New revisions made to draft international NGO legislation

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Xinhua reports that the 14th session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee has conducted a second review of a draft bill on the management of international NGOs in China.

The resultant draft stipulates that international NGOs or their representatives shall not be allowed to set up branches in China “unless otherwise specified by the State Council”. The newly attached proviso – “unless otherwise specified by the State Council” – was added because of dissenting opinions towards the first review of the draft conducted by the 12th session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee. Some local governments and state agencies claimed that the law should be more flexible since there are already branches in China set up by “important international NGOs in the field of science and technology”, and the “government always supports new international organizations to set up headquarters in China and important international organizations to establish branches in the country”.

The new draft also contains the revision that international NGOs applying for a “temporary activities permit”, can get the permit application and registering work done by their Chinese partners. Furthermore, the registering departments should set up “online service platforms” designed to make public the application process for international NGOs to carry out activities or set up branches in China.

Finally another addition is that the new draft also includes clauses specifying punishments for offenses committed by government officials and departments responsible for supervising international NGOs. It also makes adjustments to the pre-existing range of penalties for offenses committed by international NGOs and their branches in China.