Some NGOs Able to Continue Longer-Term Temporary Activities for a Second Year

This article originally appeared on ChinaFile’s The China NGO Project.

One key question many foreign NGOs continue to ask is whether they will be able to reliably use temporary activities to carry out multi-year or other types of long-term programs or grants in China. As any given temporary activity may not last more than one year (except in cases “where there is a need” and permission is explicitly granted), and Chinese authorities have not offered any official guidance on the subject, it remains unclear how dependable the temporary activity mechanism is for groups that plan to fund longer-term projects but do not wish to open a representative office in China.

The China NGO Project wrote last August that at that time around 10 organizations appeared to have used the temporary activity mechanism to carry out a program that was substantively the same as a previous one—that is, in the same location, with the same CPU. (For the purposes of this analysis, we will refer to this process as “renewal,” even though there is no formal renewal process specified in the law.) Since then, substantially more groups appear to have successfully “renewed” temporary activities—using a loose set of counting criteria described below, around 90 activities in all.

These “renewed” activities only account for a minority of total temporary activity filings (about 13 percent of the 1,417 filings in the data reviewed for this analysis), but the fact that there are now nearly 100 of them suggests that, for some groups at least, temporary activities may indeed be a durable method for administering multi-year programs and grants. As always, our data, sourced from the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) website, only shows us successful filings; we do not know if or how many groups sought to “renew” a temporary activity and were unable to do so. Our estimated numbers here should not be taken as hard and fast—as we discuss below, we likely did not identify all of the “renewals,” and we may have counted an activity as a “renewal” that might better be classified as an “extension.” However, our figures can still be useful as ballpark estimates with which to get a sense of how some foreign NGOs are using the temporary activity mechanism for longer-term projects.

Our data cutoff date for this analysis was January 31, 2019. To arrive at a rough estimate of 90 “renewals,” we identified organizations that had more than one activity with exactly the same or a very similar name, that was carried out in the same location, and that was done so in conjunction with the same Chinese Partner Unit (CPU). As this analysis aims to assess whether longer-term projects are possible under the temporary activity mechanism—rather than gauging the success of short annual events such as conferences—we only included activities in which one of the filings, usually the second one, was at least six months in length. The other filing needed only to have been at least two months in length, as it appears fairly common for an NGO to file a first activity as something of a “test” or proof of concept, and later file a longer version of the same activity. We included pairs of activities even if there was a gap between the end of the first activity and the start of the second activity—sometimes even a gap of several months. We do not know if these gaps reflect intentional programming choices or unintentional lapses.

A number of factors, however, may have affected the accuracy of our estimate. First, as we have noted previously, MPS data sometimes contains errors or duplicates, meaning that some apparent “renewals” may in fact be the same filing, with, for example, one old entry and one newer, corrected entry. In addition, temporary activity location information has become less detailed over the past two years (now usually only listing the province of activity), meaning that activities may appear to have been in the same location (province), but could have in fact been carried out in different cities or counties. This would have caused us to overestimate the number of “renewals.” On the other hand, we may have underestimated by not recognizing “renewals” that were indeed the same activity but had changed in name only, or “renewals” that were the exact same project but filed with another CPU for practical reasons.

Using the criteria described above, we found around 90 activities that appear to be “renewals.” Below is a selected list of some of these activities:

Organization Name (English)Organization Name (Chinese)Organization OriginActivity Name (English)Activity Name (Chinese)Chinese Partner Unit (English)Chinese Partner Unit (Chinese)Activity Location (English)Activity Location (Chinese)Dates of First Temporary ActivityDates of Second Temporary Activity
MISEREOR Foundation德国米苏尔社会发展基金会GermanyPublic Welfare Professionals Ningxia Community Development Project公益同行 宁夏社区发展计划China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation中国扶贫基金会Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region宁夏回族自治区2017-12-01—2018-11-302018-12-01—2019-11-30
U-Hearts两地一心Hong KongPoverty Allevation Financial Aid Visits「两地一心」扶贫助学探访Yunnan Huashang Charitable Foundation云南华商公益基金会Yunnan Province云南省2018-04-20—2018-10-312018-12-07—2019-12-06
Barry & Martin's Trust贝利•马丁基金会United KingdomMedical Treatment Assistance Activity with Dali No. 2 People's Hospital英国贝利马丁基金会与大理市第二人民医院医疗救助活动Dali No. 2 People's Hospital大理市第二人民医院Yunnan Province云南省2018-01-20—2018-12-312019-01-01—2019-12-31
Bread for the World粮惠世界GermanyProgram to Improve the Ability of Impoverished Women in Turpan to Find Employment吐鲁番地区贫困妇女就业能力提升项目China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO)中国国际民间组织合作促进会Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region新疆维吾尔自治区2017-07-15—2018-07-142018-08-29—2019-06-30
Hong Kong PHAB Association摘星计划Hong KongS.T.A.R. Project's 2017 Operation Student Financial Aid摘星计划2017年助学启动Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Teng County Middle School广西壮族自治区藤县中学Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region广西壮族自治区2017-08-03—2018-08-022018-08-20—2019-08-19
China Candlelight Educational Fund Ltd.中国烛光教育基金有限公司Hong KongYunfu City Disadvantaged Students Scholarship Disbursement云浮市特困学生助学金派发Yunfu City Communist Youth League Committee中国共产主义青年团云浮市委员会Guangdong Province广东省2017-12-19—2018-08-312018-09-01—2019-08-31
Virya Foundation Limited精进基金有限公司Hong KongSichuan Liangshan Female Students Financial Aid Project四川凉山女童助学专案Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County "Big Fish" Youth Development Center北川羌族自治县大鱼青少年公益发展中心Sichuan Province四川省2017-11-15—2018-08-312018-10-25—2019-08-31
Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong香港中华基督教青年会Hong KongNo. 3 Sparking Light—Yunnan Mobile Classroom燃亮三号-云南流动教室Kunming City Youth Volunteer Association昆明市青年志愿者协会Yunnan Province (Kunming City, Luquan County)昆明市禄劝县2017-10-09—2017-12-312018-01-22—2018-12-31
Tsinghua Education Foundation North America清华北美教育基金会United StatesTsinghua University Schwarzman Project清华大学苏世民项目Tsinghua University Education Foundation清华大学教育基金会China中国大陆2017-10-01—2018-09-302018-11-01—2019-10-31
Wu Wei Harmony Foundation无为和谐基金会United StatesScholarship Program for Underprivileged but Excellent Students in Yilong County仪陇清寒优秀学生奖学金项目Yilong County Rural Development Association仪陇县乡村发展协会Sichuan Province四川省2018-04-15—2018-08-312018-09-01—2019-08-31
Aide et Action爱达迅教育基金会有限公司SwitzerlandWomen's Continuing Education Development Program妇女继续教育发展项目Chengdu City Ai Da Xun Social Work Service Center成都爱达迅社会工作服务中心Sichuan Province四川省2018-09-10—2018-12-312019-01-01—2019-12-31
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation亚洲伤害预防基金会Vietnam"Love Life, Walk Safely" Street-Crossing Safety Education Activity"珍爱生命,安全出行"道路安全教育项目Sichuan Technology Poverty Alleviation Foundation四川省科技扶贫基金会Sichuan Province四川省2017-11-16—2018-11-162019-01-22—2019-11-22
The Hong Kong Rehabilitation Society香港復康會Hong KongQinghai Province Community Rehabilitation Capacity-Building Project青海省社区康复能力建设项目Qinghai Association of Rehabilitation Medicine青海省康复医学会Qinghai Province青海省2018-01-25—2018-11-012018-12-12—2019-11-01
The Mitsubishi UFJ Scholarship Trust Foundation公益财团法人三菱UFJ国际财团Japan2018 Mitsubishi UFJ Bank Limited Scholarship2018三菱日联银行奖学金Peking University Education Foundation北京大学教育基金会Beijing City北京市2018-09-01—2019-08-312017-10-30—2018-10-29
Chang Yung-fa Foundation财团法人张荣发基金会TaiwanPeking University "Friend of Beida" Chang Yung-fa Financial Aid Scholarship and Related Activities Series北京大学北大之友-张荣发助学金及系列相关活动Peking University Education Foundation北京大学教育基金会Beijing City北京市2018-12-01—2019-09-012017-12-20—2018-12-20
Hong Kong Bar Association香港大律师公会Hong KongPeking University Law School Common Law Course Scholarship北京大学法学院普通法课程奖学金Peking University Education Foundation北京大学教育基金会Beijing City北京市2018-08-10—2019-08-092017-11-14—2018-11-13
Korean-Chinese Culture Youth Association (Future Forest)韩中文化青少年协会(未来林)South KoreaGroup for Saving the Planet's Green Workcamp拯救地球绿色团WorkcampDalad Banner Chinese Communist Youth League Committee中国共产主义青年团达拉特旗委员会Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region内蒙古自治区2017-04-15—2017-12-312018-04-21—2019-04-21
Rural Impact Professionals Ltd.为普顾问有限公司Hong KongEducation Financial Aid to Show Care for the Most Impoverished among Yilong County's Impoverished Villages' Left-Behind Children仪陇县贫困乡村留守儿童中特困儿童关爱陪伴助学项目Yilong County Rural Development Association仪陇县乡村发展协会Sichuan Province四川省2018-05-10—2018-08-312018-09-01—2019-08-31