A forum for overseas NGOs was held by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau in Shanghai on October 14th. During the forum it was announced that a draft version of the “Guidelines for the Registration and Temporary Activities of Overseas NGOs” has been released in order to receive public feedback. The official and final version will be released before the PRC’s Law on the Management of the Activities of Overseas NGOs within Mainland China is implemented on January 1st, 2017.
According to Hao Yunhong, a representative of the Overseas NGOs Management Office, the MPS is paying much attention to the service and management of overseas NGOs, and it is carrying out the preparatory work in order to create favourable conditions and provide effective services for the future activities of overseas NGOs. At the moment a series of departments for supervision and management have been set up, and they will be in charge of researching, coordinating and addressing major problems faced by overseas NGOs. The relevant documents are also being formulated, including not only the Guidelines for the Registration and Temporary Activities of Representatives Offices for Overseas NGOs but also the Spheres of Activities, Project Directory and Competent Authority Directory for Overseas NGOs.
At present the MPS, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) are discussing the transition work for the NGOs that have been registered with the MCA and SAIC in the past, so that the work can be smoothly handed over to the new departments under the new legal framework and the rights of overseas NGOs can be protected from violations. Moreover, a registration window for NGOs and foreign staff to obtain their credentials for working and living in China is being prepared in the reception halls of all the provincial MPS Exit and Entry Administration offices.
A representative of the MPS stressed during the forum that in a time of globalization, NGOs have been increasingly important in national and global governance, playing a significant role in cultural exchange, environmental conservation, poverty alleviation, medical assistance and humanitarian aid. In China overseas NGOs have brought projects and funds as well as new concepts and theories and valuable experience, promoting the exchange with other countries and the economic and social development. The Chinese government will keep welcoming and supporting overseas NGOs to conduct activities in China.
The representatives of nine foreign NGOs, including the Shanghai Office of the US-China Trade Commission, attended the forum and gave their opinions and suggestions. They also visited the reception window for NGO registration in Shanghai.