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(September 2010) SIL East Asia was among the first group of 13 international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) to satisfy new Chinese government regulations. Registration of INGOs to work in Yunnan Province is now granted by the Yunnan Civil Affairs Department. Under previous regulations, SIL was registered under the Yunnan INGO Society. The Yunnan Minority Commission sponsors SIL, with which they have worked for years on shared goals in language development work.
SIL is cooperating in a ten-year “Zero Barrier Bilingual Education” project that will serve as a model for future bilingual education work in other provinces of China. In June, a memorandum of understanding was signed for the project between the Yunnan Provincial Education Association Minority Education Committee, the Yunnan Provincial Ethnic Affairs Commission Minority Language Guidance Committee and SIL East Asia.
The goal of the January 2010 government regulations is for the provinces to better facilitate cooperation between governmental organizations and INGOs. China anticipates further international cooperation and more INGOs entering the country. Yunnan is one of the major provinces selected by INGOs to carry out their activities because of Yunnan’s unique geography, cultures and resources.
Since China began working with INGOs, more than 370 INGOs from 20 countries have carried out activities. At present, there are 140 INGOs active in Yunnan. They will need to register under the new regulations. This legal status is good for two years before the requirement to file again.
The other INGOs approved at this time are America Nature Conservancy Society, Oxfam Hong Kong, Orbis International, CBM Society, China California Heart Watch, MSI Professional Services, Health Unlimited, Humana People to People, International AIDS Alliance, Operation Smile China, Sowers Action and Voluntary Service Overseas UK.