The Ministry of Civil Affairs released a list of 203 social organizations which were registered offshore and identified as “fake” on March 4.
The list includes the China Private Entrepreneurs Association, China Longevity Project Foundation, China Product Quality Association and several health, education, food and luxury industry groups.
The ministry’s Social Organization Management Center has also published a list of illegal offshore social organizations on its website Chinanpo.gov.cn.
Many copycat organizations take advantage of loose registration requirements abroad to register in a country with weaker regulations and evade the strict rules of domestic authorities.
Most begin their names with “China,” “The Chinese World” or “National” and sound quite similar to officially registered domestic social organizations to confuse potential donors.
While officially registered domestic social organizations normally play the role of non-profit philanthropic institutions, fake organizations have only one goal: seizing money.
Cui Feng, a convention and exhibition service worker, told Workers’ Daily that he always sees people slinging seemingly high-ranking business cards. “After getting themselves registered offshore, the next stop is to aquire members and charge membership fees. Some also organize fee-charging events, training programs and sponsored competitions,” he said. “It’s not just civilians who are being tricked. Some media and governmental bodies have been fooled as well.”
A media worker surnamed Yao shared his experience with China Cheongsam Association, a fake social organization blacklisted by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. “First they sent me an invitation letter and asked me to attract investment for their membership club. The membership fee for a metropolitan-level unit is 200,000 yuan and the provincial-level fee is 500,000 yuan. They offer a royalty rate of 25 percent,” he said.
From time to time the group would announce some industry awards which were bought and sold and carried no exclusivity. Many organizations have posed as a quality supervision association to blackmail corporations for money, Yao said.
But the main reason fake social organizations are growing is the bureaucracy of China’s official social organizations.
“Companies are always willing to hand over some money in exchange for a group photo with some organization officials. They just don’t care whether or not those organizations are authentic,” Cui said.