NGOs urged to take part in ‘civilized practice activities’

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As an important part of China’s grassroots governance, the country’s social organizations (a local term for NGOs) that provide community-level services recently received a notice from the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization (CGCBSC) encouraging their extensive participation in “civilized practice activities in the new era” (CDB note: a set of activities that encourage certain “civilized” behaviours).

The notice issued by the MCA and the CGCBSC highlights the importance of promoting the implementation of the “Special Action Plan for the Cultivation and Development of Community Social Organizations (2021-2023)”, encouraging such organizations to help expand the construction of “civilized practice centers” (CDB note: centers that promote certain “civilized behaviours”) across the country.

According to the notice, local governments should guide community social organizations to learn more about the needs of the public and provide people with flexible and efficient services.

Through the establishment of such centers, and with the help of local volunteers, the organizations are expected to lead the general public to foster a new trend of positive behaviours such as helping each other and making collective contributions.

The notice clarifies several key tasks for community and social organizations to participate in civilized practice activities, including the dissemination of scientific theories, organizing more cultural and sports activities, and providing convenient public services.

The notice also lists specific requirements for different types of community social organizations, such as the ones focusing on public welfare and charity, community affairs, and essential services, encouraging them to make good use of their strengths.

The notice emphasizes that it is necessary to integrate resources from different organizations and platforms, strengthen coordination and communication between departments, actively promote government procurement services, and increase support for community social organizations. Local civil affairs departments and civilization offices should, according to the notice, make the extensive participation of community social organizations in “civilized practice activities in the new era” part of their annual work plans.