MPS highlights service, not management role
Dozens of overseas NGOs have successfully registered in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong weeks after a new law took effect on January 1, with public security officers saying they will continue to play the role of "serving" rather than "managing" those NGOs.
"Overseas NGOs that have come to register or consult are very satisfied with our service, and are beginning to understand us as having a service role, rather than being tough regulators of the registration service in China," said a staffer surnamed Fang, who works in the Beijing office of overseas NGO management under the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
The office, located in Beijing's Haidian district, has set up eight special counters to provide consultation and document processing services.
More than 138 overseas NGOs had visited the office as of Tuesday, and each day the office gets at least 40 phone calls for consultations, said a police officer surnamed Duan with the office.
A certificate issuing ceremony was held Monday in Beijing where 20 overseas NGOs, including the World Economic Forum and Conservation International, were granted certificates for their Beijing offices.
Huang Wensi, a staffer with Conservation International in charge of the registration, said the officers were very clear in explaining what paperwork was required, and the whole process went rather smoothly.
"The reason why the first batch of overseas NGOs could receive the certificate is that they are lawfully registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs with every document required, so we directly took over the documents needed in a bid to save them from repeating," said Fang.
The MPS is not adopting different standards in dealing with overseas NGOs that are involved in different sectors, Fang added.
Duan also explained the merits of the MPS taking over the registration service, saying it will help save overseas NGOs from many troubles, such as visa applications. The MPS can also draw the most definite lines to help NGOs avoid violating laws and regulations in China, Fang said.
Prior to Monday's ceremony, 12 overseas NGOs had received certificates for their offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
All provincial-level public security authorities in China, which are responsible for the registration, are now open for such procedures, the Xinhua News Agency said.
China last year adopted a new law stating that overseas NGOs had to secure approval from Chinese authorities before they could operate on the Chinese mainland.
Hao Yunhong, director of MPS's overseas NGO management office, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that public security authorities would provide convenient and efficient registration services for overseas NGOs and protect their legal rights and interests in China in accordance with the law, with an open, inclusive and transparent attitude.