Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Hokey-Cokey in State Intervention or a Breakthrough for Chinese NGOs?

Just as the Party’s central leadership is gearing up for its 19th National Congress, a new document, which falls right at the top of the policy hierarchy, has prompted a flurry of excited discussion in the NGO sector.

The document acts as a guide to major reforms intended for the institutions currently in place to regulate NGOs and promises to help the sector develop in a ‘healthy’ way. NGOs, it tells us, will be encouraged to play a role in dispute mediation and to develop innovative new models of social governance. When it comes to the provision of public services, the document lists broad areas where priority will go to NGOs in government procurement. And they won’t be staying at home either. A section on ‘standardizing the foreign-related activities of NGOs’ tells us China’s own NGOs will be encouraged to participate in international non-governmental organizations and in ‘developing international rules and standards.’ The document covers everything from the major expansion of community-based NGOs to the delinking of chambers of commerce from government, and lists the responsibilities of different government ministries from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security in helping this vast project in NGO development happen.

But at the heart of the debate that has filled the WeChat accounts of NGO experts over the last few days is what this document means for the autonomy of NGO actors. One thing the document promises is to create, by 2020, a ‘Chinese-style’ NGO regulatory system which will allow for NGOs that are ‘separate from government,’ in a system where ‘powers and obligations are clear, and autonomy is practiced in accordance with the law.’ It tells us that these reforms will help straighten out relations between government, market, and society. This statement alone, by its very utterance, suggests the enormity of this document, treating as it does NGOs as a bona fide part of the make-up of the country. This, in the context of a China where society was almost entirely subsumed by the government for decades, is cause for optimism.

The document goes into quite some detail as to how most NGOs will be able to secure status as legal person entities and enjoy preferential tax policies through procedures that are to be simplified. This breaks down formidable institutional barriers that had previously prevented NGOs from gaining legal status. For most NGOs, there will no longer be the need for a government organ or a government entrusted body to act as ‘supervisory agency,’ which used to be one of the basic criteria for an NGO to achieve legal status. This will cut down significantly on government meddling in NGO business. The document also aims to stop officials from taking up positions in or establishing their own quasi-NGOs, and demands that any official in active service already holding a concurrent position as an NGO director must resign from one or the other position within the next six months.

But here’s the most puzzling part: why would the leadership want to encourage the development of a sector of autonomous NGOs when its apparent worries about autonomous activism have recently been leading to crackdowns on groups like civil rights lawyers? The answer to this seems to be that the Party has by now realized that anything short of a level of suppression unseen in recent years will not stem the tide of NGO development and that the best thing to do about this is to make like this development was the plan all along. This enables the state to enjoy credit for its wise move in supporting the sector, hence in the opening of this document it claims: ‘since the beginning of reform and opening, with the significant attention and support of all levels of Party committees and government, China’s NGOs have been constantly developing, and have played a positive role in promoting economic development and helping social causes prosper.’ The development of NGOs can also help the government to pass the responsibility for all the things it can’t do properly, like providing quality public services, to someone else. And NGOs are already, as suggested in the document, beginning to help the state address the need for a complete overhaul in China’s model of governance.

So is the leadership really encouraging the development of an enormous army of autonomous NGOs, phasing out Party and government interference in their operations? Or is it simply moving one form of intervention out and sticking a different one back in? It seems there may be a little of both. Certainly genuine measures are already being put in place to build a modern sector of relatively independent NGOs that can access the resources and build the capacity to achieve the roles the authorities foresee for them. But the document also makes clear the intention is to consolidate and expand the foundations of the CPC’s position as governing party. NGOs with three or more Party members will continue to be expected to have an internal Party organization, and there is a whole section within the ten-part document dedicated to ‘strengthening Party leadership over the work of NGOs.’ It remains to be seen whether in practice this means NGOs will be playing a much more independent role or whether the Party will encroach so much on their business that they will simply become new vehicles for control. The latter is unlikely, although there will continue to be an element of Party ‘guidance’ in the sector.

But what this document does tell us unequivocally is that the central leadership is paying close attention to the development of China’s NGO sector and will continue to do so in the years to come.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Parts 6-10 Translation of Major Policy Document on Reform of Social Organisation Management System

6. Strict Management and Oversight

1.     Strengthening management of social organization founders. Civil affairs departments must work in conjunction with relevant departments to establish management systems for the holding of office of, formal talking to, issuance of warnings to, ordered change of, and prohibiting of activities of persons responsible for social organizations, and implement a system for the auditing of legal representatives leaving office. We will establish records of the negative behavior of responsible persons, strengthening holding the people responsible for social organizations to account for mistakes, and in the instance of serious violations, order the change of persons and hold them to account in accordance with laws and regulations. We will implement a system of public notification prior to a person taking office to become responsible for a social organization, and a system of reporting on the duties of legally responsible persons.

2.     Strengthening oversight of social organization funds. We will establish fund oversight mechanisms led by civil affairs departments and participated in by treasury, taxation, auditing, financing, and security departments and agencies, practice the sharing of information on administration of law, and strengthen risk assessment and early warnings. Civil affairs and treasury departments must prompt social organizations to develop sound internally operated management mechanisms, strictly implement state systems related to financial auditing and the use of receipts, and put into action systems for ensuring the transparency of social organizations’ financial information and auditing by certified public accountants. 
Treasury departments must strengthen their oversight of and inspections into the situation as regards the implementation by social organizations of policy related to public funds, financial affairs, and auditing; on discovering problems they must issue punishments in accordance with law, and promptly report the matter to civil affairs departments. Tax departments must prompt social organizations to register for tax purposes in accordance with the law, for those social organizations that have not registered with taxation agencies, they must see tax registration procedures are completed within six months of the release of this Opinion; they must strengthen oversight of the non-profit nature of social organizations, undertaking strict examination to see that they fulfil the criteria for enjoying preferential tax policies for non-profit organizations, and implement a system whereby non-profit income is not taxed but reported and tax is paid on operational income in accordance with the law; they must strengthen tax auditing of social organizations, and in the instance that an organization is in violation by operating for-profit activities, their tax exempt status shall, in accordance with law, be revoked, and it shall be reported to the relevant departments such that the person responsible for the social organization may be punished according to law. Auditing bodies must carry out auditing and oversight over social organizations’ income and expenditure and management and use of state assets. 
Financial management departments must strengthen oversight of the bank accounts of social organizations, and monitoring over the incoming and outgoing of funds, particularly in the case of large sums of payments in cash, and must protect against and crack down on money laundering, the funding of terrorism and other illegal and criminal activities. The Bank of China must work in conjunction with the Ministry of Civil Affairs to step up the pace of research on the incorporation of social organizations into anti-money laundering regulatory systems.  

3.     Strengthening management of social organizations’ activities. Governments at all levels and relevant departments must, according to their functions, work on the basis of a division of labor to strengthen management of social organizations’ internal governance, activities in their respective fields of operation, and overseas exchanges. Civil affairs departments must use methods such as inspections and evaluations to carry out oversight in accordance with the law over social organizations’ responsible persons, funds, activities, information transparency, their implementation of their charters, and so on; establish databases of social organizations which present with suspect behavior and blacklists; strengthen coordination and joint action with relevant departments, linking the genuine performance of social organizations with the tax exemptions they enjoy, the functions they take over in the transformation of government functions and their provision of government-purchased services.  Civil affairs departments must work in conjunction with relevant departments to establish systems for joint administration of law, to strictly investigate and punish behavior in violation of laws and regulations, and to act in accordance with the law to close down all types of illegal social organizations that have not registered. Organizations that have been closed down but continue to operate illegally as social organizations, must be dealt with by public security organs in accordance with the law. Industry management departments must incorporate social organizations into the management for that industry; strengthen guidance and oversight over their activities related to that industry; guide the healthy development of social organizations; cooperate with registration and management agencies as they undertake the review and approval of registration for social organizations in their sector; and assist registration and management agencies and other relevant departments in carrying out investigations and deal with the illegal activities of social organizations and illegal social organizations within their sector. Foreign affairs, public security, pricing, and human resources and social security departments must carry out their oversight duties over items and matters relating to social organizations within their fields, investigate and handle in accordance with law violations of laws and regulations, and promptly report such matters to civil affairs departments. Professional supervisory agencies of social organizations subject to dual management, must genuinely and effectively take on their duties as regards items including the thinking and politics, Party building, financial and human resource management, research and related activities, overseas exchanges, and the receipt of overseas donations and funding of the social organizations under their supervision and their carrying out activities in line with their charters; they must organize annual item-specific checks on randomly selected social organizations; and they must assist relevant departments in investigating and handling behavior of social organizations in violation of laws and regulations, supervise, urge, and offer guidance to social organizations with chaotic internal management to put this right, and organize and guide social organizations in dealing with such problems.   

4.     Standardizing the management of directly registered social organizations. The overall oversight and management, and Party building, foreign related matters, human resource services and so on of directly registered social organizations including industry associations and chambers of commerce, science and technology organizations, public benefit and charitable organizations and urban and rural community service organizations, will be carried out with reference to and following the “Overall Plan for Delinking Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce from Government Agencies” and accompanying policies; the principle of “whomever is the supervisory agency is the one that is responsible” will be implemented; and effective measures must be taken to exercise stronger oversight both during and after the handling of matters.
For those social organizations including science and technology organizations, public benefit and charitable organizations, and rural and urban community service organizations that have already been established, we will adopt the principle of cautiously moving forward, and steadily carrying out the transition, using piloting to gradually undertake management according to the management methods for directly registered social organizations. The Ministry of Civil Affairs must work in conjunction with relevant departments to develop a plan for carrying out piloting in national level social organizations, and will be responsible for the organization and implementation. Piloting work related to local level social organizations, will, under the unified leadership of provincial (or autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government) Party committees and governments, be the responsibility of civil affairs departments to organize and implement, and plans for piloting are to be researched and designed on the basis of local circumstances. Those localities where conditions allow can explore development on the principle of multiple organizations operating in the same field. Those localities that have already undertaken piloting work must take further steps to improve on this work in line with the spirit of this Opinion.  

5.     Strengthening social oversight. We encourage and support the news media and the public to engage in oversight of social organizations. The Ministry of Civil Affairs must work in conjunction with the relevant departments to develop and implement information transparency measures for each type of social organization; explore how to establish annual reporting systems for social organizations; and standardize the content of information to be made public, and mechanisms and methods of doing so, thus improving transparency; explore how to establish professional, non-governmental third-party oversight mechanisms, and build sound social organization third-party evaluation mechanisms, ensuring the information from evaluations is made publically available, the procedures used are fair, and the results are just; and establish mechanisms for taking, dealing with, and encouraging complaints against social organizations which behave in violation of laws and regulations and illegal social organizations, and notify the public in accordance with the law of the situation as regards administrative punishment and closures.  

6.     Building sound mechanisms for terminating the operations of social organizations. 
In the instance that a social organization is in serious contravention of relevant state laws and regulations, its certificate of registration will be revoked in accordance with the law; in the instance of a social organization having registered on the basis of falsified information, its registration will be revoked; in the case of illegal social organizations that have not gained approval and are acting without authorization in the name of social organizations to engage in activities, they will be closed down in accordance with the law. The social organization liquidation and cancellation system will be improved, ensuring that the assets of social organizations are not misappropriated, divided privately, or embezzled.  

7. Standardizing the foreign-related activities of social organizations

We will guide social organizations in launching, in a well-ordered manner, foreign exchanges, participating in non-governmental international organizations, and participating in developing international standards and rules, giving play to the assisting and cooperative role of social organizations in economic, cultural, science and technology, sports and other foreign exchanges, and to their role as important platforms in foreign non-governmental exchanges. We will improve the related registration and management systems, proactively participate in newly established international social organizations, and support the establishment of international social organizations, in service of the development of a new open economy. In the instance that the work of an organization genuinely requires it to establish a branch (or representative) organization overseas, it must go through its professional supervisory agency or the agency responsible for managing its foreign affairs for approval. In the instance that a Party or government official has a genuine need to join, in a private capacity, a foreign specialist or academic organization or take on relevant duties at such an organization, this should be submitted for approval according to the body with jurisdiction over the official and the relevant regulations.   

 8. Strengthening Social Organizations’ Own Development

1.     Building sound social organization legal person governance structures. Model charters will be developed targeted at different types of social organizations and their particular characteristics. Social organizations must, in accordance with legislation and policies and their charters, establish sound institutional arrangements for legal person governance structures, operational mechanisms, and for Party organizations to participate in decision making on major issues within the social organization; improve their systems related to members’ meetings (or member representatives’ meetings), boards of directors and boards of supervisors; implement democratic elections, democratic decision making, and democratic management; build sound internal oversight mechanisms; and build themselves into legal person entities in which powers and responsibilities are clear, operations are coordinated, and checks and balances are effective, enabling them to independently shoulder their legal responsibilities. We will give impetus to social organizations establishing internal dispute mediation mechanisms, put into effect social organization people’s mediation systems, and guide parties involved to solve disputes in accordance with the law using legal channels.   

2.     Giving full play to the principal role of Party organizations and the exemplary role of Party members. Party organizations in social organizations must focus their work firmly on the fundamental duties for grassroots Party organizations entrusted to them in the CPC Constitution, uniting people, and ensuring the right political orientation of social organizations; must put forward their opinions on major decision making matters of the social organization, on important activities in the social organization’s field, on expenditures involving large sums, on the receipt of large donations, and on the undertaking of foreign related activities, and so on; and must strengthen guidance over Party building in branches of social organizations; and in branch organizations where conditions allow must urge the establishment of a Party organization. As regards national or transregional social organizations that are not based in Beijing or have established branch organizations, with the exception of those that, in accordance with relevant regulations, are to have their Party leadership strengthened by Party organs of bodies directly under the central Party, Party organs of central government agencies, or the Party Committee of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, Party committees in the locality in which main organizations or branch organizations are based should, according to the requirement for vertical and horizontal integration, strengthen day-to-day guidance and oversight by Party organizations over the social organization and its branch organizations.  Secretaries of Party organizations within social organizations are, ordinarily, chosen internally within the social organization; we recommend that persons responsible for social organizations who are Party members act as the secretaries of the Party organizations. In the instance that a social organization is relatively large in scale, has a large number of members, or has no suitable candidate to become the Party secretary of the Party organization, a higher level Party organization may, according to regulations, select and appoint the Party secretary. We will proactively launch activities related to Party member pioneering positions, Party member responsibility areas, and Party member public promises. We will give attention to cultivating and developing new Party members amongst persons responsible for social organization, the management teams of social organizations, and their core professional technical staff. We will persevere in using Party building to help promote the development of people’s organizations, giving impetus to the establishment of labor unions, Communist Youth League organizations, and women’s federation organizations in those social organizations where conditions permit. We will support labor unions in representing workers to oversee the implementation of relevant laws, regulations and policies by social organizations.            

3.     Strengthening efforts to build social organization honesty and self-regulation. We will drive forward the development of a system of pledges of honesty by social organizations, and establish mechanisms for different industries to reward honesty and discipline dishonesty. We will support social organizations in establishing systems of standards for measuring social responsibility and for actively fulfilling social responsibilities. We will guide social organizations in establishing impact assessment mechanisms for their activities, and their prior reporting to relevant government departments on important matters that could potentially bring social risk. We will strengthen the sense among social organizations of the need to manage and serve; the establishment of organizations and development of memberships by social groups should be in keeping with their ability to manage and serve. We will explore the establishment in different fields of social organization industry-wide self-regulatory alliances, using different methods, such as issuing endorsements in the public interest, designing codes of conduct for activities, and putting into effect reputation-based evaluations, to guide and standardize the behavior of social organizations within the industry. We will standardize the behavior of social organizations as regards receipt of payments, strictly prohibiting the arbitrary collection of fees under fabricated pretexts, and effectively prevent against the phenomena of collecting fees but not providing the corresponding services or management.  

4.     Driving forward the separation of government and society in social organizations. We will support social organizations in practicing self-restriction and self-management, and give play to their role in providing services, reflecting demands, regulating behavior, and promoting harmony. We will implement the “Overall Plan for Delinking Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce from Government Agencies,” and prudently begin piloting delinking. With the exception of cases where there are specific provisions in legislation, government departments must not authorize or entrust social organizations to carry out government review and approval. For those items the State Council has determined are no longer to be subject to government review and approval, those departments formerly in charge of such review and approval must not, in any shape or form, appoint industry associations or chambers of commerce to continue to carry out review and approval. We will strictly implement the “General Office of the Central CPC Committee and the General Office of the State Council Notice on Not Permitting Officials from Party and Government Organs to Hold Concurrent Leadership Positions in Social Groups,” and the “Organization Department of the Central CPC Committee Notice on Creating Standards for Officials who have Retired from or Left their Posts Taking on Roles in Social Groups,” and strictly standardize the practice of public servants taking on positions as the leaders of social groups; in special cases when there is a genuine need for them to take up such roles, the case in question will be submitted to the body with jurisdiction over that public servant to undertake a strict process of approval, but ordinarily the holding of more than one such concurrent post will not be permitted. Those in active service as public officials may not take up concurrent posts as the directors of foundations or social service organizations, and in instances where a public servant in active service is already holding such a concurrent position, they must, within six months of the release of this Opinion, resign from their post as a public servant or resign from their duties at the social organization.  

9. Strengthening Party Leadership Over the Work of Social Organizations

1.     Improving leadership systems. All levels of Party committees and government must place the improvement of social organization management on their agendas of important tasks, and it will be incorporated in local Party committee and government performance assessments and in the test and assessment system for the comprehensive maintenance of law and order. Local Party committees and governments must establish and improve, research and make decisions on major issues and institutions regarding the work of social organizations; the standing committees of Party committees should periodically hear reports on the work of social organizations. Party organizations (Party committees) of each department must strengthen organizational leadership in their work relating to the management of social organizations; implement responsibility systems for Party building work; determine the provisions for management for their respective departments; ensure complete and strong forces are in place for such management; and work effectively to urge and oversee implementation. The central authorities will establish mechanisms for coordinating work on social organizations, and all local levels must establish corresponding mechanisms for carrying out overall coordination, planning, coordinating and guiding work on social organizations, and promptly studying and solving any problems that emerge in such work. We will attach importance to and strengthen the improvement of Party and government conduct and anti-corruption work relating to social organizations, and improve the mechanisms for punishing and preventing against social organization related corruption. 

2.     Driving forward effective coverage of social organizations by Party organizations and Party work. In accordance with the principle of where Party building should take place all efforts should be made to see it carried out, we will step up the intensity of Party building in social organizations, achieving complete coverage by Party organizations and Party work. In those social organizations where for the time being the right conditions are not in place for establishing Party organizations, persons may be selected and appointed to guide Party building work, or to act as liaison officers, or workers’ unions and Communist Youth League organizations may be established to carry out the work of the Party; when the right conditions are in place, Party organizations should promptly be established. When a new social organization is being established, where conditions permit, a Party organization should be established at the same time. With the approval of the Central Party Committee, important national social organizations may establish Party bodies. All relevant departments should, while carrying out work related to the registration, inspection, evaluation, and everyday oversight of social organizations, urge and prompt social organizations to promptly establish Party organizations and carry out Party work.  

3.     Strengthening the foundations for ensuring social organization Party building. We will give impetus to the establishment of multiple channels for and diverse forms of investment for putting in place the foundations to ensure Party building work, promote the sharing of resources and joint building and mutual encouragement between Party organizations in enterprises and public institutions, government agencies and sub-district offices and at community level, in counties, townships and villages and the Party organizations of social organizations, creating the right conditions for Party organizations to undertake their activities and play their roles. Based on realistic considerations, social organization Party organization secretaries and full-time staff working on Party matters should be given appropriate subsidies. We will strengthen efforts to educate the directors of social organizations of the politics and thinking of the Party, and guide them in proactively supporting Party building work. We will give impetus to the inclusion of Party building in the charters of social organizations. 

10. Proper Organization and Implementation

1. Working more quickly on the development of legislation. We will speed up work on amending and releasing the regulations on the registration and management of social groups, foundations, and non-governmental non-enterprise units. We will research and develop individual pieces of legislation on voluntary services, industry associations and chambers of commerce and so on. We will work faster to research and debate launching, in a timely manner, work on researching and drafting a social organization law. We will encourage and support those localities where conditions allow to introduce local regulations and local government charters based on the spirit of this Opinion.   

2. Strengthening capacity building for service and management. All relevant departments and all levels of local government must carry out management by providing services, strengthen the development of people capable of managing and serving social organizations, ensure that there are complete and strong forces in place for this work, to ensure that there are people to manage every matter and people to take responsibility for every duty. Civil affairs departments at every level, particularly at the county level, must have specific agencies for and people in charge of day-to-day work related to the registration and management of social organizations. We will focus particular attention on strengthening the ranks of those charged with administering the law, ensuring the funding for their work, making sure their services are carried out properly, their administration of the law stands up, and their oversight is effective. We will work more quickly to develop information systems for national social organization management and social organization credibility information management platforms, and give impetus to the development of databases of social organization legal persons, strengthening our capacity to oversee and serve social organizations.     

3. Strengthening promotion and guidance. We will make full use of publications, radio broadcasting, television, online and other media to broadly promote the positive role of social organizations participating in social development and governance; we will promptly summarize, communicate, and promote exemplary cases of work by social organizations; strengthen theoretical research on social organizations and the development of social organization culture; and strengthen public knowledge and understanding of social organizations, to create a positive social environment in which for social organization reform and development to take place.  

4. Ensuring supervisory work and implementation is carried out to good effect. Every provincial (or autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government) Party committee and government must, taking into account local context, develop local measures (opinions) for the concrete implementation of social organization management institutional reform, and must carry out related organizational and implementation work. Relevant departments must, in accordance with the requirements and divisions of labor set out in this Opinion, work quickly to develop and implement related complementary policies, measures, and detailed management regulations, and ensure work related to social organization reform that falls within their own systems is done to good effect. The Ministry of Civil Affairs must work in conjunction with relevant departments to oversee and inspect the enforcement of this Opinion, to ensure that all duties are put properly into effect. 

Part 5/10 Translation of Major New Policy Document on Reform of Social Organisation Management System

5. Dealing Properly, in Accordance with the Law, with Registration and Review of Social Organizations

1.     Prudently moving forward with direct registration. We will focus attention on cultivating and prioritizing the development of social organizations falling under the categories of industry associations and chambers of commerce, public interest and charitable organizations, and rural and urban community service organizations. Industry associations and chambers of commerce established in the spirit of the “Overall Plan for Delinking Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce from Government Agencies” may, in accordance with the law, apply to register directly with civil affairs departments. Science and technology social organizations that engage in research and exchanges in the natural sciences and engineering, as well as public benefit and charitable social organizations that provide services related to poverty alleviation, financial assistance for the poor, elderly care, care for orphans, support for the sick, assistance for people with disabilities, disaster relief, medical support, and support for education, may, in accordance with the law, apply to register directly with civil affairs departments. In order to meet the needs of residents in both urban and rural communities, community-based service organizations active in communities both in rural and urban areas may, in accordance with the law, apply to register directly with civil affairs departments. Civil affairs departments, on carrying out reviews for direct registration, should listen broadly to opinions and, as needed, solicit the opinions of relevant departments or organize for experts to undertake evaluations. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council must work quickly to amend administrative regulations such as the “Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Groups.” The Ministry of Civil Affairs must work in conjunction with relevant departments to develop, as quickly as possible, standards and detailed measures for the categorized direct registration of social organizations.  

2.     Improving the preliminary review function of professional supervisory agencies (yewu zhuguan danwei). For other social organizations that do not come within the scope of direct registration we will continue the use of a dual responsibility management system by both registration and management agencies and professional supervisory agencies. Professional supervisory agencies must build sound procedures for their work, improve the standards used in their reviews, and make effective efforts to strengthen their checks on the names, missions, scopes of activity, and founders of, and intended persons responsible for social organizations, supporting those social organizations that fulfil the criteria to be established in accordance with the law.  

3.     Implementing strict registration reviews by civil affairs departments. Civil affairs departments must work in conjunction with the management departments for different fields and industries and with relevant Party building bodies, to strengthen their reviews of the qualifications of the founders of and intended persons responsible for social organizations. For social organizations that are cross-sector, belong to more than one field or industry, or have broad scopes of activities and are not easy to place, working on the principle of having a clear, explicit, focused main area of work, name checks and examination and approval of an organization’s scope of activities must be strengthened, and the opinions of interested parties and management departments listened to. Social organizations are to be strictly prohibited from establishing relationships among themselves whereby one social organization has top-down leadership or covert top-down leadership over another social organization; social organizations are to be strictly prohibited from establishing local branch organizations. For national social groups, proper examination and approval must be carried out on the need for the organization, the representativeness of the founder, and the breadth of membership, and in the instance that an organization already exists working in a similar area, full deliberation must take place. For social organizations that carry out activities which go beyond the scope of one province (or autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government) they should be subject to the same strict review and approval as national social organizations.
4.     Strengthening the responsibility of social organization founders. The Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council shall work in conjunction with the Ministry of Civil Affairs to move forward with incorporating the qualifications, number, behavior, responsibilities, and so on, of social organization founders into the relevant administrative regulations to place them under regulation. Founders should be held responsible for the legality, authenticity, accuracy, and validity, of registration materials and for ensuring materials are complete; and should be responsible for the activities of the social organization prior to registration; and the main founder should be the first to take responsibility. We will establish records of the negative behavior of founders. Founders must not, in the name of intending to establish a social organization, launch unrelated activities; the issuance of information on preparatory work for establishing social organizations and fundraising information to unspecified persons is prohibited. Party and government officials who have not received approval may not found social organizations. In the instance that a person granted approval to act as a founder does not carry out their duties, the agency that issued approval must strictly hold them to account.   

Part 4/10 Translation of Major New Policy Document on Reform of Social Organisation Management System

 4. Improving Policies and Measures to Support the Development of     Social Organizations

1.     Supporting social organizations in providing public services. Integrating efforts with the transformation of government functions and the reform of administrative review and approval, using competitive means, we will pass on those practical management jobs and public services that are not suitable for government to carry out, and that are suited to provision by the market and society. We will gradually expand the scope and scale of government procurement of the services of social organizations, and for public service items that fall under the categories of safeguards for public wellbeing, social governance, industry regulation, and so on, in the instance that potential providers have the same capacity to provide, priority will be given to purchasing from social organizations. 

2.     Improving supportive policies related to public finance and taxation. The central treasury will continue to create special funds, and those localities where conditions allow may use the creation of special funds as a frame of reference, for supporting social organizations to participate in social services, strengthening social organization capacity building, and supporting in a planned and prioritized way brand-name social organizations. We will put into effect all government preferential taxation policies for social organizations, such that those social organizations that fulfil criteria enjoy the benefits of relevant tax policies in line with related laws and regulations. Treasury and tax departments, integrating their work into the overall development of the oversight system, must research and improve the system of taxation policies and the receipt management system for social organizations, and improve and implement the system of preferential tax policies for public benefit and charitable donations. We encourage banks and financial institutions to step up support for those social organizations that fulfil the right criteria.

3.     Improving human resource-related policy. We will incorporate work related to human resources for social organizations within the national human resources system, using equivalent professional qualifications, registration and accreditation, and professional titles policies for professional and technical social organization workers as those used in other relevant industries; provide subsidies to specialist talent in social organizations who fulfil criteria; and bring social organization workers within the national professional and technical talent knowledge refreshment project. We will establish a training system for the persons responsible for social organizations, guiding them to consciously put into practice the core socialist values, and strengthening their sense of social responsibility and sense of the need for credibility. We will actively recommend talent from social organizations who have an international outlook to international organizations. Relevant departments and people’s organizations (quntuan zuzhi) must incorporate social organizations and their staff into the scope of relevant commendations and awards. The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security must work in conjunction with the relevant departments to research and design ‘opinions’ on ways to strengthen work related to human resources for social organizations.

4.     Giving play to the positive role of social organizations. We will make progress in giving expression to the role of social organizations in promoting economic development, in managing social affairs, and in providing public services. We will support social organizations, particularly industry associations and chambers of commerce, in playing a role in serving enterprise development, in maintaining market order, in undertaking industry self-regulation, developing group standards, protecting the rights and interests of members, mediating trade disputes, and so on, helping them to become an important force in driving forward economic development.  We will support social organizations in playing a role in making innovations in social governance, solving social conflicts, protecting the social order, and promoting social harmony, helping them to become important entities in social development. We will support social organizations in developing public benefit and charitable pursuits, in promoting the flourishing of science and culture, in expanding channels for employment and so on, to satisfy the diversifying needs of the people.  

Part 3/10 Translation of Major New Policy Document on Reform of Social Organisation Management System

3. Channeling Great Energy into Cultivating and Developing Community-Based Social Organizations

1.     Lowering thresholds. We will adopt measures to lower the threshold for establishing, and support and encourage the development of, community-based social organizations that work in communities in rural and urban areas carrying out activities such as serving the people, providing elderly care, public benefit or charitable activities, promoting harmony, or services related to culture, health and fitness and entertainment, and skills and technology for rural production. For those community-based social organizations that fulfil registration requirements, we will improve our services, speed up the procedures for reviewing and handling applications, and simplify the registration process. For those community-based social organizations that have not managed to fulfil registration criteria, we will implement management through sub-district offices (or county or township governments) and strengthen guidance based on category and field of activity, on the basis of the different scales, scopes of activity, structures of membership and service recipients of organizations. We will encourage that community-based social organization associations be established at the sub-district (or county or township) level to play a coordinating role in management and services.  

2.     Proactively supporting development. We will encourage the use of sub-district offices (or county or township) comprehensive service centers and rural and urban community service stations, to build comprehensive service platforms to serve community-based social organizations, in order to provide community-based social organizations with support relating to organizational operation, sites for their activities, funding for activities, and human resources. We will adopt measures such as government procurement of services, the development of project funds, and subsidizing costs for activities to step up the level of support for community-based social organizations, with a particular focus on cultivating those organizations that offer services to people such as senior citizens, women, children, people with disabilities, the unemployed, migrant workers, minors who have parents serving sentences, families experiencing financial difficulties, people suffering serious psychological difficulties, young people with behavioral problems, and people needing community-based correction. In those localities where conditions allow, explorations can be made into developing community-based social organization incubators, creating incubation and cultivation funds, and establishing incubation centers. We encourage social forces to support the development of community-based social organizations.

3.     Strengthening service functions. We will give play to the positive role of community-based social organizations in making innovations in grassroots social governance, and drive forward the establishment of a pattern of community governance in which diverse entities participate. We will encourage community-based social organizations to engage in activities related to neighborhood support, resident integration, dispute mediation and local safety protection, and to organize the residents of their communities to participate in community public affairs and public benefit pursuits, promoting harmony and stability in the community. We support community-based social organizations in taking on community public services and projects entrusted by community level government, and in undertaking community voluntary services. We will build mechanisms for joint action involving community-based social organizations, community building, and social work, promoting the sharing of resources and the principle of complementing each other drawing on the strengths of each, to help community-based social organizations become important vehicles to strengthen communities’ self-governance and self-service functions and to absorb social work talent.