September 14th, 2010 | Global Times NGOs’ ambiguous status in China
In China, non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, refer to themselves as a “third department”, different from government and companies, and this means that they have an ambiguous status, with many of them having no legal identity. That’s according to Sun Weilin, the director of the Nongovernmental Organizations Management Bureau.
In recent years, the number of NGOs in China has greatly increased, but there is not an adequate management system for their registration, which has led some of the organizations to either abandon their operations, or operate illegally.
NGOs in China can be divided into two basic types – one type is the result of reform of government departments and the other type of NGOs were established by financial groups or grassroots organizations.
According to current regulations, the NGO’s registration requires a supervising organization that is expected to be responsible for the operation of the NGO. The supervising organization will not make much profit but may encounter troubles. Therefore, it is difficult to find one for many NGOs in China. The NGOs would be seen as illegal without the organization.
NGOs play a very important role in China. For example, more than 400 NGOs are involved in work concerning the prevention and control of AIDS. And, following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, many NGOs were active in collecting funds and supplies, providing psychological help, and taking part in the reconstruction work.