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Foreign HEIs exempt from China’s NGO law

International universities will not be affected under China’s new law exerting security controls on foreign non­governmental organisations, said the country’s Ministry of Public Security in a meeting with the European Chamber of Commerce.

Maggie Xie, European Chamber Beijing Chapter general manager and head of government affairs, meets with Hao Yunhong, deputy director general of the NGO management office at MPS in Beijing. Photo: The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

The law is to better serve them and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, he said.

Hao Yunhong, deputy director general of the NGO management office at MPS, told the Chamber in Beijing that a foreign university coming to China to recruit students will not be required to comply with the law, which comes into effect on 1 January 2017.

“These activities are not subject to the NGO law, as they are subject to MOE regulations”

“Foreign universities may engage in recruiting activities in China through overseas study agencies that have a license from the Ministry of Education,” said Hao. “These activities are not subject to the NGO law, as they are subject to MOE regulations.”

The comments came after Maggie Xie, general manager and head of government affairs of European Chamber’s Beijing Chapter, briefed the Ministry on growing member concerns over the implementation of the new bill, which authorises police to ban any group found to have violated the regulations.

The law, entitled ‘Management of Foreign Non­Government Organizations Activities in China’, stipulates that all foreign NGOs must register with public security officials to continue their operations.

It also states that foreign schools, hospitals, natural science and engineering research organisations or academic organisations are not subject to the law when they are conducting exchanges with Chinese counterparts.

However, they must refrain from engaging in political or religious activities, or acting in a way that damages China’s national security or unity, according to the outline of the law now available on the MPS website.

Despite the restrictions, Hao said Beijing welcomes overseas NGOs to work in China for “the benefit of economic development” and “people’s welfare”. The law is to better serve them and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, he said.

There are over 7,000 foreign NGOs currently operating in China.

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One Response to Foreign HEIs exempt from China’s NGO law

  1. The title of this story is misleading.

    The minister approved only a very narrow scope of activity (recruiting through onshore agents) that was hardly in doubt before.

    The law itself had already excluded foreign HEI academic and research collaborations with like Chinese institutions.

    But the Minister’s quote above does not address other areas potentially restricted by the law, including: foreign HEI-owned representative offices and WFOEs carrying out recruiting and liaison and other functions in China; foreign HEI commercial licensing and collaborations with PRC corporates.

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