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Flurry of Legislative Activity on Civil Society Organisations

After the passing of the Charity Law and the highly controversial Foreign NGOs Law earlier this year, over the summer, the Chinese authorities have continued to move forward with the revision of legislation related to the management of civil society organisations. Since June, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has issued draft registration and management regulations for public comment for all three types of social organisations legally recognised in China: foundations (jijinhui), social service organisations (shehui fuwu jigou), and social association (shehui tuanti). As long-time observer of Chinese civil society Shawn Shieh has pointed out in his blog NGOs in China, ‘these three sets of regulations form the heart of the regulatory system governing the registration and management of social organisations—China’s equivalent of not forprofit organisations.’ Complementary administrative regulations in either draft, provisional, or final form have also been concurrently released. The rationale behind the new legislation is spelled out in an ‘Opinion’ jointly released by the General Office of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council on 21 August. According to this document, the overall goal of the reform is to see that by 2020 China will have achieved ‘the complete and sound building of a Chinese-style social organisation management system that features unified registration, with each undertaking their own duties, coordination and cooperation, responsibilities according to level, and oversight on the basis of the law.’ In the new legal and political environment, ‘government and social organisations [will be] separate, powers and obligations [will be] clear, and self-regulation [will be] practiced in line with the law,’ but at the same time ‘Party organisations [will be] playing a more obvious role.’

(Sources: China Law Translate 1, China Law Translate 2, NGOs in China, Central Government Website)

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