2016 PRC Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations' Activities Within Mainland China

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The word Foreign [境外] as used in this translation includes Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao.

 

 

 

People's Republic of China Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations' Activities within Mainland China
(Adopted at the 20th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress on April 28, 2016)

Contents

Chapter I: General Provisions

Chapter II: Registration and Filing

Chapter III: Regulation of Activities

Chapter IV: Facilitation Measures

Chapter V: Supervision and Management

Chapter VI: Legal Responsibility

Chapter VII: Supplementary Provisions

People's Republic of China Law on the Management of Foreign Non-Governmental Organizations' Activities within Mainland China

  Chapter I: General Provisions

Article 1: This Law is drafted in order to regulate and guide activities conducted by foreign NGOs within mainland China, safeguard their lawful rights and interests, and promote exchanges and cooperation.

Article 2: This law applies to foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China.

"Foreign NGOs" as used in this law refers to not-for-profit, non-governmental social organizations lawfully established outside mainland China, such as foundations, social groups, and think tank institutions.

Article 3: In accordance with this law, foreign NGOs may conduct activities beneficial to the development of the public welfare in fields such as economics, education, science, culture, health, sports, and environmental protection, and for areas such as poverty relief and disaster relief.

Article 4: Foreign NGOs lawfully carrying out activities within mainland China receive the protection of law.

Article 5: Foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China shall abide by Chinese laws, must not endanger China's national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China's national interests, societal public interest and the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.

Foreign NGOs within mainland China must not engage in or fund for-profit activities or political activities, and must not illegally engage in or fund religious activities.

Article 6: The public security department under the State Council and the public security organs of provincial level people's governments are the registration management organs for foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China.

The relevant departments and units under the State Council and the relevant departments and units of provincial level people's governments are the professional supervisory units for foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China.

Article 7: Within the scope of their professional duties, the public security organs and relevant departments of people's governments at the county level or above carry out supervision and management of the activities of foreign NGOs within mainland China, and provide services.

The State establishes a coordination mechanism for efforts to supervise and manage foreign NGOs, responsible for research, coordination, and resolution of major issues in the supervision and management and facilitation and service for foreign NGOs carrying out activities in mainland China.

Article 8: The State will give commendations to foreign NGOs that provide outstanding contributions to the development of China's public welfare.

  Chapter II: Registration and Filing

Article 9: Foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China shall lawfully register and establish representative offices; where foreign NGOs that have not registered and established representative offices need to carry out temporary activities within mainland China, they shall file and record [file] it in accordance with law.

Foreign NGOs that have not registered and established representative offices or filed to carry out temporary activities must not carry out or covertly carry out activities within mainland China, and must not entrust or fund, or covertly entrust or fund, any unit or individual in mainland China to carry out activities within mainland China.

Article 10: Foreign NGOs that meet the following requirements may apply to register and establish representative offices in mainland China based on their operational scope, region of activity, and the specific requirements of their activities:

(1) Legally established outside of mainland China;

(2) Able to independently bear civil liability;

(3) Objectives and operational scope in its organizational charter are beneficial to the development of public welfare;

(4) Has continuously carried out substantive activities outside of mainland China for two or more years;

(5) Other requirements provided for in other laws or administrative regulations.

Article 11: Foreign NGOs applying to register and establish a representative office shall obtain the consent of a professional supervisory unit.

The Public Security Department under the State Council and the public security organs of provincial level people's governments, together with the relevant departments, shall publish a directory of professional supervisory units.

Article 12: Foreign NGOs shall apply to register the establishment of a representative office with the registration management organs within 30 days of obtaining the consent of the professional supervisory unit. Applications to register a representative office shall submit the following documents and materials to the registration management organs:

(1) the written application;

(2) Supporting documents and materials certifying compliance with Article 10 of this Law;

(3) Proof of identity, resume and materials or attestations showing proof of no criminal record for the proposed chief representative;

(4) Materials showing the proposed premises for the representative office;

(5) Materials showing the sources of capital;

(6) Documents of consent from the professional supervisory unit;

(7) Other documents and materials provided for by law or administrative regulations.

Registration management organs reviewing the applications of foreign NGOs to set up representative offices may organize experts to conduct assessments as needed.

Registration management organs shall issue a decision to authorize or not authorize within 60 days of receiving an application.

Article 13: The registration management organs will issue a registration certificate to foreign NGO representative offices that are approved, and make an announcement to the public. Registration matters include:

(1) Name;

(2) Domicile;

(3) Scope of operations;

(4) Region of activities;

(5) Chief representative;

(6) Professional supervisory unit.

Foreign NGO representative offices use their registration certificate to handle tax registration, have an official seal made, and establish an account at a bank within mainland China, and are to give a copy of their tax registration certificates, a sample of their official seal, and bank account numbers to the registration management organs for filing.

Article 14: Where foreign NGO representative offices need to modify items in their registrations, they shall apply to modify the registration with the registration management organs within 30 days of obtaining the consent of the professional supervisory unit.

Article 15: : In any of the following situations, foreign NGO representative offices are to be de-registered by the registration management organs, and an announcement is made to the public:

(1) Where the foreign NGO withdraws its representative offices;

(2) Where the foreign NGO is terminated;

(3) Where the foreign NGO has been de-registered, or its registration certificate is revoked, in accordance with law;

(4) Where the foreign NGO is terminated for other reasons.

After foreign NGOs representative offices are de-registered, the foreign NGOs that established the representative offices shall properly handle any resulting matters. Foreign NGO representative offices do not have standing as legal persons, and the foreign NGO bears related legal responsibility.

Article 16: Where foreign NGOs that have not established a representative office in mainland China carry out temporary activities within mainland China, they shall cooperate with state organs, mass organizations, public institutions, or social organizations (hereinafter "Chinese Partner Units") to do so.

Article 17: Where foreign NGOs carry out temporary activities, the Chinese Partner Unit shall follow national provisions to handle approval formalities, and file with the registration management organs responsible for the area of the proposed activity at least 15 days before the temporary activities are carried out. The following documents and materials shall be submitted when filing:

(1) Documents and materials showing the foreign NGO's lawful establishment;

(2) The written agreement between the foreign NGO and Chinese Partner Unit;

(3) The name, objectives, region, time period, and other materials for temporary activities;

(4) Materials showing project expenses, funding sources and the bank account of the Chinese Partner Unit;

(5) Approval documents obtained by the Chinese Partner Unit;

(6) Other documents and materials provided by law or administrative regulations.

Where temporary activities must be carried out in emergency situations such as disaster relief or rescues, the time period for filing is not subject to the restrictions provided for in the preceding paragraph.

The period for temporary activities is not to exceed 1 year, and where there is truly a need to extend the period, a new filing shall be made.

Where the registration management organs find that filed temporary activities do not meet the requirements of Article 5 of this Law, they shall promptly notify the Chinese Partner Unit to stop the temporary activities.

  Chapter III: Regulation of Activities

Article 18: Foreign NGO representative offices shall carry out activities in their registered name, and within their registered operational scope and region.

Foreign NGOs must not establish branch organizations within mainland China, except as otherwise provided by the State Council.

Article 19: Representative offices of foreign NGOs shall send an activity plan for the following year, including project implementation, use of funds and other such content to the professional supervisory unit before December 31 of each year; and report it to the registration management organs for filing within 10 days of the professional supervisory unit having consented. Where special circumstances require an adjustment of the activity plan, this shall be promptly filed with the registration management organs.

Article 20: Foreign NGOs carrying out activities inside mainland China must not make requirements of Chinese Partner Units or beneficiaries that violate the laws and regulations of China.

Article 21: Funding for activities of foreign NGOs within mainland China includes:

(1) funds from lawful sources outside of mainland China;

(2) Interest on bank deposits within mainland China;

(3) Other funds lawfully obtained within mainland China;

Activities of foreign NGOs within mainland China must not use funds other than those provided for in the preceding paragraph.

Foreign NGOs and their representative offices must not fundraise within mainland China.

Article 22: Foreign NGOs that have established representative offices shall use funds from the bank account within mainland China that is recorded with the registration management organs.

Foreign NGOs carrying out temporary activities shall use their Chinese Partner Unit's bank account to manage and use funds in mainland China, perform independent bookkeeping, and use funds only as they are allocated.

Foreign NGOs, Chinese Partner Units, and individuals must not use any other model to receive and spend funds for project activities inside mainland China other than in bank accounts provided for in the preceding two paragraphs.

Article 23: Foreign NGOs shall use funds in accordance with the registered scope of operations and activity regions for their representative offices or their agreements with Chinese Partner Units.

Article 24: Foreign NGO representative offices shall implement China's unified accounting system, hiring accountants with Chinese professional certifications to carry out accounting in accordance with law. Financial accounting reports shall be audited by mainland Chinese accounting firms.

Article 25: Foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China shall make wire transfers in accordance with China's relevant provisions on regulation of foreign exchanges and payments.

Article 26: Foreign NGO representative offices shall handle matters such as tax registration, tax declarations, and payment of taxes in accordance with law.

Article 27: Foreign NGO representative offices hiring employees in mainland China shall follow laws and administrative regulations, and report information on employed personnel to the professional supervisory units and registration management organs.

Article 28: Foreign NGO representative offices and foreign NGOs carrying out temporary activities must not develop membership within mainland China, except as provided by the State Council.

Article 29: Foreign NGO representative offices shall establish a chief representative, and may establish 1-3 representatives as required for operations.

Those with any of the following situations must not serve as chief representatives or representatives:

(1) Persons lacking or having limited civil capacity;

(2) Those with a criminal record;

(3) Chief representatives or representatives of representative offices that have been de-registered or had registration certificates cancelled within the last 5 years;

(4) Other situations provided for by law or administrative regulations.

Article 30: Foreign NGOs carrying out temporary activities shall carry out activities using the name on their filings.

Foreign NGOs and Chinese Partner Units shall send written reports to the registration management organs, on areas such as the state of activities and the use of funds, within 30 days of concluding temporary activities.

Article 31:Foreign NGO representative offices shall file annual work reports to professional supervisory units before January 31 each year, and after the professional supervisory units issue comments, send the reports to the registration management organs before March 31 for annual inspections.

Annual work reports shall include content such as audited financial accounting reports, and reports on the situation of activities as well as personnel or institutional changes.

Foreign NGO representative offices shall publicly disclose their annual work reports on the registration management organs' unified website.

Article 32: Units and individuals in mainland China must not accept retention, funding, agency, or covert agency to carry out foreign NGOs' activities in mainland China, from foreign NGOs that have not registered a representative office or filed to carry out temporary activities.

  Chapter IV: Facilitation Measures

Article 33: The State safeguards and supports foreign NGOs in the lawfully carrying out of activities within mainland China. Relevant departments of all levels of people’s governments shall provide necessary facilitation and services for foreign NGOs to lawfully carry out activities in mainland China.

Article 34: The public security department under the State Council and public security organs of provincial level people's governments, together with relevant departments, will draft catalogs of foreign NGOs' activity areas and projects, and publish a list of professional supervisory units, in order to provide guidance to overseas NGOs carrying out activities.

Article 35: Relevant people's government organs at the county level or above shall provide foreign NGOs with policy consultation and activity guidance services in accordance with law.

Registration management organs shall use a unified website to publish information on the procedures for applying to establish a representative office or for filing temporary activities, for foreign NGOs' reference.

Article 36: Foreign NGO representative offices enjoy tax and other policy benefits in accordance with law.

Article 37: Fees must not be collected for conducting annual inspections of foreign NGO representative offices.

Article 38: The chief representative and other representatives that are foreign employees of foreign NGO representative offices may use the organization's registration certificate, documents proving the representative's status, and other materials to process employment and work permits in accordance with law.

  Chapter V: Supervision and Management

Article 39: Foreign NGOs carrying out activities within mainland China shall accept supervision and management by the public security organs, relevant departments, and professional supervisory units.

Article 40:Professional supervisory units are responsible for submitting comments on foreign NGOs' establishment of representative offices, modification of registration matters, and annual work reports; for guiding and supervising the lawful carrying out of activities by foreign NGOs and their representative offices; and assisting the public security organs and other departments in investigating and handling illegal conduct by foreign NGOs and their representative offices.

Article 41:Public security organs are responsible for the registration of foreign NGO representative offices, annual inspections, and filing of temporary activities by foreign NGOs; and for the investigation and handling of illegal conduct by foreign NGOs and their representative offices.

Where public security organs performing their supervisory and management duties discover conduct suspected of violating provisions of this Law, they may take the following measures in accordance with law:

(1) Interview the chief representative and other responsible persons from the foreign NGO representative offices;

(2) Enter the foreign NGOs' domicile and activity regions within mainland China to conduct on-site inspections;

(3) Question units and individuals related to the matters being investigated, and request they explain these matters;

(4) Examine and reproduce documents or materials related to the matters being investigated, and seal documents or materials that might be removed, destroyed, concealed or tampered with;

(5) Seal or seize venues, facilities, or assets suspected of being involved in illegal activities.

Article 42:Public security organs may make inquiries into bank accounts of units or individuals related to the matter being investigated, and related financial institutions and financial oversight and management organizations shall cooperate. With approval of the responsible party for public security organs of people's governments at the districted-city level or above, people's courts may be requested to freeze bank account funds related to suspected crimes in accordance with provisions on employing freezing measures in the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China.

Article 43:Departments such as those for national security, foreign affairs, finance, financial oversight, customs, tax, and foreign experts are to conduct oversight and management of foreign NGOs and their representative offices in accordance with the scope of their duties and relevant laws.

Article 44:The administrative department for countering money-laundering under the State Council lawfully conducts supervision and management of the opening and use of bank accounts by foreign NGOs, Chinese Partner Units, and also of units or individuals in mainland China who receive funds from foreign NGOs, for compliance with legal provisions against money-laundering and against financing terrorism.

  Chapter VI: Legal Responsibility

Article 45:In any of the following circumstances, foreign NGO representative offices or foreign NGOs carrying out temporary activities and Chinese Partner Units will be given warnings or be ordered to suspend activities for a given period by the public security organs of people's governments at the districted-city level and above, have illegal assets or unlawful gains confiscated; where the circumstances are serious, their registration certificate or temporary activity permit documents will also be withdrawn by the registration management organs and the temporary activities shut down:

(1) Where modifications of relevant matters in registration or filings were not completed as provided;

(2) Where the name on the registration or filings, the scope of operations, or the activity region were not followed in carrying out activities;

(3) Where for-profit activities were engaged in or funded, fundraising was carried out, or membership was developed in violation of provisions;

(4) Where provisions were violated to obtain or use funds, where provisions were not followed to open and use a bank account or to conduct audits;

(5) Where provisions were not followed in reporting an annual work plan, or in reporting or disclosing annual work reports;

(6) Where supervision and inspections were refused or not accepted as provided.

Where the representative offices of foreign NGOs, foreign NGOs' carrying out temporary activities, or Chinese Partner Units use illegal methods such as providing false information to obtain registration certificates for representative offices or file for carrying out temporary activities; or where there are acts of counterfeiting, altering, buying and selling, renting, or loaning registration certificates or seals, punishment is given in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

Article 46:In any of the following circumstances, public security organs for people's governments at the districted-city level or above will shut down illegal conduct or order it stopped; confiscate illegally obtained property and unlawful gains; give directly responsible personnel warnings, and where the circumstances are serious, detain them for up to 10 days:

(1) Carrying out activities in the name of a foreign NGO representative office or foreign NGO that has not registered or filed;

(2) Carrying out activities in the name of a foreign NGO representative office after it is de-registered, or has had its registration certificate revoked or cancelled;

(3) Carrying out activities within mainland China after a foreign NGO's temporary activity period has ended or its temporary activities have been shut down.

(4) Foreign NGOs that have not registered a representative office or filed for temporary activities, retaining or funding units or individuals within mainland China to carry out activities in mainland China.

Where units and individuals in mainland China clearly know a foreign NGO has not registered or filed for temporary activities, and cooperate with them or accept their retention or funding, or act as their agent or covert agent to carry out activities for them or accept and spend funds for a project, punishment is to be given according to the preceding paragraph.

Article 47:Where foreign NGOs or foreign NGO representative offices have any of the following circumstances, the registration management organs will cancel their registration certificates or shut down temporary activities; where a crime is not constituted, the public security organs for people's governments at the districted-city level and above will detain the persons who are directly in charge and other directly responsible personnel for up to 15 days; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law:

(1) Inciting resistance to the implementation of laws and regulations;

(2) Illegally obtaining state secrets;

(3) Creating rumors, engaging in defamation, or the publication or dissemination of other harmful information that endangers state security or damages the national interest;

(4) Engaging in or funding political activities or illegal religious activities;

(5) Other situations that endanger state security or damage the national or public interest.

Where foreign NGOs or foreign NGO representative offices exhibit criminal conduct such as separatism, undermining national unity, or subverting national sovereignty, the registration management organs are to enact punishment in accordance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph, and pursue criminal responsibility of the directly responsible personnel in accordance with law.

Article 48:Foreign NGOs and foreign NGO representative offices that have been de-registered, had their registration certificate cancelled or had temporary activities shut down for violations of this Law, must not apply again to set up representative offices in mainland China or carry out temporary activities for 5 years from the date of de-registration, cancellation, or shutting down.

Foreign NGOs that carry out activities without registering representative offices or filing temporary activities must not again set up representative offices or carry out temporary activities in mainland China for 5 years from the date on which activities are shut down.

Foreign NGOs having any of the circumstances provided for in Article 47 of this Law, may be entered onto an unwelcome list by the public security department under the State Council and must not again establish representative offices or carry out temporary activities within mainland China.

Article 49: Where foreign NGO representative offices are ordered to temporarily stop activities, registration management organs are to seal their registration certificates, seals, and financial proofs. Where registration certificates have been revoked, the registration management organs will collect their registration certificates and seals and publicly announce them void.

Article 50: When foreign persons violate this law, relevant organs may lawfully order them to leave the country within a given period of time, deport them, or expel them.

Article 51:Where, in performing supervision and management of foreign NGOs, the public security organs, relevant departments, professional supervisory units, or their staffs do not perform their duties or abuse their powers of office, derelict their duties, or use their office to obtain benefits, criminal responsibility will be pursued in accordance with law.

Article 52: Where violations of provisions of this Law constitute a violation of public security administration, the public security organs will give public security administrative sanctions in accordance with law; where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law.

  Chapter VII: Supplementary Provisions

Article 53:Where foreign schools, hospitals, natural science and engineering technology research institutions or academic organizations carry out exchanges or cooperation with mainland Chinese schools, hospitals, natural science and engineering technology research institutions or academic organizations, it is handled according to the relevant national provisions.

Where activities carried out within mainland China by foreign schools, hospitals, institutions and organizations specified in the preceding paragraph violate Article 5 of this Law, legal responsibility is pursued in accordance with law.

Article 54: This Law takes effect January 1, 2017.

 

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5 Comments

  1. A lot of English typos (e.g., “managment” in the title). Might want to run it through a spell-check so commenters don’t have to spend time on those problems.

  2. Hi Jeremy et al, thanks so much for this quick translation. Article 2 of the Chinese includes the word “等” after 智库 机构 so perhaps the translation should say “and other organizations” after “think tank.” Ira

    • I often use a “such as” at the beginning of a list like this to indicate its non-exclusive nature. Do you think that’s inadequate?

  3. “Such as” may be too narrow. It implies that the scope is limited to organizations similar to those listed. But 等 doesn’t necessarily carry that connotation. Basically, it just means “etc.”. Ira’s wording would be better.

    • I agree 100% with your Chinese that a 等 is equivelant to an etc., but have a different linguistic and legal interpretation of what ‘etc.’ means. To me an etc. very much implies that the unspecified items will share traits with the listed exemplars, indicating that the list is not exclusive. For example in the sentence: “The dress is available in an number of styles: blue, green, red, etc.” ; I wouldn’t assume that the etc. contains the styles of ‘sleeveless’ or ‘strapless’, but might assume it includes ‘yellow’ and ‘black’.
      Functionally, “etc.”, “and so forth”, and “such as” all play the same role.

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