Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Draft Regulations for Social Associations (社会团体)Are Out

In June, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued draft registration and management regulations for public comment for two of the three types of social organizations (社会组织): Foundations (基金会) and Social Service Organizations(社会服务机构). This month, the Ministry has released draft registration and management regulations for public comments for the third type: Social Associations (社会团体) which are the equivalent of membership associations such as trade associations, chambers of commerce, science and technical associations, professional associations, academic associations, arts and cultural associations and so forth.

Those draft regulations are available on the Ministry's website here, and comments are due by August 21.

These three sets of regulations form the heart of the regulatory system governing the registration and management of social organizations, China's equivalent of not-for-profit organizations. They specify which government bodies are responsible for their registration and management, the registration requirements and procedures, the internal governance of the organization, their legal responsibilities, and so on.

Each of these regulations was originally issued at different times over a span of 16 years. The regulations for Social Associations first came out in 1988 and was revised in 1998. The regulations for Social Service Organizations (a big improvement from the previous term, Civil, Non-Enterprise Institutions or 民办非企业, coined by someone who wanted to disguise the real nature of these organizations) came out in 1998, and the regulations for Foundations in 2004. Now you have drafts of the revised regulations for all three types coming out all in one year, in addition to the Charity Law and the Overseas NGO Law. The one thing we can say for sure at this point is that the legal landscape for nonprofits in China will be substantially reshaped by 2017.

I hope to say more about the content of these revised regulations in a later post.