Guangzhou stipulates that NGOs will have to report foreign funding

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Editor’s Note

This translation was originally published by the English version of Caixin’s website. It refers to the “Guangzhou measures on the management of social organizations” (《广州市社会组织管理办法》) and not to the “Working regulations on banning illegal social organizations (Draft)” (《广州市取缔非法社会组织工作细则(征求意见稿)》) currently widely discussed in the NGO sector and on which we have reported here and here

Guangzhou has revised a regulation covering foreign-funded non-governmental organizations after a stricter draft version triggered public concerns.

The government of the city in the southern province of Guangdong recently published the full text of the regulation for local NGOs. The regulation was signed by the city’s mayor, Chen Jianhua, on October 30 and it will take effect on January 1.

The final version says that NGOs that accept funding and donations from abroad should report to regulators 15 days before they accept the money. The groups are also required to provide details regarding their activities, personnel, funding and location when organizing projects with the participation of foreign partners.

The final version included major changes to the terms of the management of NGOs with foreign funding.

The draft, which was released on October 24, 2013, so the public could comment on it, said organizations that are mainly funded or have close links with foreign organizations will be banned.

Many NGOs said this was unacceptable, and several sources at NGOs said their groups get funds from overseas. They said the legitimacy of an organization should not be determined by its funding sources.

The new version also lacked a provision saying civil affairs administrations would reply to NGOs within five working days after they submit materials.

NGO sources said this meant the government is switching from an approval-based system to one that just involves registration. This would mean that the groups only needed to report information related to foreign funding and projects, but not have to wait for regulatory approval.

Also, a previous requirement on an annual qualification check of NGOs was eliminated. Instead, organizations are asked to submit an annual report to the government. A financial audit report is also no longer required.

In Brief

Guangzhou has revised its “measures on the management of social organizations” after a stricter draft version triggered public concerns
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