A seminar on Chinese NGOs “going out” was held on December 2nd, organized by the Institute for Philanthropy of Tsinghua University. The seminar was entitled “Chinese NGOs going out under the Belt and Road initiative”. The participants were all experts and academics in the field of public welfare, including Liu Peifeng, a professor at the Law School of Beijing Normal University; Li Xiaolin, the head of the department of international cooperation of the China Population Welfare Foundation; and Wu Peng, the director of the department of international development of the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation.
Professor Liu Peifeng talked about the issue of NGOs “going out” (走出去, an expression usually used to refer to Chinese organizations working abroad) from the point of view of China’s development. Prof. Liu claimed that NGOs “going out” could be a major component of the revival of Chinese culture and of the Belt and Road initiative, but there are several challenges that first need to be solved. First of all, it is necessary to address the issue of whether NGOs “going out” receive approval and recognition both within China and overseas, and to encourage foreign governments and societies to approve of Chinese NGOs working with them and to recognize the Chinese government and society as the responsible agents. Then it is necessary to think about the way Chinese social organizations should “go out”, and the effects of the “going out”. Finally, it is important to focus on the issue of human resources.
Ms. Li Xiaolin emphasized the important effects of new concepts and ideas. In her opinion, programs need to start from regional requirements, and focus on the application of new concepts and technologies to improve the recipients’ quality of life. Mr. Wu Peng introduced the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation’s six programs on the sustainable development goals which are already “going out”. He claimed that NGOs play an indispensable role in international cooperation, because they have four advantages, which are neutrality, professionalism, innovation, and being able to easily connect with communities. But the process of NGOs “going out” confronts the issues of a lack of policies and regulations, outside understanding, and funds. Based on his experience, Mr. Wu suggested that the China International Development Cooperation Agency ought to make related laws to create a better environment for Chinese NGOs “going out”, and that the government ought to start a fund for South-South development and collaboration to increase support for NGOs working abroad. Moreover, NGOs that are willing to “go out” also need to make a strategic plan and adequate preparations.