April 8, 2010
Over the last month, a number of events have transpired that suggest an effort by Chinese authorities to better regulate (some might say "control" or "restrict") the NGO sector. In the next few posts, I'll be posting some of the offending notices/regulations and trying to make sense of what this all means for both Chinese and foreign NGOs in China.
Just to summarize these events, the earliest was a Notice issued by the Ministry of Education's Party Committee calling on Chinese universities to prevent the international NGO, Oxfam Hong Kong, from recruiting student volunteers for its projects around China. This was followed by a Notice from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) that required domestic institutions (not just NGOs or nonprofits, but also enterprises, though government organizations, mass organizations and a number of GONGOs appear to be exempted) to provide documentation verifying the nonprofit nature of any foreign donations they received. Then, there was Beijing University's disassociation with the Beijing University Women's Law Studies and Legal Aid Center which will no longer be able to attach itself to BeiDa's Law School, and will have to find a new home. Finally, and most recently, the NGOCN website was closed down with very little explanation.
In the next few posts, I'll provide more information about each of these events, and speculate on whether we're seeing a chill descend on NGOs in China.