Chinese Official Suggests NGO Registration Requirements to be Relaxed

October 18, 2004

According to the Beijing News, Qiao Shenqian, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) Registration Service Center, suggested the possible elimination of the regulatory requirement that Chinese NGOs find an approved government or Party sponsor organization to legally register. Qiao made the comment at a recent international conference on the development of Chinese civil society. He noted that a precise date for the elimination of the requirement cannot be set, but "its elimination is imperative," and expressed hope that this would be carried out "in the not-too-distant future." As the Congressional-Executive Commission on China has noted in its 2004 Annual Report, the sponsor organization requirement remains a continued obstacle to the further development of an independent civil society in China. Party and government sponsors have responsibility for annually reviewing NGO work, which often limits the type and extent of activities Chinese NGOs may engage in. NGOs who are unable or unwilling to find a sponsor must either register as corporations, and bear the associated tax and financial burdens, or operate as completely unregistered organizations, risking administrative and criminal penalties.