I recently spoke to a friend who works for a US-based NGO that is in the process of registering in China. A key take away from that conversation was the importance of a lawyer for groups trying to register.
Based on my conversation with him, here are four ways a lawyer can help:
- Assist in preparing all the necessary documents. There are numerous documents that must be collected and submitted. A lawyer can help make sure that you have them all and that they ready for submission.
- Correspond with relevant authorities. Designating the lawyer as your “power of attorney” means that they can represent you and your interests to the various relevant authorities that are involved in securing registration.
- Translate documents. All the necessary documents for registration are online, but are in Chinese. If you do not have a translator within your organization, the lawyer can assist with making sure they are all translated properly.
- Clarify the meaning of various provisions. Some provisions of the law are not as clear as those of us in the west would like. Working with the relevant authorities, the lawyer can help you understand exactly what information is expected.
While a lawyer can be helpful (perhaps even necessary) in walking you and your organization through the registration process, he/she cannot guarantee success. Whether or not an application for registration is actually approved remains entirely with the professional supervisory unit (if they decide they want to work with you), and ultimately with the Ministry of Public Security.