Easier Registration For Social Organizations Might Pave Way for China’s Political Reform

May 15, 2012 Updated: September 22, 2015
In a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on May 7, Civil Affair Minister Li Liguo said a new liberal policy to allow direct registration of social organizations with Minister of Civil Affairs has been in place since the second half of last year. (Ministry of Civil Affairs)

Political parties, human rights organizations, and other groups that are normally suppressed—often violently—in China, will now be allowed to register themselves, under a major rule change.

The Chinese regime’s minister of civil affairs recently said that the ministry is pushing to reform the management of social organizations to allow their direct registration with the Minister of Civil Affairs (MCA). This may be part of measures Premier Wen Jiabao is pushing, to advance political reform in communist China.

In a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on May 7, Civil Affair Minister Li Liguo said a new liberal policy to allow direct registration of social organizations with MCA has been in place since the second half of last year, reports Chinese state newspaper, People’s Daily.

According to another state media, Xinhua, current regulations on social organizations require that a non-governmental organization must find an administrative body to oversee its activities, as a precondition before they can register with the civil affairs authorities. In other words, as things stand, all social organizations need to be monitored by the regime before they can register.

Under the new registering system, social organizations can register directly with MCA.

“Authorities will review such organizations from angles such as their founding conditions, necessity of establishment, activity objective and their roles in social and economic development,” said Li.

In addition, Li made it clear that all social organizations, including those involved with human rights and politics, will have “equal” status for registration and face the “same” supervisory review process.

MCA is a ministry under the State Council, and therefore under the leadership of Premier Wen Jiabao. Thus, opening the door to allow direct registration of “all social organizations including those involved with human rights and politics” must have been approved by Wen. Moreover, top leaders of the Party have a practice of acting collectively when making decisions on important issues, which means Wen is not the only senior Party leader who has approved this reform measure, according to Deutsche Welle.

Just over a year ago, during a meeting of the National People’s Congress on March 10, 2011, Chairman of National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Wu Bangguo, dismissed any notion of reform and proclaimed the Five NOs: “no multi-party election; no diversified guiding principles, no separation of powers, no federal system and no privatization.”

Wu also said that the Five NOs had been examined and approved by the Politburo Standing Committee, the regime’s nine-member ruling organ.

The next day, several Party top leaders said they “fully agreed” with Wu’s position on the Five NOs, reported Hong Kong’s Ming Pao. Among them were Jia Qinglin (Chairman and Party secretary of the National Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference), Li Keqiang (vice Premier), and Zhou Yongkang (head of domestic security apparatus, the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee). However, Wen Jiabao did not comment on Wu’s statements.

Continued on next page: China’s political climate has changed dramatically after a series of incidents …

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