By Yang Shuaibin (杨帅斌), Yunnan Information Times (云南信息报), October 21, 2013
On July 18, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Yunnan Provincial Government held a joint event to announce the release of “Suggestions Regarding the Cultivation and Development of Social Organizations and Accelerating the Development of a Modern Social Organization System,” “Regulations on the Promotion of the Yunnan Provincial Public Welfare and Charity Sector,” “Provisional Measures for Government Procurement of Social Organization Services,” and “The 2013 Provincial Government Procurement of Social Organization Services Catalog.” Following this announcement, the Yunnan Information Times circulated four surveys intended to ascertain Yunnan social organizations’ assessment of the new provisions. According to the responses, the publication noted three major trends: First, many organizations felt that due to a lack of clarity in social organization regulations, it was not clear whether registration with Civil Affairs authorities was worth the effort, while other organizations were still unable to register owing to the sensitivity of their work. Second, while the new regulations will help to clarify the process of application for tax deduction and tax exemption, some pointed out that facilitating the application procedure will not necessarily guarantee that a greater number of organizations will be able to obtain tax exemption status.
Finally, while expressing support for the plan to systematize and formalize government procurement of social organization services, the vast majority of NGOs expressed doubt that procurement would be carried out transparently and openly. These organizations felt that as is currently the case, service procurement would continue to be limited to “inside” organizations, and that organizations without close relationships with government institutions would be excluded. Wang Ming of the Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management NGO Research Center stated that service procurement is a difficult procedure that will definitely require information disclosure and fair competition, and Wang Zhenyao of the Beijing Normal University Philanthropy Research Center added that the government should also distinguish between social organization service procurement and commercial service procurement, as the primary concern for the latter is low prices, while the former should emphasize optimal service quality. The article concludes with statements from three Yunnan NGOs regarding the struggles of their organizations.