，“两网一刊”为主渠道，以社会组织舆情专报、社会组织理论政策选编等为补充，平面媒介与网络媒介相结合的社会组织宣传平台初步建立，形成了与社会大众主流媒体良性互动，与社会组织、社会公众、相关行业、新闻媒体、专家学者、政府部门相互沟通的信息交流格局，传递了社会组织正能量，优化了社会组织舆论环境。