On September 23, Shepherd's Field Children's
Village (SFCV), sponsored by the Philip Hayden Foundation from the
US and built by the joint efforts of people, companies and
organizations from about thirty countries, went into operation.
Located at the Dawangguzhuang Town of Wuqing
District, Tianjin Municipality and covering 30 mu (2.43
hectares), SFCV is the largest foreign orphan care facility in
For most Chinese, though the achievements of
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have benefited their lives,
they know little about the people behind the projects
“At present, China has no registration system for
international NGOs operating in China, so even the government
department has no official figures, but more and more foreign NGOs
have entered China since its reform and opening. According to our
research, there are over 70 foreign NGOs in the province of Yunnan
alone,” Deng Guosheng, doctor from Tsing-Hua NGO Research
Institute, told Public Welfare Times on September 28.
Figures from China Development Brief
website, longtime attending to the status of NGOs in China, shows
there are nearly 500 foreign NGOs opening offices and operating
there, but Professor Wang Ming, director of Tsing-Hua NGO Research
Institute, said the figure is between 3,000 and 6,500. “They are
not registered,” he said.
“Absence of a relevant sound legal system is the
biggest difficulty in China's NGO development,” said Wang during a
workshop on “NGO Development and Harmonious Society” held in
Lanzhou, Gansu Province on September 12.
All unregistered international NGOs share the same
problem of having no legal status, which causes trouble not only in
developing members and receiving donations, but also in recruiting
employees and entry-exit procedures.
Although their status is unclear, their activities
are not so affected, and many international NGOs have begun to work
together with government departments.
The experience of the Philip Hayden Foundation may
be admirable comparing to its fellow organizations. In 2004,
together with 20 more international NGOs like it and the Ford
Foundation were exempted from taxes by the State Administration of
Taxation’s Beijing municipal office.
International NGOs are not simply
In June this year, the World Bank, in partnership
with the government, launched the China Development Marketplace
Program, a project designed to support innovations from civil
society organizations to reduce poverty by awarding small grants.
Till early September, 907 project proposals were received.
“It’s strange to see the budget of almost every
proposal is 250,000 yuan (US$31,200), is it for the reason that an
official said high limit of the fund is 250,000 yuan? A lot of NGOs
consider this chance as a free lunch,” one Program source said on
condition of anonymity.
Deng said too much intervention was made by
international NGOs when funding Chinese organizations, affecting
their independence. “International NGOs are of three types: the
first develop projects directly in developing countries; the second
always provide funds to indigenous NGOs instead of operating
directly; the third type are composite, ” Deng said.
As the first international NGO privileged to set up
office in China, the Ford Foundation has an average budge of US$12
million in China every year. “NGOs can’t only be a source of money.
To cite a Chinese proverb, we prefer teaching others to fish and
they will fish for a lifetime.” Andrew Watson, Ford Foundation
Representative for China, told Public Welfare Times.
Under most situations, international NGOs pay great
attention to cooperation with Chinese organizations, to realize
indigenization though recruiting and training local people. For
example, World Vision set up its office in Beijing in 2004 and has
more than 440 employees in China, including 390 Chinese people. The
Philip Hayden Foundation has a staff of about 100 in China,
including 80 or more Chinese.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Yunxing October 23,