ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan are on the same page regulating the functioning of overseas NGOs, ensuring their positive and constructive role in socio-economic development of their respective country.

Government of Pakistan has recently introduced a legal framework and code of ethics for regulating the working of overseas NGOs.  The main objective was to uphold the interest of the country and restrict those who are engaged in some other hidden agenda, said a senior official here while talking to INP.

The official said we respect the NOGs who have a helping hand in improving lot of the people. 

A spokesman of the Chinese government said in Beijing that Overseas NGOs must secure approval from Chinese authorities before they can operate on the Chinese mainland. In this connection, he referred to a new law adopted by China's top legislature.

This applies whether they are planning to open permanent offices or operate temporarily, according to the law, which was adopted at the bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and provincial police departments will be responsible for registration and regulation. Overseas NGOs operating on the mainland without approval will be punished.

Overseas NGOs will have to register with the police to set up representative offices if they are to operate on the mainland, according to the law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Those that do not have offices in the mainland but want to temporarily operate here will have to work with their Chinese partners and file their programs with the MPS or the provincial police departments.

NGOs must meet several criteria to set up offices on the mainland. For instance, they must have been legally founded outside the Chinese mainland, be able to bear civil liability independently and operate for at least two years.

Foundations and social service organizations operated by overseas NGOs, which have already registered with the civil affairs department, will be able to continue operating, according to Xu Xianming, deputy head of the NPC Law Committee, on Monday.

The law stresses that legal operation of overseas NGOs on the mainland is protected. They shall not undermine the country's unity, security or ethnic solidarity nor harm the interests of the state, public or the legal rights of citizens and other groups.

They will be banned from engaging in or sponsoring commercial and political activities or illegally engaging in or sponsoring religious activities.

Governments at all levels will be obligated to accommodate the legal operation of overseas NGOs, providing necessary assistance and service. The NGOs will enjoy preferential tax policies.

Compared with previous drafts, a number of restrictions were eased in the adopted law.

Although all NGOs founded outside the Chinese mainland are subject to the new law, exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and overseas colleges, hospitals and science and engineering research institutes will follow existing regulations.

The law also removed a provision in the original draft that limited offices on the Chinese mainland to one, and removed the five year operational limit on representative offices.

The restrictions on staff and volunteers are removed but tougher rules have been imposed on finances including the source of funding, expenses and revenue. Financial reports will be audited and published.

The draft required a permit if an overseas NGO wanted to temporarily operate in the mainland. In the adopted law this has been changed to a compulsory report with the regulator 15 days before the program begins.However, their Chinese partners must obtain approval.

Overseas NGOs will be supervised by police and other central and provincial government departments related to the specialty of the NGOs' programs.

The law allows the police to interview chief representatives and senior executives if they are suspected of breaking the law.

Police can also ask the Chinese partners to terminate a cooperation program if it is considered to undermine state security.

NGOs will have their registration certificates withdrawn if they are found stealing state secrets, spreading rumors, sponsoring political activities or any other activity that harms state security and interest. Staff directly responsible for the offences may face police detention or criminal prosecution.

The NGOs that engage in illegal activities including anything that subverts the state or splits the nation, will be banned from operating on the mainland.