NGOs Nest in Never-never Land
Global Times reports on the challenges facing international NGOs trying to register in China. It starts off by interviewing a Chinese employee of an American NGO:
Registering a foreigner was the least of his problems during the debilitating process of trying to found an international NGO on the Chinese mainland, according to Zhang.
“Registering as an international NGO was far more troublesome than one could ever imagine,” says Zhang.
“It took us two months just to prepare our registration materials and that all amounted to nothing in the end.”
From December 2007 to March 2008, Zhang and one of his American bosses, Casey Wilson, sat and waited for news of their registration application. Finally, they got the word.
The article also discusses how the lack of an effective law governing NGOs in China results in many groups existing in legal limbo:
The law just covers the management of representative offices of international foundations running as NGOs, but what about all the non-fund-related organizations?”
The Global Times pops the exact same question to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
“This issue is very sensitive and officials in the service center for NGOs have said they will choose the right time to talk about this issue – but that’s not now,” says a ministry public relations official surnamed Xia.
In the meantime, the vast majority of international NGOs working on the mainland must continue to reside in a state of legal limbo.