China’s New Law on International NGOs – And Questions about Legal Reform

By Stanley Lubman

International non-government organizations (INGOs) have been operating in China in increasing numbers in recent years. Now China has adopted a new law to regulate them. Until now there have been no uniform rules regulating these organizations, and many that are presently active were not registered and have also been operating without offices or permanent staff based in China.

One of the many questions raised by the new law (“Management of Foreign Non-Government Organizations Activities in China”) includes the fate of INGOs involved in assisting law reform. Although the new law specifically lists areas in which INGOs can be authorized, it does not include law-related activities, which immediately raises questions about the status and fate of organizations that have been active in that area for years, such as the American Bar Association and the Ford Foundation.

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