China: Provincial Directories Gradually Released For Overseas NGOs: List Of Activity Fields, Project Catalog, And Relevant Regulatory Departments

Last Updated: 26 January 2017
Article by Jiangang Sun

The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in the People's Republic of China (the "Overseas NGO Management Law"), which have received much attention from Overseas Non-governmental organizations (the "Overseas NGOs"), came into effect on January 1, 2017. 

The Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China has recently released the Service and Management Platform for Overseas NGOs ( (the "Website of the Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs"), following the promulgation of the Guidelines for the Registration of Representative Offices, and for Filing Record of Temporary Activities, of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations (the "Guidelines") and the Directories of the List of Activity Fields, the Project Catalog, and the Relevant Regulatory Departments for Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations (2017) (the "National Directories").

The Website of Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs aims to provide nationwide guidance for the management of Overseas NGOs, enhancing the communication between Overseas NGOs and Administrative Offices. If an Overseas NGO and/or its Chinese partner needs to conduct some registration or filing in accordance with the Overseas NGO Management Law, (such as registering for representative office, filing record of temporary activities or annual activity plans, applying for annual reviews, de-registration, etc.), they shall first complete the online registration and inquiry via the Website of the Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs, before they submit the physical application materials to the competent administrative office.

At the same time, some Provincial Directories of the List of Activity Fields, the Project Catalog, and the Relevant Regulatory Departments for Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations (the "Provincial Directories")1 have been gradually released along with their relevant administrative websites. As the two pilot cities designated by the Ministry of Public Security, Shanghai and Shenzhen have taken the lead in promoting the implementation of the Overseas NGO Management Law, and their experience may be later replicated in other provinces.

1. Shanghai Directories and the Website of Shanghai Administrative Office

The Shanghai Directories of the List of Activity Fields, Project Catalog, and Relevant Regulatory Departments for Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations (the "Shanghai Directories") were published by the Shanghai municipal government on December 29, 2016. The Shanghai Directories have specified and added some activities and projects in accordance with local practices in Shanghai. For instance, Shanghai Directories further specify the nature of projects related to "research on the management of urban public transport" to include "research on the financing, construction, management, operation and security of the public transport". In addition, it further specifies projects related to "exchanges and cooperation of the press and publication" by including a subcategory for "copyright of press and publications". As for the competent authorities, Shanghai Directories clarify the corresponding professional supervisory authorities in Shanghai, which basically follows the provisions of the National Directories.

Meanwhile, the Official Website of Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs of Shanghai Public Security Bureau ( (the "Website of the Shanghai Administrative Office") has recently launched.  The new Website of the Shanghai Administrative Office provides several convenient components, such as Guidelines, Downloads, FAQs, Information Announcements, etc., which provide more detailed guidance and added convenience for Overseas NGOs. The website also releases to the public the information related to the establishment, annual review, deregistration, etc. of the Overseas NGOs' representative offices in Shanghai. The Shanghai Administrative Office also provides its address (No.1500 Minsheng Road, Pudong New Distract, Shanghai) and hotline (021-28951709) on the website, and is open for public consultations.

2. Guangdong Directory and the Website of Guangdong Administrative Office

Guangdong Province also published their Directories of List of Activity Fields, Project Catalog, and Relevant Regulatory Departmetns for Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in Guangdong (2017) (the "Guangdong Directories"). The Guangdong Directories are generally consistent with the National Directories with respect to permissible areas and projects, and lists the corresponding provincial supervisory authorities in Guangdong.

The Website of the Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs of Guangdong ( ("Website of the Guangdong Administrative Office") has recently launched. The website offers information such as office hours (The Website of the Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs of Guangdong ( ("Website of the Guangdong Administrative Office") has recently launched. The website offers information such as office hours (9:00-11:30 and The Website of the Administrative Office of Overseas NGOs of Guangdong ( ("Website of the Guangdong Administrative Office") has recently launched. The website offers information such as office hours (9:00-11:30 and 14:00-17:00), address (2F of Entry & Exit Administration Building of Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department, No. 698 East Dongfeng Road, Guangzhou) and phone numbers (020-83110165 and 020-83922841).  The service window at the Guangdong Administrative Office opened on January 3, 2017.

In addition to Shanghai and Guangdong, other provinces and provincial cities, such as Jiangsu and Beijing, have released their own Provincial Directories as well.  It is expected that provincial administrative offices of Overseas NGOs will soon be busy over the next several months with registrations, record-filings and consultations for Overseas NGOs in China. We predict that provincial authorities will likely take the strategy of "generous in guiding and correcting, while conservative in imposing punishments", so as to gradually shepherd Overseas NGOs in the right direction and achieve a smooth transition. 

As for further supporting documentation and clarifications, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.


1. According to the national Directories, the public security bureau under provincial government is authorized to publish the Provincial Directories in accordance with local practices and in relation to the National Directories.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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