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Foreign NGO registration rules eased


08:14, July 19, 2013

Requirements for institutions will be lowered under reform

International NGOs will find it much easier to become registered in China, as registration approval power has been handed over by the Ministry of Civil Affairs to provincial civil affairs authorities.

The move is part of the reforms the ministry has initiated to make NGO operations in China easier.

Other measures include preferential taxation, financial support for domestic organizations and a new management system that will loosen the requirements for international NGOs operating in China, said Wang Jianjun, director of the non-governmental organizations department under the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

He was speaking at a forum on Thursday in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

As of the end of last year, 499,000 NGOs had registered with civil affairs authorities at different levels. They employ more than 12 million people, according to Li Liguo, minister of civil affairs.

Under the new framework, international NGOs are allowed to register with provincial civil affairs authorities instead of applying to the ministry as before, said Wang. "The requirements for social organizations will be lowered when they register."

As early as 2006, the provincial government in Yunnan launched a trial to open its arms to international NGOs.

Each of the institutions recorded with the provincial government will be given an ID number and receive help on taxation registration, residence permits for foreign employees and foreign exchange accounts, according to Qin Guangrong, Party chief of Yunnan.

Thirty-nine international NGOs have been included on the provincial government's records and they are running 268 charity programs, Qin said.

Under Yunnan's pilot system, the heads of international NGOs routinely meet the officials in charge.

"The trial mechanism is unique and will have some significance in the national reform of social organizations," Qin said.

As a border province with about 10 million poverty-stricken people, Yunnan is a hotspot for NGOs, the Party chief said.

More than 100 international NGOs are helping locals in Yunnan, and there is an urgent need to establish a sound management system, Qin said.

An official working for the provincial government's inter-national affairs office, who declined to be named, said Yunnan's pilot program gives international NGOs a legal identity.

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