Zhongguancun to start trial registration for three types of Overseas NGOs

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The Beijing local government yesterday released a State Council-approved plan for pilot projects to open-up the city’s service industry. The plan includes the trial registration for Overseas NGOs.

According to the three year plan Beijing will develop the areas of science and technology, information, culture and education, finance, commercial affairs, tourism, and health. For Overseas NGOs – which have been in the spotlight recently since the Overseas NGO Management Law (second draft) was released for public consultation – the new plan stated that Overseas NGOs (境外非政府组织) working in the areas of science and technology, education, and economics (经济类)can set up representative offices in Zhongguancun (中关村,a high-tech zone in the Haidian District of Beijing). The Beijing government will also start trial registration for private non-enterprise units (民办非企业单位) set up by Overseas organizations and individuals in the areas of science, and technology and economics (经济类).

As pointed out by Professor Deng Guosheng, Director of the Center for Innovation and Social Responsibility at Tsinghua University, currently the only legal documents that relate to the management of Overseas NGOs in China are the Interim Provisions for the Administration of Foreign Chambers of Commerce in China (外国商会管理暂行规定) and the Regulation on the Administration of Foundations (基金会管理条例). Overseas NGOs in China that are not foundations, are therefore currently forced to operate in a gray area. According to Deng, those Overseas NGOs that manage to meet the requirements of the Beijing local government’s pilot program will have legal status in the future.