Shandong makes it easier for social organizations to register

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The Civil Affairs Department of Shandong Province has released a policy document aiming to improve the administrative environment for social organizations (as charities are known in China) in the province. The document addresses some of the difficulties that local social organizations face when trying to register with the civil affairs departments.

According to the official report, the “Ten Opinions on Improving the Registration Management Services for Social Organizations” (关于优化社会组织登记管理服务的十条建议), released on the 5th of June, aims to “introduce a series of practical and effective means of relaxation, management and service (放管服) in ten fields, including promoting party construction, carrying out direct registration, relaxing the registration requirements for chambers of commerce, reforming the annual inspection system and simplifying the cancellation and registration procedures”, which will “stimulate the vitality of social organizations” and “raise the quality of service”.

Among other things, the second of the “Ten Opinions” states that it is necessary to “fully implement” the policy of allowing “four types of social organizations” to register directly with the civil affairs departments, without the need for a Professional Supervisory Unit (PSU). This refers to the policy, which in principle has existed nationally since 2013, of allowing four types of social organizations (trade associations and chambers of commerce, organizations focused on science and technology, charities and urban and rural community services) to register directly and avoid the cumbersome requirement to find a PSU. Previous reports have found that this policy has not always been put into practice nationwide.

The fifth “opinion” affirms the necessity to reform the annual inspection system for social organizations, by turning the annual inspection into an annual work report that the social organizations can submit online. The ninth “opinion” concerns “solving the issue of the difficulty of cancelling the registration of social organizations”, simplifying the procedures and materials required to officially cancel a social organization that hasn’t carried out any activity in more than three years.

The issuing of this policy document appears to be real good news for social organizations in one of China’s most populous and prosperous provinces. The official report notes that currently there are 52,338 social organizations in Shandong province, including 17660 social groups, 34,475 citizen-run non-enterprise units, and 203 foundations.

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