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Registered Patients Groups May Thrive in China

Dawn (Dan) Zhang
Greenberg Traurig, LLP - Shanghai Office

July 23, 2013

Previously published on July 17, 2013

In China, many patients suffering from the same disease are spontaneously forming self-help associations to share information on the effective medical treatments for such disease. Similar to the patients’ group in the United States, those associations also help communicate among patients about the recent development of a cure, and sometimes organize charity activities to attract various social aids for patients. These associations, whether small or big, national or local, are mostly in the form of non-profit welfare organizations and dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by various kinds of diseases through their support, education and research. For example, China Dolls Care and Support Association, China Ataxia Association and Hemophilia Home of China, are all famous national patients’ associations in China.

Generally, there are two approaches to legally create a non-governmental patients’ group in China: registered as either profit-driven companies or so-called “private non-enterprise entities.” To gain more government support and tax exemption and preferences regarding the donations and revenues as well as avoiding the high thresholds for company registration, patients’ groups in China nowadays are more inclined to operate as “non-for-profit” private non-enterprise entities. Under PRC laws and regulations, the competent authority for registering private non-enterprise entities is the Ministry of Civil Affairs and its local branches. Prior to the registration, a private non-enterprise entity should go through a few necessary procedures, including obtaining the approval from the competent authorities in charge of the business to be engaged by such entity (if applicable), determining its name and organization structure, acquiring the necessary personnel, legitimate property and business place to conduct the business.

According to some public news, the Chinese government is striving to simplify the registration procedures of private non-enterprise entities to encourage more social patients’ groups to obtain governmental recognition and legal identity. For instance, Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau just released an announcement on its official website, saying that starting from April 1st, 2013, public-oriented, private, non-enterprise entities can directly register without obtaining any prior approval, and the required registration thresholds will be dramatically reduced.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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